The Public Enemy agitator fears most rappers can’t handle a headline slot.
Chuck D has called on hip-hop acts to step up to the challenge of headlining festivals, saying “you can’t just write good songs, you’ve got to perform them well.”
In a blog post for NME, the frontman said headline acts have “got to be able to nail it”. “It’s vital rap acts step up to the challenge of headlining festivals because opportunities that big are shrinking,” he said. “You would think that hip-hop artists would want to continue playing those shows, and they’d have the backing from mainstream avenues like radio and all their big budgets. The truth is, you’ve got to put like five or six of those artists together – and if they can’t play together, it doesn’t work.”
He added: “Most of those artists are turntable artists, not anything that’s based on getting down live. That’s the problem. You want the art form to be transcendent. You want people to think, ‘OK, I’m going to check out the best of the best now’. It’s just like a sporting event. You want to watch the best.”
The rapper also commented on this year’s Glastonbury headliner, saying Kanye West has “gotten better over the years although he’s a solo performer. He’s like a hip-hop Paul McCartney.”
Public Enemy are due to headline NASS Festival this year before embarking on an arena tour with The Prodigy.