Elvis was a hero to most
But he never meant shit to me you see
Straight up racist that sucker was
Simple and plain

from Public Enemy – Fight The Power Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

Many African Americans feel that Elvis stole traditional black musical elements in his rise as a rock icon.

While accusations that Elvis himself was a racist have been leveled at the star the record suggests otherwise. Then there’s the Elvis song “In the Ghetto,” was about as anti-racist as pop music got in the 1960s.

In later years, Chuck would somewhat moderate his views on the King:

“As a musicologist — and I consider myself one — there was always a great deal of respect for Elvis, especially during his Sun sessions. As a black people, we all knew that,” the rapper said.
“My whole thing was the one-sidedness — like, Elvis' icon status in America made it like nobody else counted. … My heroes came from someone else. My heroes came before him. My heroes were probably his heroes. As far as Elvis being ‘The King,’ I couldn’t buy that”

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