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Chuck D Speaks on Elvis’ Legacy

August 12, 2002 GMT

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Public Enemy frontman Chuck D derided Elvis Presley on the group’s 1989 anthem ``Fight The Power,″ but it turns out his feelings for Presley are a little more complicated than the song suggests.

``As a musicologist _ and I consider myself one _ there was always a great deal of respect for Elvis, especially during his Sun sessions. As a black people, we all knew that,″ the rapper said.

``My whole thing was the one-sidedness _ like, Elvis’ icon status in America made it like nobody else counted. ... My heroes came from someone else. My heroes came before him. My heroes were probably his heroes. As far as Elvis being ‘The King,’ I couldn’t buy that.″

Chuck D spoke to Newsday about Presley’s legacy for a 25th anniversary story on the singer’s death.

On ``Fight the Power,″ he said of Presley, ``Elvis was a hero to most/But he never meant (expletive) to me, you see/Straight up racist that sucker was, simple and plain.″

As for whether there is a modern-day Elvis, Chuck D points to Eminem.

``Eminem is the new Elvis because, number one, he had the respect for black music that Elvis had,″ Chuck D said. ``I think he’s courteous and sympathetic to black music, and, unfortunately, he’s more sympathetic to black music than many black artists themselves.″

Public Enemy’s new album is ``Revolverlution.″