• Review

The Words & Music Lecture: A Conversation with Chuck D

The Mertantile Library planned to bring Chuck D: the legendary rapper and front man of Public Enemy to their historic building in downtown Cincinnati Thursday night but due the overwhelming interest and demand the event was moved to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. The event was flawlessly hosted by the Mercantile Library’s Executive Director -John Faherty.

A diverse crowd of people from a wide range of ages, cultures and ethnic backgrounds filled the seats to hear Chuck D’s views on a wide range of topics ranging from the current events, the Trump presidency “though he did not want to give him too much attention,” the importance of unplugging from social media and engaging with real people as well as his upbringing in Roosevelt and Long Island, NY. 

Chuck D is much more than a Rock and Roll Hall of fame rapper. He is also an author, publisher, producer, radio host and political activist with an engaging charismatic personality. Though his voice is strong and he is most recognized for his unapologetic lyrics and political views Chuck D displayed his comedic skills on more than a few occasions which kept those in attendance laughing throughout the night. He also paid homage to Cincinnati Reds legend Frank Robinson who passed away on Thursday by speaking on his playing and coaching career. Chuck D is a big sports fan and was able to go into detail about Frank Robinson’s career as if he was a baseball historian.

When Chuck D talked music he started by recognizing Cincinnati’s and Ohio’s rich music history which in his opinion to a backseat to no one. When Chuck spoke on his own music career he gave insight on the events that sparked Public Enemy to write and record (By the Time I Get to Arizona) and the song’s controversial video which was predictably banned from MTV after only airing one time and never played on BET or any other major outlets at the time.

At the conclusion of The Words & Music Lecture: A Conversation with Chuck D those who hung out afterwards were able to purchase books and posters and some were even able to meet Chuck D and take pictures with him. Most people left the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center discussing their favorite Public Enemy songs or recounting their favorite quotes from Chuck’s conversation. The Mercantile Library did a great job organizing this event and all those who attended were treated to a great night of conversation with a true hip hop legend.