There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Give it up to Chuck D for embracing the Internet as an antidote to radio. Give it up to Chuck D for recognizing that Napster isn’t the enemy that the greedy $18.98-per-disc record labels are. In the past few years, the rapper has become our ‘Net expert the way Steven Tyler is our expert on heroin, and Stevie Nicks is our expert on fucking multiple bandmates. He’s our Dee Snider stepping up before Congress and any set of working mikes to lambast not the PMRC but Queen Copyright Helmet Head Hilary Rosen (who doesn’t have to pay $18.98 per). Think of Chuck D the next time you catch the VH-1 rerun on Napster when Mandy Moore whines: “I’m really scared about the Internet.” Or when you flip over Public Enemy’s new set, Revolverlution, to find that it includes old hits remixed by fans(!). It’s a gamble that works thanks to Chuck D’s hammering voice and Stephen Stills’ absence. More interesting is PE’s Web site, which contains “MPEs” and downloadables like the “Enemy Assault System.” (That’s the new Shockwave Player.) The rhetoric hasn’t changed, just the tools. Still, PE hasn’t found its Rakim moment—the reminder of how revolutionary the group’s voices are. Maybe tonight will be that night. Bring your kids and an open mind. Incidentally, the last time I saw PE, it was sandwiched between House of Pain and Ice-T. Guess who’s relevant now? Everlast never got over his beef with Eminem, and Ice-T’s a TV cop. And there’s still Public Enemy to fight another President Bush. PE performs with Dilated Peoples and Blackalicious at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19, at Nation, 1015 Half St. SE. $23. (202) 554-1500. (Jason Cherkis)