Long Island Music Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, Public Enemy, are known around the world for their politically charged lyrics and their criticism of the American media. But with all their activism and time spent in the public eye, how much do you really know about Public Enemy?
1. They formed at Adelphi University in Long Island
The four artists collaborated together on a college radio program before they were recognized.
2. They were only the fourth hip-hop act to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
They were inducted on December 11, 2012. Other inductees are Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Run-DMC, and the Beastie Boys.
3. Terminator X left the group after a motorcycle accident.
The accident shattered his leg and left him hospitalized for a month. After his exit, he was replaced by DJ Lord.
4. They helped to create “rap metal”.
They partnered with thrash metal group Anthrax to create and define this new cross-genre style of music.
5. Chuck D released the track “Check Out the Radio” while he was still delivering furniture for his father’s business.
6. “Bring the Noise” was the fastest rap song of its era.
The song comes in at 109 beats per minute.
7. Publicenemy.com was one of the first websites created for a rap or hip-hop group.
8. Their work on Spike Lees’ He Got Game was the first time a rap group solely headed a motion picture soundtrack.
9. After his retirement from the group, Terminator X began to raise African black ostriches on a 15-acre farm.
10. Only two songs ever made it to the Top 40 Billboard chart
Those songs are “911 is a Joke” and “Give it Up”.
A few weeks ago, I had a chance to visit with Amani K. Smith and Gary ‘G-Wiz’ of Urban Score Productions in Los Angeles. Urban Score has been in music industry since the late 80’s working with icons like RUN DMC, Method Man and Redman as well as Public Enemy.
In addition, the duo has worked on countless television and film projects together. I met Amani through one of my ex-girlfriends when I was living in Los Angeles in the mid 2000’s, and I was able to do some work on a Public Enemy project with them.
Gary did most of the talking as Amani was busy working on tracks for the follow to Public Enemy’s Apoacalypse 91.
Really cool people..
Kelland:So how did you get into the music industry?
Gary: I started as a Dj in the 80’s and then I connected up with Chuck D and Hank Shocklee. I worked with them for a while after they formed Public Enemy, and then in 1991 we recorded Apocalypse 1991.
Kelland: So who are some of the artists that you guys have worked with
Gary: First and foremost Public Enemy, Run DMC, Janet Jackson, Aerosmith, Busta Rhymes
Amani: Meth and Red
Kelland: When you guys first started producing what type of equipment were you using?
Gary: All the old stuff that the rock guys were using. We had some samplers and the SP 1200. We had drum machines that was about it. I think in 1990 we actually did have Protools but it was only like two channels.
Gary: I didn’t tell you how I met Amani lol.
Kelland: Lol, Thats the million dollar question. How did you meet Amani?
Gary: Well in 2000 Amani and myself… Well I actually did a theme for a show called ‘Dark Angel’ with Jessica Alba and Amani was doing composing and we met at the first season wrap party. We were hoping it would be more but it was only one season. After that we Did the ‘Meth and Red’ show on MTV, ‘Volcano High’ and a show called ‘Louie.’ After that we worked with Ice Cube on his album ‘Black and White.’ We just got sick of TV, the volume of work you have to do was a bit exhausiting
Kelland:Whats the difference between composing for television and producing for an artist?
Gary:When your composing for television your making stuff to order. You bring them a bunch of songs and they decide if they want to use them. And again, the volume is a lot..For example the ‘Meth and Red’ show was seven episodes and we had to compose 40 songs for each episode. When your composing for a song you create the music and either people buy it or they don’t. In television we did a lot of work to get the job and if the show was on for only one episode it was nothing we could do about it.
Amani: After a while television gets boring
Kelland: What type of advice would you give up and coming producers who are trying to get some televion or movie work?
Gary:I mean you can do everhthing now. The difference now is everybody is doing is doing it now. It’s saturation. Put you stuff online and if it’s good people will finds you know. The funny thing is no one will work with you till you find a job. With MTV Amani’s buddy was actually doing some writing.
Amani: It’s who you know. Get cool with people, play golf with them and go out an have some drinks lol. Have your music organized 30 songs on a cd and have different styles of music. Not just 30 hip hop beats, but you wanna give them a wide range of music to choose from. Show them the different type of emotions that the viewers wanna see.
Gary: You got to give it to everybody, the only thing you have to do with music is you have to make someone care about your music first.There are so many people with good music these days. Whether u gotta be like Lil Wayne and make 300 songs until someone cares about it. The good thing about that approach is it will make you better. When do you pure volume you’re gonna get better or you really suck lol
Kelland: How are you guys leveraging the internet and social media to promote your brand
Gary: Like i said with Chuck D he has a whole host of sites. We launched the Public Enemy site in 96 or 97. We were one of the first in hip hop to do it. Then we launched rapstation.com, now we have hiphopgods.com. In order to be a Hip Hop God you must have made a piece of music that impacted thirteen years ago. We have flipmash.com and we are taking on a 100 producers and helping them to shop their music. Chuck’s gonna use their stuff, cash prizes for the best tracks.Shop them to the companies we work with like Nike. And, Shemovement.com is for classic female artist who don’t get enough publicity..
Gary: It’s a lot of people out there who are trying to get their point across. We use to say and we still say anything that you wanna do is gonna do its gonna take nine to ten years. If your working on something for ten years you have to get better and the last man standing will win. The difference is just being there. People wanna see you grow. If someone comes too your site today and two years later you have better content and its growing then you have something.