While Flavor Flav may have become an object of ridicule through
cable televisions last five years of programming, we, as a Hip-Hop
journalists, cant help but roast the man for his merits.
Its arguable that no hype-man in Hip-Hop history has done more.
Flav, who with one late-released solo album, has always played an
integral part within iconic Public Enemy throughout their 20 glorious
years of recording, performing, and continuously educating. Perhaps
Flav was merely a foil of comic relief to Chuck D and the Bomb Squads
organized chaos of politics, social commentary, and hard truth. Perhaps
equally, Flav was staged to be a court jester, as Professor Griff
played shogun, and Terminator X (and today DJ Lord) played trumpeter
within King Chuck Ds conscious court. But Flav could keep his comedic
cape lined with ghetto dispatches as well. After all, for folk trying
to survive in the inner city jungle, 911 Is a Joke hit home. This
Sunday on Comedy Central, well see Flav wear these hatspresumably along with a Viking
helmet, as he will endure the kind of jeering that Martin Lawrence
opened up 15 years ago on Def Comedy Jam.
Flavor Flav has lovingly played that part. But was there something
greater at play? Firstly, we dont discount Flavs lyrical abilities.
On every P.E. album, the ad-lib general was given his moment in the
sun. 1998s Shake Your Booty was the comic relief of the
criminally-slept-on He Got Game soundtrack/album needed. Just
as gangsters search for a heartfelt break in the machismo, Public Enemy
always instilled Flavor to let audiences come up for air, let the blood
flow back into their fists, and smile amidst the militant musical
massacres that we all know and love.
Too Much Posse, remains another Flav jewel within the P.E.
catalogue. This 1987 hit allowed Flavor, as a resonant voice of the
group, to proclaim just how deep the outfit mobbed, with his extensive
presence on the track. The role was always defined, and carefully
executed. Unlike Bushwick Bills undependable role within the Geto
Boys, Public Enemy without Flavor Flav is a force of another color. He
was never exploited within the group, added and subtracted for
commercial purposes William Drayton, Jr. was an essential component
within Hip-Hops greatest group.
That name, (W. Drayton) appears in the countless times P.E. has
been sampled and interpolated. Although Flav wasnt technically part of
The Bomb Squad, and he wasnt penning the verses that molded our
consciousness, he wasand isa valued member of the group. So while the
New York (the chick, not the city), Red Sonja and fried chicken gags
fly, it will be easy to get caught up in viewing Flav with celeb-reality blinders and
only seeing tragic caricature. But really, dont believe the hype.