William Jonathan Drayton, Jr., better known as Flavor Flav (born March 16, 1959), is a rap artist and member of the influential and politically-conscious rap group Public Enemy. Born in Roosevelt, New York, Flav, a classically-trained pianist, attended Adelphi University in Long Island where, while rapping under the name MC DJ Flavor he met then graphic design student Carlton Ridenhour (Chuck D). Chuck D compiled DJ Terminator X, Professor Griff and Flavor Flav to form Public Enemy and release the debut album Yo! Bum Rush the Show in 1987.
Flav participated in Public Enemy as second rapper or vocalist (vocals were mostly done by Chuck D), and as the band's drummer. His stuttering vocal style has influenced rappers including Busta Rhymes and Ol' Dirty Bastard. Providing a comic foil to the political message of Chuck D, some credit Flav with the development of the role of the rap sidekick. While in the group, Flav had numerous brushes with the law. During the time of the band's success, Flav was also a heavy drug abuser, most notably crack, and had his license suspended at least 43 times, though he is proudly clean as of 2004.
Flav credits himself as having been the originator of the current platinum grill craze in hip-hop fashion. Though Flav himself has vehemently stated that he would never wear platinum teeth himself, his near-constant wearing of gold teeth has inspired other rappers to get gold or platinum teeth, he claims. Given that no noticeable celebrity wore gold-plated teeth prior to Public Enemy's success, Flav's comments are arguably accurate.
He often wears a clock around his neck, stating that observers will "know what time it is...". These clocks became one of Flav's trademarks, along with comic sunglasses. Flav is also known to wear flashy colors, such as hot pink, and a metal-horned helmet on his head, while Chuck D used to perform in dark colours, and the Security of the 1st World wear military uniform. Flav realizes that his style is bizarre, and he is proud of his own uniqueness.
Flav has reportedly completed two solo albums, both of which were rejected by his record label, Def Jam. A third LP, It's About Time, was due to be released in 1999 but never appeared.
In 2004, Flavor Flav appeared in the third season of The Surreal Life on VH1, in which he had an on-screen relationship with Brigitte Nielsen. He and Brigitte continued their odd pairing on VH1's reality show Strange Love.
Sometime after the premiere of Strange Love, Flav started to come under fire from various organizations and individuals including North Carolina's Reverend Paul Scott, who labeled Flav's performance a "coon act" on "a modern day minstrel show." Episodes have shown Flav acting up at a Public Enemy concert as well as having confrontations with his children and their mother, who have received no child support from him. Chuck D went as far as issuing a statement (http://www.hiphoprnbsoul.com/web/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=488) to denouce Flav's participation on Strange Love. A petition (http://www.petitiononline.com/saveflav/petition.html) was set up in conjunction with Chuck D's criticisms in hopes of convincing VH1 to pull the show off of the air. In May 2005 Flav appeared on yet another reality show, The Farm on UK channel five (TV).
Flavor Flav has six children by two women and currently resides in New York.
Flav's favorite sayings:
1. YEAH BOOYIEE!
2. FLAVOR FLAAAAV!
3. COLD MEDINA!