Flavor Flav doesn’t get the credit he’s due for the success of Public Enemy. While outwardly he may appear to be a clownish, one-note hype man, in reality he did a lot of important work behind the scenes. I mean, did you ever hear about Public Enemy being late for anything? No, I didn’t think so. Public Enemy is well known to have been the most punctual rap group in history. Those clocks aren’t merely decorative, Flav runs a tight ship.
While this is conjecture on my part, Flavor Flav is 100% in agreement that he did not get his dues. That’s why, according to Variety, he’s suing Public Enemy front-man and co-founder Chuck D, as well as two of his former managers, for missing royalties and merchandising revenue.
Flavor Flav (real name William Drayton Jr.) claims that his Public Enemy royalties have been few and far between in recent years. Flavor Flav and his reps have tried their hands on accounting records to show how much Flav should be getting, but so far they haven’t been successful. So he’s suing.
Chuck D was seen as the serious musical talent while Flav played the goofy hype man. The suit hints at years of pent-up hard feelings over this perception of their relative importance. Flav contends that there have been many attempts “to minimize his role in the Public Enemy business” over the years, while managers continued to exploit “his fame and persona to market the brand.”
I’m sort of surprised Flav’s bank account is in a bad way. Does TV not pay well? He was on The Surreal Life, a follow up show called Strange Love, three seasons of The Flavor of Love, which of course spawned I Love New York, which in turn spawned FIVE spinoffs! If this brother is still broke after all that.
According to Variety, Flav has been getting financially shafted as recent as this summer. Public Enemy sneakily released an album this summer on which Flavor Flav was listed as an executive producer. But when it actually dropped, Flav had no idea about it. The suit claims he was approached earlier in the spring about a possible album, and he agreed to come to California to record because he needed the money. Then this happened:
Flav requested a $75,000 fee. After a day of recording, he was given just $7,500 and told that more money would be wired to him later. He says he went to his hotel to wait for the remaining amount, and when it did not arrive he went back home to Las Vegas. According to the suit, he did not believe that his recordings would be used because they were of poor quality, and was surprised when the album was released on June 29.
Flav also claims his ex-manager entered into licensing deals without his knowledge, and that he is owed money for Public Enemy branded dolls, actions figures, watches, and bikes. If true, that is some cold-blooded shit. But also, Flav! C’mon! Ain’t you ever heard of a contract before? But really, this story gives me the sads, and I hope Flav gets some scratch. Which I hope in turn can help him pay someone to figure out how to avoid whatever wackness has led him here.