LOS ANGELES — Over the years, Public Enemy mastermind Chuck D has had a rather, uh, interesting relationship with the Grammys (like the time his group boycotted the show in 1991). And while his stance has softened some in recent times, let’s just say it would take something pretty massive to get him to take part in the festivities.
So, when he got the call to join Grammy host LL Cool J, Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, Tom Morello and DJ Z-Trip for a performance during the show, well, that was appropriately huge for him to sign on, as D told MTV News on Friday (February 8).
“If I’m going to actually get on TV — and I don’t choose to get on TV a lot — and I don’t choose to be in the middle of the industry, mixing things up, but if I’m going to be on there, my goal is to knock the skylights in the arena out,” he said. “And that’s what we’re gonna do. If LL’s gonna ask me, I better come here ready to knock it out of the park; and that’s what’s going to happen. Ain’t going to be no weak sh–.”
D said that LL reached out to him personally to appear — Chuck is on the hook of LL’s “Whaddup,” a track from his upcoming Authentic album (though whether or not they’ll perform the song on Sunday remains a secret) — and, once he heard who he’d be sharing the stage with, he agreed to participate.
“He has this new song, and I’m on the hook, so I got the call from LL, and he’s already got Tom Morello, Travis Barker and Z-Trip employed in this,” D explained. “And [he said] ’Yo Chuck, what’s up? I got this going on, let’s do it.’ So, when the general calls, why not make it happen. It’s good to be in a situation where you’re batting fifth in the lineup … guys get on base so I can knock it out.”
And how will their Grammy night team-up stand apart from the myriad of other performers during Sunday’s telecast? Well, from the sound of things, on sheer intensity alone.
“It’s very intense. With LL, it’s going to be my job to drive him, and he’s gonna be driven and he’s gonna drive me,” D said. “Travis is driving,Tom is driving, Z-Trip is driving, so we’re all going to come up and really come together on our ’A’ game and really spank this song. You can’t mail it in; either you do it or it’s going to do you.”