In addition to being one of hip-hop’s most notable pioneers, Chuck D of Public Enemy has long been considered one of the genre’s most formidable lyricists. According to Rolling Stone, he’s now cashed in that reputation — and on the lucrative catalog of genre-shaping hits he wrote as Public Enemy’s de facto frontman — after selling a huge portion of his songwriting catalog to Reach Music.
Reach Music has been the rap titan’s publisher for the past two decades, and now owns 100 percent of Chuck’s songwriter’s share along with 50 percent of his publishing copyrights. Chuck will retain the other 50 percent of his copyright share. Neither party has revealed how much Chuck was ultimately paid for the catalog, but given the cultural ubiquity and timeless urgency of hits like “Bring The Noise,” “Don’t Believe The Hype,” and “Fight The Power,” Chuck’s fee would certainly be in line with other recent sales by pop forces like David Bowie, Justin Timberlake, and John Legend.
In a statement, Chuck said, “[D]oing this deal was the right timing for a forward and logical evolution of our business together in an ever-changing industry. Reach has always been ahead of the curve on establishing respect for the HipHop genre songwriting and publishing-wise, and they will continue taking care of my works.”
For more on how publishing rights work, check out Uproxx’s interview with Naima Cochran.