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The Birth of a Pioneer: Chuck D turns 54

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Known for his powerful voice and politically yet socially conscious lyrical prowess, Carlton "Chuck D Ridenhour helped to define the "Golden Age of Hip Hop. Influenced by fellow icon and Furious Five group member Melle Mel, the Queens NewYork born pioneer is one of the most prolific hip hop lyricists of all time.

Upon hearing Chuck D's demo track "Public Enemy Number One", a young Rick Rubin insisted on signing him to his then up and coming Def Jam label.

As the front man of the iconic,yet controversial Hip hop group Public Enemy, Chuck D expressed his criticism of the media, along with his frustrations and concerns of the African American community. Although their lyrics raised many eyebrows one could not help but listen intently.

Public Enemy’s debut album, Yo! Bum Rush the Show, was released in 1987 to critical acclaim., and 1988’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back , produced the hit single "Don't Believe the Hype" but it wasn’t until 1989 when the native New Yorkers introduced Fear of a Black Planet, and shook the Hip hop community.

Led by the Isley Brothers' sampled "Fight the Power", the album reached platinum status making "Fight the Power" one of the most popular and influential songs in hip hop history. It was also the theme song of Spike Lee's debut film, Do the Right Thing.

In 2007, Public Enemy was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. In 2013, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, making them the fourth hip-hop act to be inducted after fellow iconic hip hop pioneers Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Run–D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys.

Chuck D has appeared as a featured artist on a plethora of hit songs by an extensive list of performers which included everyone from Janet Jackson and Ice Cube, to Anthrax, and Meatloaf.

His voice can also be heard on Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as DJ Forth Right MC fort he radio station Playback FM, performing the play-by-play commentary in the video game NBA Ballers: Chosen One on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Happy Birthday Chuck!

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