Robert Dietz is fearless. As America collectively muddles through another record-cold winter, the German DJ/producer decided to stare down all of the snowpocalypses and snowmageddons that were in the forecast for the month of March and book a U.S. tour. How hardcore is that? With temperatures cold and snow falling daily, thank goodness he’s made the pilgrimage with his warm, techy, and housey vibes in tow.
It’s no wonder Dietz is feeling motivated and ambitious. Known for releasing top-quality tracks on Desolate, Cecile and Cadenza, he just presented the world with his phenomenal Radio Raheem EP on his newly launched Berlin-based imprint, Truth Be Told.
We caught up with the globetrotting jock and asked him about the impetus behind launching TBT — take note: his Radio Raheem debut EP features a stellar collaboration with Detroit legend Eddie Fowlkes — and what influenced him to use the name of a character in Spike Lee’s classic 1989 movie Do The Right Thing as the EP’s title.
As a bonus, Dietz also shares a slightly embarrassing story about meeting Josh Wink at a wedding in Norway.
Robert Dietz’s Radio Raheem EP is out now on Truth Be Told. Catch Dietz with Josh Wink at Verboten in Brooklyn on March 6. His additional U.S. tour dates can be found here.Continue Reading →
Where were you the first time you heard Public Enemy? Wherever it was, it was likely you were hearing something from their galvanizing sophomore record, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, or their stunning sequel, Fear of a Black Planet.
Now the twin masterpieces are being reissued in deluxe formats so you can re-bring the noise in some lush packages with tons of extras. For It Takes a Nation, in addition to the classic album, the set will include a second disc of 13 tracks featuring rare mixes and outtakes. It will also include a DVD featuring the out-of-print 1989 Fight the Power…Live, directed by Hart Perry and featuring videos and live performances. The package will also feature liner notes by Roots drummer and noted hip-hop historian, Amir “?uestlove” Thompson.
For Black Planet, there will be a two-CD set with 18 bonus cuts, including outtakes and alternate mixes from the record, as well as liner notes by Wax Poetics’ editor-in-chief, Andre Torres. Both reissues will include the Do the Right Thing soundtrack version of “Fight the Power,” (the one with the sick sax solo in the end by Branford Marsalis). Black Planet will also feature a brand new vinyl reissue with a 3-D cover image.
All of this is part of Def Jam’s year-long 30th anniversary celebration commemorating Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin’s historic founding of the influential label in 1984. The It Takes a Nation and Fear of a Black Planet reissues will be out on November 25 on Def Jam/Universal.
Movement took over Detroit over during the three-day Memorial Day weekend and registered its highest attendance since becoming a ticketed event in 2005. A total of 107,343 electronic music fans attended the annual festival produced by Paxahau. A who’s who of techno and house performed, including a co-headlining set from Public Enemy.
Public Enemy are celebrating their 25th anniversary and will be releasing two new studio albums later this year. The iconic hip-hop group have already embarked on an extensive world tour hitting Australia, the U.S. and Europe. The outfit’s frontman Chuck D, who founded and runs publicenemy.com; a digital record label (slamjamz.com), a social website for classic rap and hip-hop (hiphopgods.com), and a social platform for female rap artists (shemovement.com). Our Hugh Bohane spoke with Chuck D over the phone about a host of subjects prior to Public Enemy’s tour of Australia.
Is this a good time?
Chuck D: Not really, but it’s the time. I am going to have to be multi-tasking while we do this. [Chuck D is pounding away at his computer, in less than ten days he will fly out to Australia on a tour with Public Enemy.]
Congratulations on an amazing career. What have been some of the best memories of your 25 something years in the game with Public Enemy?
To be able to have traveled the world and to have people come up to you and say “thanks.”
Why does it seem that there are now so few intellectually/socially/politically conscious rappers in the industry today?
There are many. Arrested Development and Heet Mob are just two, to name a few.
You are very outspoken about the unfair imbalance of female representation in hip-hop, who are some female rappers inspiring you at the moment?
That and the disappearing of groups, that’s also, hurt hip-hop a lot. Michie Mee, the female rapper from Canada. Check her out.
You have also cited M.I.A. as a female rapper who inspires you?
She is also very cool.
Many people in Australia have been angrily demonstrating against police brutality after two Aboriginal youths were recently shot in a stolen car by N.S.W. police. Is police brutality in the U.S. still a problem in your opinion?
The problem [in the U.S.] is that people are policing in areas that they don’t belong in.
How effective is the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) today?
They have been trying to enlist good people. You know, an organization is only as good as the people in it.
What are your thoughts on Obama’s administration thus far?
Obama is a good driver in a bad car.
What did you think of the Occupy Wall Street movement last year?
I think people need to follow-up on that and pay attention.
What are your thoughts on Julian Assange?
He reminds me of Sean Fanning from Napster but this guy [Assange] is doing it right now, right here in the real world. I gotta admire him for that.
Can you tell us about your work as a board member on the TransAfrica Forum (a forum that works for the right of Africa, Caribbean and Latin American issues) and the issues you are working around?
I want to do more with it. I just haven’t been able to be as active with it as I would like to be.
What are some solutions for Africa moving into the future?
Africa can’t consolidate without Europeans fucking with it. When all those European countries when in to break up Africa… Africa is still recovering from that.
Tell us about the two new studio albums Public Enemy are releasing this year?
These two albums are statements about how we can now make art without constriction, compared with 15 years ago. These two albums talk to each other. Most of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear on No Stamp will be released in June and Evil Empire of Everything will be released in September. These albums will emerge off our own area label of distribution, called SpitDIGITAL.
How was it inducting the Beastie Boys into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recently?
It was incredible; they transcended and took things to the next level. I admire them for that.
How were your recent tours?
The tours were great. In 10 days we will be going down to your homeland, Australia. That’s going to be a situation. Come down and see the shows. We are also going to be touring the US and Europe later in the year.
How are Flavor Flav and the rest of the crew doing?
They’re all doing great.
What advice would you give to young artists starting out?
Try to create your own company and learn the history. Try to learn the guidelines of what you should and shouldn’t do in the industry.
Special thanks to Chuck D and his management for making this interview happen.