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William Drayton (1959- ), better known as Flavor Flav, is an American rapper. He was a part of the hip hop act Public Enemy, playing sidekick to Chuck D. They reached their height in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In the 2000s Flav appeared in several reality shows on television, most notably “Flavor of Love”, one of VH1’s most successful shows.

He is known for saying “Yeah BOYYYEEE!” and “Wow!”. He likes to wear a huge clock and, sometimes, a Viking helmet with horns. He also wears big hats, big sunglasses and gold teeth. Off stage, though, he is well-mannered and well-spoken.

Public Enemy rapped about serious issues. Chuck D compared it to the New York Times. Flavor Flav’s “911 is a Joke”, for example, was about how slow ambulances are in coming to save people in black neighbourhoods.

Flav got the idea of wearing a clock from one of the men in the recording studio who always had a stopwatch hanging from his neck.

Flav was part rapper, part showman but he can also play the piano, drums and guitar. He is a classically trained pianist.

He is still a part of Public Enemy, which still tours and puts out records.

Flav came out with an album of his own in 2006, “Flavor Flav”. It reached #80 on the American hip hop chart. The Source gives it 2.5 stars. It came out under his own label: Draytown. Def Jam, the record label for Public Enemy, would not touch it.

Flav was arrested several times for drugs, in 1996 for marijuana. In 1997 he overdosed. He says he no longer does drugs.

His over-the-top style plays well on reality television. In 2004 he appeared on VH1 on season three of “The Surreal Life”, a show where has-beens live together in a big house somewhere in California. There he had a relationship with Brigitte Nielsen, one that was continued in 2005 for viewers at home in the show “Strange Love”. That did well enough that VH1 gave him his own show, “Flavor of Love”, which ran for three seasons.

On “Flavor of Love” (2006-2008), Flav picks out 20 women from among the hundreds who try out and then lives with them in a big house somewhere in California. Every week he chooses one woman to go home until there is only one left, the winner of the show.

The aim was supposedly for Flav to find a woman who would truly love him for him and not just for her moment in the spotlight. Well, none of the women truly loved him – they just wanted their moment in the spotlight. Not that it mattered: as it turned out, Flav already had a woman.

The show made him famous again and filled his bank account, but it was sad to see someone who was once part of Public Enemy sell out like that.

He comes from the same black middle-class town on Long Island that Chuck D and Eddie Murphy come from: Roosevelt, New York.

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