It’s officially the end of an era. After three decades, the iconic hip-hop group known as Public Enemy confirmed it would be “moving forward” without Flavor Flav—the group’s longtime hype man and breakout reality star of Flavor of Love fame.
Ahead of the split, Flav came out publicly slamming Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and former bandmate Chuck D, claiming that the campaign is using his old group’s name for an endorsement on which he didn’t sign off.
On Friday, Flavor Flav, whose birth name is William Drayton, had his lawyer send a letter to the Sanders campaign, alleging that the political rally performance would use Flav’s “unauthorized likeness” and “image” for promotion purposes.
“While Chuck is certainly free to express his political view as he sees fit—his voice alone does not speak for Public Enemy. The planned performance will only be Chuck D of Public Enemy, it will not be a performance by Public Enemy. Those who truly know what Public Enemy stands for know what time it is, there is no Public Enemy without Flavor Flav,” the letter read.
“Don’t Believe The Hype!” the letter concluded.
In a post to Twitter early Monday morning, Chuck D wrote that he had appeared at the Sanders rally on Sunday night. He added that if a “$bag,” or payment, had been involved, “Flav would’ve been there front & center.” His former partner, he added, “will NOT do free benefit shows.”
On Twitter, Chuck D also claimed that he had built the group Public Enemy Radio to perform Public Enemy’s material at “benefits & fundraisers.”
Flav continued to push back on Chuck D’s claims Monday, writing on Twitter: “@MrChuckD are you kidding me right now???,,,over Bernie Sanders??? You wanna destroy something we’ve built over 35 years OVER POLITICS???,,,all because I don’t wanna endorse a candidate,,,I’m very disappointed in you and your decisions right now Chuck.”
The rapper added the he “didn’t sue” Chuck D last week, but instead asked Sanders’ campaign to “correct misleading marketing,,,that’s all it was,,,I’m not your employee,,,i’m your partner,,,you can’t fire me,,,there is no Public Enemy without Flavor Flav,,,so let’s get it right Chuck.”
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, the frontrunner for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, has already won the primaries in Iowa, Nevada and New Hampshire, though former Vice President Joe Biden took it home in South Carolina last week.
But the back and forth continued Monday night with Public Enemy releasing an open letter, obtained by ESSENCE.
It read in part that Flav wasn’t kicked out of the group due to this recent dust up. Instead, he’s been “on suspension” since 2016 for “previously missed” live shows along with “album recording sessions and photo shoots.”
“He always chose to party over work,” the group added, noting that his recent appearance on Growing Up Hip Hop featured a scene where his children urged him to go to rehab. “It’s time to move on and everyone wishes Flavor well.”
But Flavor wouldn’t let the group have the last word. He volleyed the ball back on Twitter, writing: “Also @MrChuckD,,,i’m not on drugs like you’re saying and have been clean for 10 years,,,i have battled addiction before and like millions of other Americans I know the massive toll it takes,,,Chuck you know better than to lie about shit like that.”