Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Chuck D

  • Autobiography of Mistachuck [Mercury, 1996] A-

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Autobiography of Mistachuck [Mercury, 1996]
If rap, now hip hop, is the black CNN, the coiner of that historic phrase has gone public access--his disappearing solo debut topped out at 190 pop and broke "r&b" well south of House of Pain. So his claim to righteousness has to stand as music, or if he's lucky the kind of rumor that kept Amerindie going--like Spearhead and Gil Scott-Heron, not Wu-Tang or Buju Banton. And until he gets winded half an hour in, he slam-dunks. Over a muscular bottom of unsampled funk--"NO contracts NO tracks with NO mechanicals"--the proud Chevy owner pounds home the plain, intricately rhymed truth about black folks dreaming of Jenny Jones, about hip hop going to hell in an armored limo. Sure helped me get straight after I spent an hour with the law one afternoon. I can only hope it'll do the same for people who really need it. A-

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