FLAVOR FLAV into his own flavor
January 5, 2005
Having a conversation with Flavor Flav is like listening to him rap. Every other word is “baby” or “Flavor Flav.”Perhaps modesty is not his finest virtue, but Flav is still a friendly guy.When asked what to expect from his show Friday at 8150, Flav skipped right to Sunday and said, “I expect everyone to be watching Flavor Flav’s new reality series. I can’t wait. I can’t wait. I can’t wait.””Strange Love” the sequel to Flav’s hit VH1 reality series, “The Surreal Life,” premieres Sunday on VH1.Perfectly comfortable with self-promotion and self-reference in the third person, Flav, at 45 – a driving force behind hip-hop icons Public Enemy – is on a fast fame train toward his very own cloud. And the air waves are in hot pursuit.”I want to show the world that I can hold my own,” said Flav, from a cab in New York earlier this week. “A lot of people want me to collaborate with other people, but if I want to be different and prove to the world that I have my own thing goin’, I have to hold my own weight.”When Chuck D put Public Enemy together and the band released its first album in 1987, Flav was a pillar, helping write a large part of the material and functioning as sidekick vocalist to the notoriously politically charged rap group. Flav tapered off in his involvement in the material on the band’s latter releases, but he and Chuck D have recently been in the studio working on a new Public Enemy album.
Flav, however, has also been busy doing other things.Down with the crowdsHe was a huge player in De La Soul’s recent commercial single, “Come on Down,” which he considers one of his most noteworthy musical accomplishments to date.”First of all, it was an honor to work with (De La Soul),” Flav said. “They are legends and icons of the gang. Honestly, one of my best records is on that album. It’s a dance song.”As to his solo work, the first recording of which will be released around June, Flav said the material is going to appeal to a larger demographic than Public Enemy, whose lyrical content is famous for being geared specifically toward speaking out for impoverished black men in America.”My solo album is universal,” Flav said. “It’s made for all ages, for all races. It’s designed for you to not like everything, but for everybody to like something. The last few Public Enemy albums are rushed. A lot of the music was not decided by Flav. I feel like, if Flav had a bigger contribution, we would have had better record sales.”Flav, who has also been credited for the platinum grill (gold teeth) fad among the hip-hop crowd, and wearing some kind of giant clock around his neck, has made a public resurgence with “The Surreal Life,” which became one of the most popular programs on VH1.
“I’m hoping that ‘Strange Love’ goes above and beyond,” Flav said. “I want to thank most of my fans first of all, for making (“Surreal Life”) the most watched show on VH1. I hope ‘Strange Love’ is as big. I know this is one of the most awaited shows besides ‘Surreal Life 3.’ Right now, everybody and their mama can’t wait until Jan. 9 for that show to come on.”The Flavor showAfter Flav gets his label going, which will be entitled Col-Lampin Records, he will allow musicians from all walks of sound to make an appearance. That said, however, Flav gets the first shot. “I got other acts, but right now I’m going to be the first one,” he said. “I want to be the meat, but I got rock acts, gospel acts, R & B, other rap acts … My label is welcome to everyone in the industry that don’t lash out to people on other labels. If I catch anyone on my label lashing out, I’m not going to have that. I ain’t got no enemies, I don’t want no enemies. Flavor Flav looks for the enemies, he takes those enemies and turns them into friends. I take negatives in life and turn them into positives. I take the enemies and make them into friend-o-mines.”This seems ironic for someone in a band called Public Enemy. Flav says it isn’t. “No, I don’t find it ironic. The main public enemy is a learning lesson for the world,” he said. “It has a lot of good things behind it. Public Enemy stands for the black male in America who’s the lowest on the totem pole. But me, I’m not a politician. Chuck is the politician of the group. I’m the clown … but I get down. And if you swim in my water, you will drown. On my album, I wrote these songs about every day life. I wrote these songs for people that like music, period.” This doesn’t mean that Flav and his Public Enemy band mates won’t keep rapping.
“Me and Chuck D, we’re still one big family,” he said. “We’ve been working on a Public Enemy album. This time, Flavor Flav has more input. I have a feeling, we’re all going to stay the best of friends. Chuck D is always going to be my boy. I think we’re going to make records together until we die.”Although Flav appreciates other musicians, when asked what’s been on his headphones of late, Flav said his ears are picking sound waves off of one track only.”Flavor Flav, that’s what I’ve been listening to,” Flav said. “When I ride around in my car, I listen to Flavor. I love me, me, me. When I ride in other people’s cars and listen to other people’s CD players, I change the CD that’s in and put me in. I want to give the world Flav the way Flav sees himself giving himself to the world.”As to his live show, Flav will be performing with Public Enemy’s DJ Lord, and said that Vail had better keep a close eye on its electricity output tonight.”You know what’s going to happen? You’re gonna watch Flavor Flav set the stage on fire,” Flav said. “There’s going to be so much power, that if the city was ever going to black out, you could plug into Flavor, and the whole city would light back up.”Staff Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 610, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado