The year was 1989, when violence was becoming a serious problem within Black communities around the country. Following the tragic death of a fan at one of his shows and the senseless murder of Scott La Rock, Boogie Down Productions frontman KRS-One decided to create the Stop The Violence Movement. Alongside the likes of Kool Moe Dee, MC Lyte, Doug E. Fresh, Public Enemy, and Stetsasonic, KRS would lead the proverbial march with his single “Self Destruction” in the hopes that the call to arms would trigger a paradigm shift for the betterment of impoverished neighborhoods.
Today, the fight still continues. The difference is that in addition to violent crime, those same areas are now being plagued with rampant drug abuse and a mental health crisis. Given the need to raise awareness, Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Stetsasonic’s Daddy-O have decided to reimagine the aforementioned campaign as Stop Self Destruction. With support from digital music outlet Opposition, the two legends aim to modernize the push and recruit some of today’s rap frontrunners in the process.
REVOLT was fortunate enough to connect with Chuck D and Daddy-O to learn more about Stop Self Destruction. The duo also talked about hip hop’s 50th birthday, their involvement in the digital renaissance, what they are working on individually, and more. Get hip via the exclusive below.
“Self Destruction” marked a huge shift in hip hop given everything that was going on in our communities. Can you tell us about the new international iteration of the movement?
Daddy-O: So, in the beginning, the first movement that KRS-One and Boogie Down Productions was about, it was called “Self Destruction.” It is based on his Stop The Violence Movement. We’re calling [our movement] Stop Self Destruction. There’s not really much difference, but I guess the notable difference is the problems. We never thought we would be saying hip hop and suicide in one sentence, or hip hop and opioids in one sentence. So although we do want to address violence in the community, we also want to address all those other problems. And what we want to do is be an aid, right? Because we got [United States Senator Raphael Warnock] in Atlanta and [Mayor Eric Adams] in New York. On one level, we are aiding them. We’re putting some fire up underneath their a** like, “Yo, what’s going on with these numbers?” ‘Cause what’s the numbers in Philly on Friday morning? The murder numbers… What’s the numbers in Cleveland on Friday morning?
What modern strategies are you looking to execute with the Stop Self Destruction Movement?
Daddy-O: Let me give you a dream of mine. This dreamer will give you a scenario. You got a guy like Moneybagg Yo, right? He makes a song called “Where Did My Money Go?” and we lock him right into somebody that’s teaching financial literacy. So our aim is to touch base with the people that’s doing the real work because — no disrespect to us — we are rappers, we are entertainers. There’s going to be a documentary part. You know what I’m saying? There are people every day that’s feeding soup kitchens. There are people every day that’s teaching kids financial literacy. There are people every day that’s helping to put together bills and proposals for charter schools just to make sure that they’re in a place that doesn’t get shot up.
So what we want to do is connect with those organizations, whether it be somebody who works with opioid abuse, whether it’s somebody that works with teenage pregnancy, whether it’s somebody that works with suicide — which again, like I said earlier, we never thought we would be hearing the words hip hop and suicide in the same sentence. We have the Mac Millers and the Juice WRLDs [in regard to substance abuse]. Mental health is a big thing, you know? I thought about it not too long ago and said, “Man, [the artists] gotta be, probably, experiencing more depression than anybody else.” ‘Cause what is it like to be a guy like Desiigner that has a record that goes huge and then everybody don’t want to hear from you no more?
How has Opposition assisted you?
Daddy-O: Opposition is our media partner. We locked in with Opposition because of some of the artists that they are dealing with and because of some of the things that they deal with on the film side. So Opposition is our media partner, and we like the name (laughs). But, everything is going to be led by me and Chuck in terms of the moves that’s being made and all of that.
Back to the music side. Will there be an official sequel to “Self Destruction”?
Daddy-O: This is what happened. I was on the phone with Chuck D and Tobe Nwigwe, right? Tobe wanted to meet us, so me and Chuck got on the phone with him. Let me back up a little bit. Since 2016, I’ve been putting out these solo records through Chuck’s label SPITSLAM, right? So, we’re talking to Tobe about making this record and Chuck goes, “Daddy-O, at the rate that you put out records, we need to just do at least 12 of them joints.” Because, originally, the idea is one record — “Self Destruction” is loosely based on “We Are The World,” the original. You know what I’m saying? So [at] that moment, we said we’re going to put out multiple songs.
What we would like to do is do some combinations. The first record that Tobe and them are finishing [includes] myself, Chuck D, Big K.R.I.T., and Westside Boogie from Eminem’s [Shady Records] crew. Toby is also making the choice as to who the girl on the record is going to be. I got my choices, but I’m going to let him do that ’cause he’s producing that one.
