Fight the Power

Chuck D, Author, Chuck D, Author, Chuck, Author Delacorte Press $23.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-385-31868-6
Since founding the rap group Public Enemy, Chuck D has cultivated controversy with his raw, edgy lyrics and his knack for being an outspoken and politically informed interview subject. Speculation about reasons for his disappearance from public view in recent years will be dissipated with this chronicle of his time away from rap and other appearances. In the epilogue, he sums up this first writing attempt: ""It was important to show the travels, trails, trials, and tribulations involved in my last ten years."" Part memoir, part musical history, part sociopolitical manifesto, the book, written with freelancer Jah, falters and succeeds by turns. Its weaknesses are the haphazard way in which matters of race and music are approached and the tenuous connections formed by the authors. For example, after exploring the ramifications of slavery in the U.S. and Africa, the narrative lapses into a detailed account of the band's tour in Ghana. However, the rapper's urgent and angry voice often rises above the scattered material. He seems to censor nothing, a quality that has elevated his music and certainly lends a refreshing, distinctive air to his prose. Although his political insights concerning race and morality are not revelatory, they seem so sincere as expressed here that even familiar ideas are granted new power. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
Paperback - 306 pages - 978-0-385-31873-0
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