and The Flavortronz
Wednesday, Apr 02, 2014 8:30 PM EDT
Iridium, New York, NY
Flavor Flav emerged in the late '80s as the humorous hypeman of Public Enemy and then reinvented himself in the 2000s thanks to VH1's reality series The Surreal Life. Raised in Freeport, Long Island, he was a self-taught prodigy on the piano but petty theft and burglary charges meant his teen years were spent dodging the department of corrections. After dropping out of high school in his junior year, music came back into Flav's life when he began hosting a college radio program with Carlton Douglas Ridenhour, the man who would soon become Chuck D. With DJ Terminator X and squad leaderProfessor Griff they would form Public Enemy, a group that in 1987 would change rap forever when its debut album, Yo! Bum Rush the Show, was released on the Def Jam label. With "stunna shades" hiding his eyes and over-sized clocks hanging off his neck, Flavor Flav played court jester to the stern and cold Chuck D. It was a formula that would work for the next 20-plus years, withFlavor occasionally becoming the center of attention with tracks like "Too Much Posse," "911 Is a Joke," "Can't Do Nuttin' for Ya Man," and "Cold Lampin' with Flavor."