Foreign Gists

Chuck D pens deal for rights to Public Enemy catalogue


Public Enemy’s Chuck D is often considered the man who first used hip hop to really push social change. With so much influence, when he and his crew released the single ‘Rebel Without A Pause’, there was instantly madness. A politically charged, racially charged song meant to empower the black youth of America, it mobilised communities and was an instant classic.

Now Chuck D is back in hip hop news, not because he has made another song but because has sold a major stake in his songwriting catalogue to publishing company Reach Music. However, this is no small deal, the punisher now has part ownership of more than 300 of the Public Enemy songs.

The catalogue includes classics such as the albums It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and Fear of a Black Planet, which the rapper almost entirely co-wrote. In an interview, when asked why he decided to sign on the dotted line, the legend responded that now “was the right timing for a forward and logical evolution of [their] business together in an ever-changing industry.” He continued, “Reach has always been ahead of the curve on establishing respect for the hip-hop genre songwriting and publishing-wise, and they will continue taking care of my works.”

However, only time will tell if this was a smart move for Chuck because the company has acquired a 50% copyright interest together with 100% of the writer’s share, which subsequently means they can do with it as they please, and this could lead to a catastrophe. However, the rapper seems confident in Reach Music.

Talking about his history with the company and why he has such faith in they will do right with the music, he stated, “[Reach founder-president] Mike Closter and everyone at Reach has been handling my song catalogue for well over 20 years, and doing this deal was the right timing for a forward and logical evolution of our business together in an ever-changing industry. Reach has always been ahead of the curve on establishing respect for the hip-hop genre songwriting and publishing-wise, and they will continue taking care of my works.”

To the rapper, we say good luck and congratulations on closing the deal. You can watch the music video for ‘Rebel Without A Pause’ in the video below.