Carlton Douglas Ridenhour (born August 1, 1960),
better known by his stage name, Chuck D, is an American rapper, author,
and producer. He helped create politically and socially conscious
rap music in the mid-1980s as the leader of the rap group Public
Ridenhour was born in Roosevelt, New York, a hamlet on Long Island.
After graduating from Roosevelt Junior-Senior High School, he went
to Adelphi University in Long Island to study graphic design. He
is the son of Lorenzo Ridenhour.
Upon hearing Ridenhour's demo track "Public Enemy Number One",
fledgling producer/mogul Rick Rubin insisted on signing him to his
Def Jam label.
Their major label albums were: Yo! Bum Rush the Show (1987), It
Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988), Fear of a Black
Planet (1990), Apocalypse 91... The Enemy Strikes Black (1991), Greatest
Misses (1992), and Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age (1994). They also released
a full length album soundtrack for the film He Got Game in 1998.
Ridenhour also contributed (as Chuck D) to several episodes of the
PBS documentary series The Blues. He has appeared as a feature artist
on many other songs and albums, having collaborated with artists
such as Janet Jackson, Kool Moe Dee, The Dope Poet Society, Run-DMC,
Ice Cube, Rage Against The Machine, Anthrax, John Mellencamp and
many others. In 1990, he appeared on "Kool Thing", a song
by the alternative rock band Sonic Youth. In 1993, he executive produced
Got 'Em Running Scared, an album by Ichiban Records group "Chief
Groovy Loo and the Chosen Tribe".
 Later career
In 1996, Ridenhour released Autobiography of Mistachuck on Mercury
Records. Chuck D made a rare appearance at the 1998 MTV Video Music
Awards, presenting the Video Vanguard Award to the Beastie Boys,
whilst commending their musicianship. He later stated that he would
not have made the appearance for any other group.
In November 1998, he settled out of court with Christopher "The
Notorious B.I.G." Wallace's estate over the latter's sampling
of his voice in the song "Ten Crack Commandments". The
specific sampling is Ridenhour counting off the numbers one to nine
on the track "Shut 'Em Down".
In September 1999, he launched a multi-format "supersite" on
the web site Rapstation.com. A home for the vast global hip hop community,
the site boasts a TV and radio station with original programming,
many of hip hop's most prominent DJs, celebrity interviews, free
MP3 downloads (the first was contributed by multi-platinum rapper
Coolio), downloadable ringtones by ToneThis, social commentary, current
events, and regular features on turning rap careers into a viable
living. Since 2000, he has been one of the most vocal supporters
of peer-to-peer file sharing in the music industry.
He loaned his voice to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as DJ Forth
Right MC for the radio station Playback FM. In 2000, he collaborated
with Public Enemy's Gary G-Whiz and MC Lyte on the theme music to
the television show Dark Angel. He appeared with Henry Rollins in
a cover of Black Flag's "Rise Above" for the album Rise
Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three. He
was also featured on Z-Trip's album Shifting Gears on a track called
Shock and Awe; a 12-inch of the track was released featuring artwork
by Shepard Fairey. In 2008 he contributed a chapter to Sound Unbound:
Sampling Digital Music and Culture (The MIT Press, 2008) edited by
Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky, and also turned up on The Go! Team's
album Proof of Youth on the track "Flashlight Fight." He
also he fulfilled his childhood dreams of being a sports announcer
by performing the play-by-play commentary in the video game NBA Ballers:
Chosen One on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
In 2009, Ridenhour wrote the foreword to the book The Love Ethic:
The Reason Why You Can't Find and Keep Beautiful Black Love by Kamau
and Akilah Butler. He also appeared on Brother Ali's album, "Us".
In an interview on Conspiracy Worldwide Radio in late 2009, Chuck
D spoke of his forthcoming projects and how he wanted to focus upon
his label SlamJamz in 2010
In a follow-up October 31, 2010 interview on Conspiracy Worldwide
Radio, Chuck discussed the importance of Public Enemy's tour in South
Africa and his range of projects expected in 2011.
 Rapping technique
Chuck D has noted that he often comes up with a title for a song
first, in the books How to Rap and Check the Technique and
that he writes on paper, though he sometimes edits using a computer.
He also prefers to not punch in vocals, and he prefers to not
overdub vocals. Chuck D is known for his powerful rapping voice
- How to Rap says, “Chuck D of Public Enemy has a powerful,
resonant voice that is often acclaimed as one of the most distinct
and impressive in hip-hop”, and Chuck D says this was based
on listening to Melle Mel and sports-casters such as Marv Albert.
Ridenhour is politically active; he co-hosted Unfiltered on Air
America Radio, testified before Congress in support of peer-to-peer
MP3 sharing, and was involved in a 2004 rap political convention.
He continues to be an activist, publisher, lecturer, and producer.
