UP THE COAST : Public Enemy’s Chuck D Raps on Gangsta Music, the Future : The controversial bandleader who comes to Santa Barbara on Wednesday offers his views to the media--on a promotional CD.


Although Public Enemy isn’t doing any live interviews for its tour--which includes a stop Wednesday night at the Underground in Santa Barbara--bandleader Chuck D has sent the media a CD with answers to 35 questions. Sort of everything you wanted to know about Public Enemy but haven’t been allowed to ask in person.

On critics who know too many adjectives:

“Critics should, No. 1, not call themselves critics. Black art and expression is attacked from all sides. So if you happen to be an interpreter of the music to an audience who is just reading, then you should build, and not destroy. Instead of talking about something you don’t like, talk about something that you like. Everybody likes something.”

On bad reviews of the new album, “Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age”:

“I’d say it’s ignorant and limited. Each album is different. Comparing albums is like comparing children. You don’t say what child is the best. You put the same amount of effort and creative ingenuity into creating each one.”


On their “Greatest Misses” CD:

“The record company wanted me to do a greatest hits record, so I did a greatest misses record just to be bullheaded. If the whole mode goes left, I go right. If they go up, I go down. I will always do that other thing ‘cause I’m not here to impress anybody. I’m not anybody’s beat provider.”

On keeping the listeners listening:

“Public Enemy will always be something that will provide something that people will least expect and we won’t sell ourselves out just to be immensely popular with the most popular decision. We will do something that will be vastly different and say ‘take it or leave it’ and accept us for what it is. That’s been consistent, maybe since ‘Fight the Power.’ ”

On taking bad advice:

“I speak in penitentiaries, and these people are mad at the fact that they got trapped and sucked into something that they thought was fashionable but, at the same time, they’re the ones serving time while people out here are just kickin’ it, making records and making money off selling records.”

On glorifying the gangster mentality:

“A lot of people think ‘So What You Gonna Do Now,’ (a cut off the new album) is an anti-gansta-rap record. I’d like to put it straight on the record like this: What I’m doing is I’m attacking a trend of gansta rap. It’s a trend set up by the record companies and exploited by the record companies. And that’s what I’m attacking. I’m a firm believer that every story should be told. What’s lacking is a severe lack of balance now. I’m no saint, but I know what’s not good for us as a people and what’s been destroying us throughout. There’s nothin’ fly about the drug trade. People die and they go to jail, and nobody deals with these people when they’re in jail or after they’re dead. So I attack the whole mentality and exploitation of gangsta rap.”

On the use of the n-word:

“The term nigger has no positive turn whatsoever. You can’t turn punk or (d - head) around so there’s no way you can turn nigger into being good if it’s been bad ever since Europeans stepped onto Africa and pointed a gun at our ass. If the artist uses it, that’s barely tolerable, because every story should be told and art, especially rap music, is a reflection of what’s goin’ on.”

On the future:

“I’m not hungry to make the best rap record in the world. I’m hungry in a different way at a higher level. What I’m hungry for is (buying a record company). Before a hamburger was enough, now I want the restaurant. I want the block. Look at all these blues artists having nothing when they die, and for this to be a billion-dollar (music) industry. . . . It’s stupid to go out like that.”



* WHO: Public Enemy, the Goats, the Fugees.

* WHEN: 9 p.m. Wednesday

* WHERE: Underground, 110 Santa Barbara St., Santa Barbara.

* HOW MUCH: $16.50.

* CALL: 965-5050.