Exclusive – Public Enemy powerhouse Chuck D has linked with the Major League Baseball (MLB) Network as the 2022 Hall of Fame Election gets underway. An avid sports fan, the revolutionary Hip Hop legend has penned a new single for the annual event that comes with a baseball-themed video.
As noted in a press release, Chuck D wrote the song and recorded it exclusively for the MLB Network and Hall of Fame announcement program. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Andruw Jones, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Jimmy Rollins, Gary Sheffield, Curt Schilling and Sammy Sosa are some of the high-profile names on the ballot this year, and Chuck made sure to mention them all.
“In many ways, this the most important HOF announcement to date,” the MLB Network said in a statement. “We asked Chuck D to make people question their votes and their opinions on the HOF ballot.”
Speaking to HipHopDX, Chuck D explained how the collaboration evolved based on his pure love of the sport.
“I’ve been involved with Major League Baseball for the last year and a half,” he tells DX by phone. “It all started from my relationship with Harold Reynolds. He’s a baseball analyst, commentator and former Major League Baseball star. C-Doc and I look at rap music and Hip Hop like new folk music, telling stories that probably are rarely told and bringing back music that has been left alone to the side and even forgotten. We like to bring a resurgence to it.'”
He continues, “2020 was unprecedented. But in following major league sports, I think it was the year that it lost more notable names than ever before. And not necessarily just COVID but an adjustment to how the world was changing. I wrote a song about it because every month or every other week, somebody of note passed away, somebody I grew up with and collected their baseball cards.
“So the first song I did with Major League Baseball, I told Harold about it and Harold said, ‘Well, we could get involved with this and make this a thing, man.’ He was blown away. That was my first relationship with Major League Baseball.”
When Chuck D talks about baseball, he lights up, especially when reminiscing about the 1971 Major League All-Star Game in Detroit.
“I was telling them the idea that I had because one of the game that turned me on to baseball in the first place was the 1971 Major League All-Star game in Detroit,” he says. “That was the year ‘What’s Going On’ by Marvin Gaye came out, who also cut that record in Detroit. Also, it comes after a couple years of unrest and a turn in Vietnam, all these things.
“And baseball had a plethora of Black players I grew up with, and that was the game that Reggie Jackson most significantly hit a home run off the light tower. It had more Hall of Famers in one game than ever before and the game was magnificent. It had six home runs. It was a magnificent game of all of my heroes.”
With the help of MLB videographer Ryan Gilbert, Chuck D brought the song to life in a visual that contains several clips of important MLB moments and players.
“Ryan was able to take the song and make the video with all the Major League Baseball clips,” he adds. “And so you could go there and there’s a song called ‘It’s So Hard To See My Baseball Cards Move On.’ I made two or three … really, I made an illustration. So I was getting my illustration across. I did a painting on it and the song. Ryan did the video incorporating the song with the baseball players who had passed away and then also my artwork.
“That was the first thing I did at the end of 2020 going into ’21. As a matter of fact, after we did the song, then Henry Aaron passed away at the top of 2021.”
The results are expected to be revealed on Tuesday (January 25) at 6 p.m. EST. It’s the final time on the ballot for Schilling, Bonds, Clemens and Sosa — along with the first for Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz, the two newcomers with the strongest credentials. Find more information here and check out Chuck D’s single above.