Rhyme Report

Published on January 17th, 2020 | by Jerry Doby

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Chuck D’s Pens Open Letter To The GRAMMYs and Hip Hop

Figures… I salute Deborah Dugan for her truth and courage to try and effect change. As always, a bunch of ignorant, testosterone-fueled, usually old white men stop progress and screw it
up. Same old bullshit. They want to keep it status quo and make sure things like Hip Hop stay the poster child of their fuckery.

In 1989 we protested the Grammys because they refused to acknowledge a new art form called Hip Hop/Rap. I responded with the lyric, “Who gives a fuck about a goddamn Grammy.” We fought to be recognized and for things to change. We kicked that door in for others to come through.

After 35 years in this industry, folks should know that I always defer any individual accomplishment, always giving salutes to those before me and trying to open the door for those after me. In agreeing to accept the Lifetime Achievement Award when Deborah called me was no different.

We discussed these issues and what needed to change. Hip Hop can’t be judged by a bunch of old corporate guards who rewrite history to serve their corporate bottom line.

But it was obvious she was having her own struggles with an academy that thinks Public Enemy ended in 1992 yet want to give us a lifetime achievement award without acknowledging a lifetime of work. We had to haggle, to educate, to justify why a core member of our group for the past 22 years, DJ Lord, should be part of this award. We had to question why our biggest UK hit and the theme to the global Paralympics Games, “Harder Than You Think,” was left out. Maybe because it was released on my own independent label, SlamJamz, and not a major?

Never could I have imagined that pushing for the recognition our art form deserved would turn into artists being coerced into disrespecting the craft, themselves, the culture and other people only to chase the bag and validation from corporations and award shows who don’t care about you. I hope this letter will be a wake-up call for them.

New folks but the same ol bullshit pattern doesn’t change a thing. So I’m not surprised that Deborah Dugan is out. I am appalled because it reeks of the same old jive, a New Whirl Odor that considers the masses simply as “them asses.”

 

 


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About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, and internationally published arts & entertainment journalist. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture as well as the United States Press Corps.


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