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Flavor Flav

Flavor Flav performing live at BBQ Beats, Riverstage Brisbane Australia on 1 January 2009.
Background information
Birth name William Jonathan Drayton, Jr.
Also known as Flav
MC DJ Flavor Flav.
Born March 16, 1959 (1959-03-16) (age 50)[1]
Origin Roosevelt, Long Island, New York, United States
Genres Hip-hop
Occupations Rapper, Reality television star
Instruments vocals, Piano, Guitar, Bass, Saxophone, Clarinet, drums, Triangle[2]
Years active 1982 - present
Associated acts Public Enemy
Chuck D
Professor Griff
DJ Lord
Terminator X
Sister Souljah

William Jonathan Drayton Jr. (born March 16, 1959), better known by his stage name Flavor Flav, is an American rapper, television star, and member of the rap group Public Enemy. [3] He is also known for popularizing the role of the hype man[4] and for yelling "Yeah boy!" and "Flavor Flav!" during performances.[3][5]

After falling out of the public eye for a number of years, he has recently reappeared as the star of several VH1 reality series, including The Surreal Life, Strange Love, and Flavor of Love.


Personal life

Flav grew up in Freeport, Long Island with parents William Sr. and Angie Drayton. His father owned a greasy spoon called the Soul Diner.[6] Flav began playing the piano at age five; he claims to be self-taught.[7] A musical prodigy, he sang in the youth choir at his church and mastered the piano, drums, and guitar at an early age.[6] He eventually became proficient in 15 instruments.[5] His childhood included legal trouble: He set a house on fire as a small child while playing with a lighter and, by the time he dropped out of school in the 11th grade, he had been in and out of jail for robbery and burglary.[6]

He attended Adelphi University in Long Island where he met Carlton Ridenhour, who would become known as Chuck D.[3] Flavor Flav took his stage name after his graffiti tag.[5] They first collaborated on Chuck D's hip-hop college radio show, then began rapping together. The two worked for Chuck D's father's delivery service.[6]

By the 1990s, Flav had become a drug addict. In 1991, he pled guilty to assaulting his then-girlfriend Karen Ross and he served 30 days in jail, lost custody of his children, and sank deeper into addiction.[6] Two years later, he was charged with attempted murder and imprisoned for 90 days for shooting at his neighbor in 1993.[5] He was later charged with domestic violence, cocaine and marijuana charges; his family performed an intervention and he checked into the Betty Ford Center for crack addiction.[5][6]

After leaving the clinic, Flav began dating Angie Parker, with whom he has three more children. However, due to his previous erratic behavior, Public Enemy had temporarily stopped performing and, without anything else to do, he found himself back in addiction. After his father died of diabetes in 1997 he decided to re-enter rehabilitation, this time at the Long Island Center for Recovery. At one point, he broke both arms in a motorcycle crash.[5] After leaving the clinic, he began dating Beverly Johnson, and by 2000, he lived in a small apartment in the Bronx with her and her two kids from a previous marriage while making extra cash scalping baseball tickets.[6] In 2002, he spent nine weeks in Rikers Island prison for driving with a suspended license, numerous parking tickets and showing up late for his probation officer.[5]

Following his release from prison, he broke up with Johnson and moved in with his mom on Long Island. Chuck D became concerned about his friend's well-being and, towards the end of 2003, suggested Flav move to Los Angeles. He moved into his friend Princess' apartment and within months met Cris Abrego and Mark Cronin, the creators and executive producers of The Surreal Life, who had tracked him down as soon as they heard he had moved to Los Angeles. Seeing that he had remained clean from his previous addictions, they wanted to cast him. Initially Flav refused, feeling the show was for celebrities past their fame. He was eventually convinced to join by previous participant MC Hammer.[6]


Flav has seven children. Their names are Shaniq, Karen, Designa, Kwan, William, Kayla, and Karma. He also has two grandchildren, Brianna and Matthew. Both grandchildren belong to his daughter Shaniq.[8] Three of his children were with ex-girlfriend Karen Ross, three children were with Angie Parker, and one child was with another former girlfriend.[9] His latest child, a boy named Karma, was born in January 2007 to his fiancée Liz.[10][11] Flav was also once married to a woman named Beverly.[12]



Flavor Flav performing at the Bilbao Urban Musikaldia, Vista Alegre bullring on October 8, 2006.

Flavor Flav came to prominence as a founding member of the rap group Public Enemy. In 1984, the group released a track, "Public Enemy #1", which brought them to the attention of Def Jam Records executive Rick Rubin. Rubin initially did not understand Flav's clowning and wanted to sign Chuck D as a solo act; however Chuck D insisted that Flav be signed with them and the two were signed to Def Jam in 1986.[7] The group's first album, Yo! Bum Rush the Show, was released in 1987. Flav served as the comic foil to Chuck D's serious, politically charged style.[6] The group gained much wider fame with their following release, 1988's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, which went double platinum. By the time the political single "Fight the Power" was issued in 1989, the group had become mainstream superstars. Along with Chuck D, the showman of the group and its promotional voice, Flav stood out among the members of Public Enemy as he often got the fans hyped, appearing on stage and in public wearing big hats and glasses and a large clock dangling from his neck.

The first released track on which Flav rapped solo was "Too Much Posse" on Yo! Bum Rush the Show, though the first hit on which he rapped solo would not come until the 1990s single "911 is a Joke". During Public Enemy's first years of existence, Flav dealt with tensions with group-mate Professor Griff, who never liked Flav's flamboyant stance in what Griff felt to be a serious, politically-challenging group. In 1990, after allegedly making anti-Semitic comments, Professor Griff left Public Enemy.

In 2006, Flav put out his self-titled first solo album. It was released during the second season of Flavor of Love.