Addressing the negative views associated with rap music, he co-wrote
the essay book Fight the Power: Rap, Race, and Reality, along with
Yusuf Jah (ISBN 0-385-31868-5). He argues that "music and art
and culture is escapism, and escapism sometimes is healthy for people
to get away from reality", but sometimes the distinction is
blurred and that's when "things could lead a young mind in a
direction." He also founded the record company Slam Jamz
and acted as narrator in Kareem Adouard's short film Bling: Consequences
and Repercussions, which examines the role of conflict diamonds in
In an interview with Le Monde published 29 January 2008, Chuck
D stated that rap is devolving so much into a commercial enterprise,
that the relationship between the rapper and the record label is
that of slave to a master. He believes that nothing has changed for
African-Americans since the debut of Public Enemy and, although he
thinks that an Obama-Clinton alliance is great, he does not feel
that the establishment will allow anything of substance to be accomplished.
He also stated that French President Sarkozy is like any other European
elite: he has profited through the murder, rape, and pillaging of
those less fortunate and he refuses to allow equal opportunity for
those men and women from Africa. In this article, he also defended
a comment made by Professor Griff in the past that he says was taken
out of context by the media. The real statement was a critique of
the Israeli government and its treatment of the Palestinian people.
Chuck D stated that it is Public Enemy's belief that all human beings
In an interview with the magazine N'Digo published in late June
2008, he spoke of today's mainstream urban music seemingly relishing
in the addictive euphoria of materialism and sexism, perhaps being
the primary cause of many people harboring resentment towards the
genre and its future. However he has expressed hope for its resurrection,
saying "It’s only going to be dead if it doesn’t
talk about the messages of life as much as the messages of death
and non-movement", citing artists such as NYOil, M.I.A. and
the The Roots as socially conscious artists who push the envelope
creatively. "A lot of cats are out there doing it, on the Web
and all over. They’re just not placing their career in the
hands of some major corporation."
Most recently Chuck D became involved in Let Freedom Sing: The Music
of the Civil Rights, a 3-CD box set from Time Life. He wrote the
introduction to the liner notes and is visiting colleges across the
nation discussing the significance of the set. He's also set to appear
in a follow up movie called Let Freedom Sing: The Music That Inspired
the Civil Rights Movement.
In 2010 Chuck D released a track entitled “Tear Down That
Wall.” He says, “I talked about the wall not only just
dividing the U.S. and Mexico but the states of California, New Mexico
and Texas. But Arizona, it's like, come on. Now they're going to
enforce a law that talks about basically racial profiling.”
He is on the board of the TransAfrica Forum a Pan African organization
that works for the right of Africa, Caribbean and Latin American
 Personal life
Chuck D is married to Gaye Theresa Johnson, who is an assistant
professor in the Department of Black Studies at the University of
California, Santa Barbara.
Chuck is a vegetarian, and has been active in both human and animal
Chuck practices Islam.
 TV appearances
* Narrated and appeared on-camera for the 2005 PBS documentary
Harlem Globetrotters: The Team That Changed the World.
* Appeared on-camera for the PBS program Independent Lens: Hip-Hop: Beyond
Beats and Rhymes.
* Appeared in an episode of NewsRadio as himself.
* He appeared on The Henry Rollins Show.
* He was a featured panelist (with Lars Ulrich) on the May 12, 2000 episode
of the Charlie Rose show. Host Charlie Rose was discussing the Internet, copyright
infringement, Napster Inc., and the future of the music industry.
* He appeared on an episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast with Pat Boone. While
there, Space Ghost tried (and failed) to show he was "hip" to rap,
saying his favorite rapper was M. C. Escher.
* He appeared on an episode of Johnny Bravo.
* He appeared via satellite to the UK, as a panelist on BBC's Newsnight on
20 January 2009, following Barack Obama's Inauguration.
* He Appeared on VH1 Ultimate Albums Blood Sugar Sex Magik talking about the
Red Hot Chili Peppers
* He voiced himself on "A PE Christmas", an episode of Aqua Teen
 Film appearances
* He is the narrator of the 2006 documentary Quilombo Country,
directed by Leonard Abrams.
* He is prominently featured in Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, a 2006 documentary
by Byron Hurt.
* He is prominently featured in the 2008 film The Black Candle, directed by
M.K. Asante, Jr. and narrated by Maya Angelou.
* He is featured in a web- mini series called On The Real Off The Record, produced
by, The Real News Network, June 1, 2009 - .
* He played a bank robber named "Malcolm Y" in an unused plotline
for the movie Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, which was eventually released
straight-to-DVD as Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie.
 Music appearances
* In 2010 Chuck D made an appearance on the album "Causa E
Efeito in Português pt:Causa e Efeito (In English: Cause And
Effect)" in music Transformação (In English: Transformation)
of Brazilian rapper MV Bill
* In 1990, Chuck D appeared on the Sonic Youth song and video for "Kool
Thing," from the album Goo.
 With Public Enemy
Main article: Public Enemy discography
 Chuck D
* 1996: Autobiography of Mistachuck
* 2010 (as Mistachuck): I Don't Rhyme for the Sake of Riddlin'