On this day in Hip Hop history, we celebrate the birthday of one of rap’s most recognizable and unique personalities. William Jonathan Drayton Jr., better known as Flavor Flav, was born today in Roosevelt, New York 57 years ago.
Known as one of the most prolific hypemen in Hip Hop, Flavor Flav is a pure entertainer. Even after his illustrious career with the legendary rap group Public Enemy, Flavor Flav has been able to hold his place in the hearts of the American public through his stint as a reality TV star on his infamous show, Flavor of Love.
Flav made a name for himself as a founding member of the politically charged New York rap group Public Enemy. In 1984, the group released the single “Public Enemy #1,” which grabbed the attention of Def Jam and landed the group a major record deal. During the group’s career, Flav served as a comedic foil to the radically political Chuck D, who was the group’s frontman and lead emcee. Flav released his only solo album, Hollywood, in 2006 during the second season of Flavor of Love.
Apart from music, Flavor Flav has had a successful career as a television personality. He was invited to participate in VH1’s The Surreal Life season three and from there, a new star was born. His time on The Surreal Life opened an opportunity for him to have his own show, Strange Love, with actress Brigitte Neilsen. This show was a continuation of the romantic relationship the two forged as cast-mates on The Surreal Life. Following the conclusion of Strange Love, Flav was given his third program called Flavor of Love. The show lasted three seasons and is, in a small way, of the reasons for current pop culture’s obsession with reality TV. Flav also appeared in a few movies and made guest appearances on other shows.
Flavor Flav’s career is one of the more unique ones in Hip Hop. Nevertheless, his cultural influenc helped to add to Hip Hop’s development and crossover appeal. He was one of the first rappers from his generation to actively appear on TV so late after his career and, by doing so, was able to give Public Enemy (and an entire era of music) a wider fanbase in a new generation. Today, we wish Flavor Flav a happy born day. May you see many more years of success.