The following was originally published at Ongoing History Of Protest Songs.
When studying the history of socially conscious hip-hop very few have had the impact of Chuck D. As the MC of Public Enemy, he contributed several albums and songs that make up the canon of essential protest music. And, with rap-rock supergroup Prophets of Rage and as a solo artist, he is still going strong with his brand of political rap.
Chuck D recently released his fourth studio album, “Celebration of Ignorance.” The album is rooted in a classic 1980s throwback style. The lyrics are as hard-hitting as ever, and he tackles subjects such as racism, toxic masculinity, gun violence, dangers of technological advances and the hateful rhetoric of President 45.
“MutterERT” addresses the issue of climate change and the damage we are doing to the planet. Lyrics such as “Forgetting future generations gonna be regretting” highlights how future generations will suffer from the sinful short-sighted greed of those in power.
The song also features contributions from Jahi of P.E. 2.0, who on his verse adds the pointed observation, “The land of my birth. Some treat her like a prostitute. Some know her worth. Some help her stay clean. Some shelling out the hurt.”
Even though there are climate activists pushing for needed change, the damage is done by those who want to have an abusive, one-way relationship with “Mother Earth.” Taking without giving back will only result in irreparable damage.
Beyond environmental damages, the song addresses other issues, which make living on Earth a challenge. “Religious recreating scripture” speaks to the use of religion to justify evil acts of hatred.
The tune ultimately holds out hope that forces can be overcome by the resilience of the “protest crowds.”
Considering his history of providing soundtracks for social movements, it is encouraging that Chuck D continues to fight on through his music.
Listen to “MutterERT” by Chuck D (featuring Jahi):