Chuck D To Become First Hip-Hop Artist To Receive The Woody Guthrie Prize

Chuck D Credit: Travis Shinn

Chuck D will receive the 2019 Woody Guthrie Prize for his bringing his political perspectives to his music, writings and activism. The Woody Guthrie Center will present the award to him on November 16th at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa. John Mellencamp, Kris Kristofferson, Norman Lear, Mavis Staples and Pete Seeger are past recipients of the award. 

“Woody was a fighter for the people, and Chuck D’s message has consistently aligned with Woody’s: choose a side, fight the power and work for a better world,” said Deana McCloud, director of the Woody Guthrie Center.  “We are honored to recognize Chuck’s work as he shines a light on social and cultural issues through his words and encourages us all to take action for equality and justice. We know that Woody would be rapping right alongside him as he speaks truth to power.”

Chuck D helped found Public Enemy in 1985 and by 1987 their debut album Yo! Bum Rush The Show was released to critical acclaim. They immediately carved out their lane with pro-Black political content and agitational noise in their sound. Public Enemy would become one of the most important rap groups of the Golden Era with platinum and gold albums, heavy radio play, sold-out tours and the respect of their peers. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. Chuck D has four solo albums, a memoir and he is currently a member of the supergroup Prophets Of Rage. He also wrote This Day In Rap Hip-Hop History.