The Surreal Life

After a hiatus from the music scene, Flavor Flav was invited to participate on VH1 reality show The Surreal Life. During this show, he developed a relationship with Brigitte Nielsen.

Strange Love

Following the conclusion of The Surreal Life, VH1 gave Flav and Brigitte a show titled Strange Love, which detailed their globetrotting adventure in love. At the end of Strange Love Brigitte decided to return to her fiancé, Mattia Dessi

Flavor of Love

Flavor of Love, which aired for three seasons, is a reality show where Flavor Flav looks for love. The show's success led to spin-offs titled I Love New York and I Love Money. It was revealed in the third season reunion show that Flav met a woman, not from the show, after taping had concluded. He proposed to her on air during the special. The two have a son together.[5]

Comedy Central Roast

The Comedy Central roast of Flavor Flav aired on August 12, 2007.[13] Guests appearing at the roast: Snoop Dogg, Brigitte Nielsen, Jimmy Kimmel, Carrot Top, Lisa Lampanelli, Ice T, Jeff Ross, Katt Williams, Patton Oswalt, Greg Giraldo, and Sommore.

Under One Roof (2008 TV series)

Flav played Calvester Hill on the MyNetworkTV comedy Under One Roof starring alongside Kelly Perine.

Other TV and media appearances


With Public Enemy
Solo albums
Guest appearances


  1. ^ Ankeny, Jason. ""Flavor Flav: Biography"". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-03-05.  
  2. ^ Un-J (October 4, 2006). "Chuck D. Interview". Retrieved 2006-10-28.  
  3. ^ a b c Marijke Rowland, Flavor Flav's Modesto block party, The Modesto Bee, August 22, 2008, Accessed January 13, 2009.
  4. ^ Hess, Mickey, 2007, Icons of Hip Hop: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture, Greenwood Publishing Group, p. 176.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Johnny Davis, Hip-hop, you don't stop, The Guardian, June 18, 2006, Accessed January 13, 2009.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Margeaux Watson, Flavor Flav: Totally Cuckoo?, Entertainment Weekly, Accessed January 13, 2009.
  7. ^ a b Mike Hughes, Flavor Flav, sitcom-style, Gannett News Service, April 15, 2008, Accessed January 13, 2009.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Flavor Fav and newborn 7th kid in Hawaii
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Comedy Central Press Release - Roast of Flavor Flav
  14. ^ Westchester Emergency Volunteer Reserves-Medical Reserves Corps (WEVR-MRC)
  15. ^ Blogcritics Magazine - Flavor Flav Celebrates National Safety Month
  16. ^ Lisa Tolliver show notes blog
  17. ^ Lisa Tolliver's Blog
  18. ^ Deon Taylor Poised to Spread Some Holiday Fear with Dark Christmas

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

William Jonathan Drayton, Jr. (born March 16, 1959) known by his stage name Flavor Flav is an American rapper, television star, hype man, and member of the politically conscious hip hop group Public Enemy. Flavor Flav's visual trademark is an oversized clock hanging from his neck. After falling out of the public eye in former years, he has recently reappeared as a star of American reality television. He has starred in multiple VH1 programs, including Flavor of Love, and the 2007 Comedy Central Roast. Contrary to his image as a buffoon, he is a classically trained pianist.


  • Yeah boyeee!
    • Catch phrase, often delivered with comic timing; recounted in Rickey Vincent, Funk: The Music, the People, and the Rhythm of the One (1996), p. 309. Alternately reported by other sources with spelling variations.
  • Well let me tell you something, I can't be nobody but myself. Ya know what I'm saying? The thing that makes the world love Flav is Flav being himself. So honestly man, to tell you the truth: it was not hard to be myself. It was real easy.
  • Well let me tell you like this, the rap scene right now has taken its own course and its own direction because you have so many rap records of all different calibers coming out. And me, I favor everybody, I like everybody and the reason why is because I want everyone to Favor Flav. If I favor one certain rapper or one certain singer then only one certain singer/rappers are going to favor Flav. So me, I'm just a friendly ghost and not only that I'm a musician. I like all kinds of music. And everybody making records right now is definitely respected by Flav and for all you new comers just starting to make records: welcome aboard.


  • The simple reason why we work together is just the contrast in our voices. People try to come up with intellectual reasons for 'the noise' and it ain't nothing intellectual. We was just making BAU tapes and needed voices to cut through that shit. Flavor got a powerful trebly voice, with cut. I got some bass with treble and pitch, which also cuts. So you put me and Flavor together and it's basically like Bobby Bird and James Brown — Everybody over here? Get on Up! The Bird/Brown combination set off everything.
    • Chuck D., quoted by Robert Marriott, "The Resurrection of the Jester King", The Source, August, 1994. p. 76.
  • What was crucial to the partnership, it should be noted, is that Flavor Flav was a clown — in the tradition of the best black comics — yet he was a clown with consciousness, empowered with knowledge of self, an entirely different persona from the "Stepin Fetchit" and "Sambo" stereotypes of subservient and uncouth black Americans. Flavor Flav was and is a fool, but a fool on a mission. On the cover of Nation of Millions, he wears a gigantic clock as a medallion — a preposterous getup — yet it is designed to illustrate, through a comic medium, that time is indeed running out.
    • Rickey Vincent, Funk: The Music, the People, and the Rhythm of the One (1996), p. 309.

External links

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Simple English

William Jonathan Drayton Jr. (born March 16, 1959), known by the stage name Flavor Flav, is an American rap artist and television star, and a member of the hip hop group Public Enemy, who rapped about politics. After several years of quiet, he has been seen again lately as a star of American reality television. He has starred in some VH1 programs, most recently the Flavor of Love series.

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