Pay up, Chuck!
Public Enemy co-founder Flavor Flav, the iconic hypeman who made the giant clock necklace his signature look, is suing his bandmate Chuck D as well as members of the group’s management and production. Flavor Flav, who’s real name is William J. Drayton, claims that it’s been years since he’s received his royalties. Flav also claims that he gave no consent to release Public Enemy’s newest album, Nothing is Quick in the Desert.
Royalties from one of the most influential hip hop groups of all time can’t be chump change, and it looks like Flav is gearing up for war to get what’s his.
After meeting Chuck D in the mid-eighties and forming Public Enemy, Flavor Flav would go on to write/co-write over 50 songs. With a slew of multi-platinum albums in the early 1990’s and an active touring schedule that continues to this day, Public Enemy remains one of the most influential and successful rap groups in music history.
Flav wasn’t well known for his lyricism, Chuck D handled most of the MC duties along with a laundry list of featured artists; Flav was most well-known as being the bombastic hypeman of the group. With his signature clock necklace, big hats, chains and sunglasses, Flavor Flav’s image alone became an entity in itself outside of Public Enemy. The likeness of Flavor Flav’s iconic look was virtually synonymous with Public Enemy’s legacy.
The New Album
While the band has not released anything close to the success of their early nineties hits like “Fight the Power,” they have been releasing albums consistently for the past 30 years, including recent high profile (and high paying) performances at major music festivals like Glastonbury and Coachella. (The point I’m trying to make is that Public Enemy should not be struggling with a lack of cash flow). So, when Flavor Flav started noticing his royalty checks diminished to next to nothing, he decided to call his lawyers.
In July of 2017, Chuck D announced a limited release of Nothing is Quick in the Desert, the group’s first album since 2015. According to court documents obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, “Drayton was shocked to see that a new Public Enemy album was being released, and his image was being used in multiple media outlets to promote the album. He had never heard of the album, nor heard any of the final mixes.”
The album was not well received by critics and has since become unavailable for purchase. Flavor Flav himself claims that he would have never authorized this album since it was “not up to his standards of quality”.
As of this writing, the amount that Flavor Flav is seeking has yet to be determined, but considering the suit includes accounts from merchandise as well as music royalties, I’d assume it would be a fairly large amount of money.
Skeptics are quick to call out Flavor Flav’s claim that he had “no input on the creative direction” of the newest record despite appearing on many of the tracks. Could this be the end of Public Enemy or has Chuck D done Flavor Flav dirty? Let us know what you think and SHARE this with a friend!