Chuck D is Public Enemy #1 in our book, not just one of the most underrated rappers of all time but a visionary, voice of reason and a role-model demonstrating how to make art that engages pop culture without being swept away in the mainstream like a soggy boot in the Bronx River. Although Chuck D is, on one hand, a persona that embodies the immortal spirit of rebellion inside all of us, he is, of course, contained within the vessel of mild-mannered author, producer and real human being Carlton Ridenhour. As an archetype, Chuck D has been throwing a slow-motion trash can through the pizza shop of oppression pretty much from creation. But as a human being he was born on August 1st, 1960 (right about the time, I like to imagine, that Aretha Franklin stepped into a Detroit studio for her very first session and halfway around the world the African Nation of Benin celebrated its independence from French colonizers).
Today is also August 1st. So not only is it time to say Happy Birthday to Carlton Ridenhour but also to pay tribute to Chuck D the rhythm, the rebel. We could not think of a better way to do both of those things in one shot than a megamix of every essential Chuck D verse cut together by turntable virtuoso DJ Raydar Ellis. That’s what we wished for…and that’s what we got. Wait, that’s a lie. This cannot be every essential Chuck D verse because he is still making essential verses (and we look forward to hearing more of them very soon). Stream Raydar’s mix below to get the Chuck D story…so far.