What are your thoughts as the culture celebrates hip hop’s 50th year? Chuck D, you took part in the Grammy’s tribute, which was probably amazing both onstage and behind the scenes.
Chuck D: Well, Questlove — Ahmir Thompson — makes history every night on “The Tonight Show.” The thing about hip hop, or just in the United States, is, sometimes, when there’s an accomplishment, people start to overlook and take things for granted if we come from the previous century. So, every night, I’m mind-blown [by] the fact that “The Tonight Show” comes on with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots.
It’s very important throughout the 50 years to lock yourself into the Big Bang effect of when these great accomplishments happen, and then stay on that to keep a currency — a creative and an active currency — of how powerful this genre is across the world. It keeps us astute. It’s very important. Like Daddy-O said, it’s like if you got a Warnock in Georgia and an Adams in New York who’s the mayor, and you got a lot of different things. You got Ras Baraka in Newark, you got a lot of pockets where people govern cities and states of people who have been born since hip hop [began]. Now you talk about real people doing real things, and you heard my good friend, Professor Daddy-O. His professor [title] is there for a reason — because he’s a scholar in this art form and genre.
Daddy-O: Thank you, sir.
Do you have specific plans to celebrate hip hop’s birthday come Aug. 11?
Chuck D: I got to be in Cincinnati that day, but the whole world is going to be wired. So it’s not about being in one place. We’re on the wire with you right now. So it’s not where you’re at. It’s probably what you’re from.
Daddy-O: I remember one time, Chuck was doing Prophets of Rage. I was talking to him about the shows and he said, “Daddy-O, we did this first show at [Hollywood’s Whisky a Go Go], but we had cameras in there. So, even though it seemed like I was performing for a small audience, it was hundreds of thousands of people watching me.” And a light bulb went off. A lot of people don’t know Chuck was in on all original digital meetings. MP3.com, the first Apple meeting, Chuck was there when all of this stuff switched over. Chuck D was there. Now I will say, and I’m not trying to be disrespectful to people, half of them didn’t listen to him [back then]. All right. His ideas are still better. He just dropped the app Bring The Noise. This is why I’m signed to SPITSLAM. ‘Cause he knows that world.
Chuck D: When you do it independently, the bugs are bigger (laughs). You’re still dealing with “Whites” and “Colored” on the water fountain, and it seems like the white one got ice in it (laughs).
Excellent segue. Your digital fingerprint now includes app Bring The Noise as well as Rap Station TV…
Chuck D: Bring The Noise, it threads the visual aspect of what RSTV has been for years. But the thing about it — understand the moment that you’re in, people listen with their eyes.
Chuck D: There are 11 station channels that deal with the specific details of hip hop and rap. [One is an] all-woman radio station called Sheep Movement Radio. And it’s 24 hours, seven days of programming from women producers around the world. Women in hip hop are 33 percent of the workforce. And the United States is a little different. We got Hip Hop Guides, which is like cats with 25 years careers. Careers are longer right now at a time where Lil Wayne is having a 25-year career, you know what I’m saying? And a catalog.
If you had to break it down, and this is just to move the conversation along, it’s TikTok for classic hip hop, 35 and up. People listen with their eyes also. They want to engage, not only looking at things that come to them, but also posting and being live. It does all of that. And the difference is that it’s connected into the radio internet. So this is the eyes to the format that Rap Station and RSTV have done for years. That’s a long story short.
Daddy-O, fans have seen both the revival of Stetsasonic and the continuation of your solo career. What can folks expect from you and your collective in the future?
Daddy-O: Last year, we signed to SPITSLAM. I guess a year-and-a-half ago, we put out the first single, “(Now Y’all Giving Up) Love.” Then, probably less than a year ago, we put out a single called “Here We Go Again,” which is actually going to be the title cut of [our forthcoming] album. And then, we just released the “Fallen Soldiers” record to all the fallen soldiers. We’re finishing the album. I want to finish out with features. I got quite a few cats in line. And we plan on maybe [a] summer-ish kind of release. It might be another single with me and Wise before that, that is going to shock people’s minds ’cause we did something crazy.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to the readers?
Daddy-O: Yeah, Stop Self Destruction the movement. Holla at us. We are both on social media. Let us know. Yo, we’re calling you, Megan Thee Stallion. We’re calling you, GloRilla. We’re calling you, Rod Wave. We’re calling you, Roddy Ricch. Let’s go, Missy. We’re calling you, ATL Jacob. We’re calling you. Let’s go.