By Paul Russell
1/30/2003 5:37:57 PM
Tags and topics realted to this article include Chuck D.
If Chuck D's lecture Wednesday had been televised, the bleep machine would have been awful busy.
But between the colorful words, laughter and applause, the rap artist touched on a variety of important social issues in a full Lang Auditorium at the University of Northern Iowa.
He wasted no time in commenting on President Bush's speech the previous night.
"This is the usual cycle of government," he said. "If you rule the oil, you have the potential to rule the world.
"People are saying that Sadaam is a new Hitler, but the rest of the world is looking at Bush like that. The American policy has been to detach itself from the rest of the world and everyone else is a bunch of heathens. That's the wrong way to look at it."
Chuck D gained fame as the leader and co-founder of the legendary rap group Public Enemy, helping to redefine rap music and hip-hop culture.
A major proponent of music on the Internet, Chuck D launched a multi-format site called Rapstation.com in 1999. The site boasts a TV and radio station with original programming, a number of hip hop's most prominent DJs, celebrity interviews, free MP3 downloads and social commentary.
Chuck D made clear his passion for hip hop but said the big business and marketing surrounding it is misleading and frustrating. He said the images seen on MTV unfairly portray the culture.
"They make the life of a thug attractive," he said.
Imitating the portrayed hip-hop culture has led some people to change the way they would live their regular lives, Chuck D said, prompting such oxymorons as "collegiate thug."
"Either you're on the block or you're in college," he said. "Who are you trying to impress? You came here to get your money's worth. Especially you black students -- get your money's worth. Whatever you do, understand what you're doing. Don't bow to peer pressure, because your peers probably know less than you do."
He also touched on materialism.
"Now people have to buy their status," he said. "People get twisted and think these material items are more important than ourselves. Anything you buy or get should be a step down from yourself, because you are the ultimate."
In an attempt to get audience members to see through the big business marketing haze, Chuck D had one last bit of advice.
"Think for yourself," he said. "I don't care if you leave here saying Chuck is full of (it). Just think for yourself."
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