From the outside, the house looks perfectly ordinary. A three-bedroom suburban family home built in the mid-60s, it sits up on a hillside overlooking the city of Ventura. On a clear day, like today, you can glimpse the Californian coastline and the ocean beyond. Look again at the house and you might notice that above the garage a string of fairy lights have been pinned up in the shape of the CND logo, the internationally recognised symbol of peace and political activism. That’s the only clue that this is the house where Chuck D lives.
The Public Enemy leader appears before I even get to the front door. He’s dressed all in black except for a dark green military cap with a pair of wraparound shades balanced above the brim. He lives here in Ventura because his wife, Professor Gaye Theresa Johnson, teaches at the Department of Black Studies at the nearby University of California, Santa Barbara. I also get the impression he enjoys the relative seclusion. A veteran of a staggering 112 tours of duty, he’s currently preparing to embark on his 113th: the aptly-named ‘Gods of Rap’ tour, where he’ll join Wu-Tang Clan and De La Soul for shows in London, Manchester and Glasgow.