Flavor Flav has been making noise since the 1980s when he hooked up with Chuck D and became the official hype man for Public Enemy. Over the last decade; however, he’s become a household name following his television debut on the third season of VH1’s The Surreal Life. Capitalizing on his “acting skills,” Flav embarked on a reality TV takeover with Strange Love (featuring his former significant other, Bridgette Nelson) in 2005, which launched vh1’s decade of urban love reality shows, starting with Flav’s own Flavor of Love in 2006.
But holding down a show for three seasons at the No. 1 spot sometimes isn’t always enough. After fighting an 18-year drug addiction, being accused of taking on the role of a deadbeat dad, getting arrested for tax evasion, and forced to shut down a restaurant after four months of operation, the supped-up hype man decided to write a memoir, Flavor Flav: The Icon The Memoir, released on June 1, about his trials and tribulations. WWWWWOOOOOWWWWW! —Amber McKynzie
XXL: Let’s talk about your memoir. How long has the book been in the works and what made you want to make it?
Flavor Flav: The book has been in the works for the past six or seven months. I decided to write the book because I got some different business ventures going right now [and] I’m still touring with Public Enemy. You know life isn’t promised to us. The only thing promised to us in life is that we’re gonna die someday. So, while I’m living and I still have the chance and while I still have the strength, [I’ma say] interesting stuff that people probably wanna hear.
So what are some of the topics you touch on in your book?
I touch on my childhood, my current life as an entertainer, how I got my name, my struggles that I had with drugs, being in and out of jail and having gun charges. I touch on a lot. I touch on a lot of business ventures that I’m in as well, nah mean?
Can you give us a preview of what exactly you touch on as far as your drug addiction goes?
I [was] a drug addict for 18 years; only six years clean. The worst mistake I ever made was experimenting with drugs. I was always more of a follower instead of a leader. Being around the hood, you’re following, you always wanna have a big name for yourself and you don’t wanna be no punk. Whatever my friends were doing I chose to do. It was the worst experiment that I could do in my life, but would I change it to this day? No. The reason why is because I got to learn about addiction. I got to live through all of that, so that way I could be able to teach about it and hopefully people learn how I made my mistakes and they [don’t] make the same mistakes that I made.
What finally made you stop?
Me wanting a better life for myself; me wanting to have a longer life for myself. I wanted to have a TV and movie career, and if I wanted to be successful it [couldn’t] involve drugs, ’cause drugs don’t spell out success. It spells out destruction.
How did you get into television and how did you get your show, Flavor of Love, on VH1?
My boy was an editor for Fox 5 and he was an editor for Steve Harvey’s Big Time. He took me to Steve Harvey’s show and ever since I was seen on the camera at Steve Harvey’s show the next thing you know Bernie Mac people gave me a call and they want me to do a guest appearance on his show. Once I got out and did Surreal Life 3 it was a wrap. [That] turned into Strange Love with Bridgette Nelson. That turned into the Flavor of Love for three seasons.
Let’s talk about Flavor of Love. Were you ever really looking for love?
Put it this way. I’m an entertainer, and my job is to entertain. Not only that, but I don’t like hurting people’s feelings. You know it’s bad karma when you hurt people’s feelings. I had to be careful of the girls’ feelings that were really, really, really there for me. The ones that I knew were not there for me were the ones that I kept… [And] If anybody got it in, your boy Flavor Flav got it in.
What was your favorite part of the show?
Getting to meet all them girls and then giving them the nicknames. That was my favorite part.
Are you still in contact with any of them?
Nah I don’t speak to any of them. I haven’t heard from any of them in a long time. But I’ve heard that there a few of them out there still doing good, and I’m proud of them.
What did you think about the girl that defecated on the stairs?
The girl that shitted on the stairs, that should be called Sumthin’. I ain’t gonna lie it was kind of crazy. Sumthin’ was real cool and everything, but that’s what happens when a woman drinks all day and can’t hold her food in her system. I mean how much shit can a thong hold?
That was a great episode [Laughs].
It was a crazy episode, man. It’s one of the most memorable episodes. Everybody asks about that. After she did that I still kept her around and I gave her a chance to show everybody in the world that accidents happen, and you don’t condemn people for their accidents.
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