Chuck D and Public Enemy occupied their Sunday with a free festival on, for, and about LA's skid row.
Organized by local non-profit Los Angeles Community Action Network, LA CAN, and hosted by Public Enemy, "Operation Skid Row" drew a crowd of hundreds to the questionably-permitted free-for-all on a stretch of Gladys Avenue downtown, and featured five hours of consciousness-raising rap and messages of social responsibility.
KPCC spoke with Chuck D about Public Enemy's involvement with "Operation Skid Row" and the Occupy movement.
"The biggest stories not being told are the realities of housing and homelessness in America. We already know the Occupy movement has shone light to the hypocrisies in America taking care of its people," said the group's frontman.
Likening the U.S. government to a car leaking oil, he asserts, "I always thought Obama was a good driver, but he's in a terrible car in need of an overhaul."
What it will take to fix the problem, he remarked, is "more than a good driver — it's an agenda that needs to be rewired."
Steering the message back to the music, @MrChuckD continued, "I'm putting the pressure on the rap community to not speak for their companies, but to speak for the people."
Rap will have another local and literal platform from which to speak loudly when Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg headline Coachella 2012 for two nights in April.
Firm but hopeful, Chuck D urged responsibility to the homegrown pair saying, "My request is that the rap community stop speaking for the elite. It's like rap music speaks for the 1%. And that needs to stop. I don't know if Dre and Snoop are ready, but I think Snoop has a heart."