“This is Beyond Sports”: Chuck D on the fight in Arizona

Interview with Chick D by Dave Zirin.

Chuck D. The Hard Rhymer. The man on the mic for the most politically explosive hip-hop group in history, Public Enemy. With albums like “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back,” “Fear of a Black Planet,” and anthems like “Fight the Power” and “Bring the Noise” along with the breathtaking production of the Bomb Squad, PE created a standard of politics and art. Perhaps their most controversial track was “By the Time I Get to Arizona” (1991) about seeking revenge against Arizona political officials for refusing to recognize Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday [Lyrics include: ‘Cause my money’s spent on The goddamn rent/Neither party is mine not the Jackass or the elephant.]

Today, in the wake of Arizona’s draconian anti-immigration Senate Bill 1070, “By the Time I Get to Arizona” has been remixed and revived by DJ Spooky. Chuck D also recorded his own track several months before the bill was passed called “Tear Down That Wall.”

I spoke to Chuck about the music and the nexus between immigration politics and sports.


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