Chuck D's rules for the music business

From Public Enemy frontman and hip-hop legend Chuck D's Twitter feed, a short and useful list of rules for people who want to break in to the music business (hit the link below for the whole series).

Chuck D's Rules for the Music Business (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)


  1. This tweet right here might be my biggest problem with the punk scene in America.  I loved punk growing up, but those stupid angry kids never realized that while they sang about being angry and bringing down the system, their entire success was literally dependent upon other people’s money.  Ironic, to say the least.

    1.  their entire success was literally dependent upon other people’s money.

      How do you mean?

      1.  Well, take NOFX’s “It’s my job to keep punk rock elite”.  I know NOFX isn’t the greatest example of punk rock DIY ethics, but that was one of my favorite bands growing up so they are the subject of my story.

        In that song, they sing about how “their music ain’t your fucking industry”… but it quite literally is their industry – “they” being the record labels.  Johothan Coulton, Louis C.K., Radiohead and many other bands have recently LITERALLY made their own art on their own, and it wasn’t anybody’s ‘industry’ but their own.

        My point is, so much of punk rock seemed to just be railing against ‘the system’, without ever understanding how the system worked.  It was ignorant, angry ranting.  And it didn’t change anything.

        Louis C.K., Radiohead, JoCo, Jesse Thorn and others are literally changing things.  I love NOFX, but damn, they were stupid and ignorant.  Maybe I’m being unfair to punk as whole.  After all, David Burne was doing similar things when the guys from NOFX were 10 years old.

        I hope I am making sense to you.

        1. Yeah thanks, coming up in the early 90s DIY scene I wondered what you meant exactly. I wouldn’t have really considered those kinds of bands with huge labels, and major label distribution (see all those Epitaph/pop punk/(later Warp Tour) bands) and such to be really be part of that scene. I don’t think it’s fair to make them representatives of “punk”, not that I’m condemning or trying to judge, even if it sounds like it! ;)  haha.

           Anyway, you acknowledge that these weren’t particular paragons of DIY ethics, so I understand your post now.  There are certainly people who have stuck to their guns out there, see Fugazi for the most repeated, and obvious example. 

  2. Now I know why Nation of Millions was stuck in my head all morning long.

    I think there are some punk success stories that are closer to the essence of that – say, Dischord or K Records…

  3. There was a similar set of rules in the great Ego Trip’s Book of Rap Lists that was pretty great.  Chuck is always a good read on Twitter.  Always worth reading!

  4. He forgot industry rule number four thousand and eighty:

    Record company people are SHADY.

Comments are closed.