Two men embracing each other looking at the crowd
Two men embracing each other looking at the crowd
Photo Credit: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

After 35 Years, Chuck D Has Kicked Flavor Flav Out of Public Enemy

In a statement, Chuck D said, "We thank him for his years of service and wish him well.”

The end of an era is here.

After more than 35 years together, Chuck Dhas fired Flavor Flav from Public Enemy. Public Enemy made the announcement in a brief statement, in which they thanked Flav for his service:

“Public Enemy and Public Enemy Radio will be moving forward without Flavor Flav. We thank him for his years of service and wish him well.”

The statement was sent to RollingStone just moments before Public Enemy Radio — which features Chuck D, DJ Lord, Jahi and the S1Ws — was set to perform at Bernie Sanders rally at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

READ:The Secret History of Public Enemy's Yo! Bum Rush the Show

The performance was what started this turn of events. On Friday, Flavor Flav filed a cease and desist order against the Vermont senator’s campaign for the use of the group’s name and likeness in the promo for the rally. In the letter, Flavor Flav’s lawyer Matthew Friedman said Flav hadn’t "endorsed any political candidate” and that they were using Flav's “unauthorized likeness, image and trademarked clock” to promote the rally. (The letter ends with the line: "Bernie, his name is Flavor Flav and he does NOT approve your message!")

READ:In the Summer of 1989 "Fight the Power" Saved Public Enemy & Almost Sank Do the Right Thing

After the letter, Chuck D responded in a statement sent to HipHopDX. The statement was a threat:

Flavor chooses to dance for his money and not do benevolent work like this...He has a year to get his act together and get himself straight or he’s out.

According to Rolling Stone, one of Chuck D's lawyer added more context, saying: 

From a legal standpoint, Chuck could perform as Public Enemy if he ever wanted to; he is the sole owner of the Public Enemy trademark. He originally drew the logo himself in the mid-80s, is also the creative visionary and the group’s primary songwriter, having written Flavor’s most memorable lines.

Chuck D and Flavor Flav have had tension for years. In 2017, Flav filed suit against Eastlink (run by The Bomb Squad’s Gary “G-Wiz” Rinaldo,) and Bring The Noise (Chuck’s own company,) for missing payments related to merch and album sales. The suit was dismissed last year.

Even with all the drama, Public Enemy Radio was still able to perform at the Bernie Sanders rally on Sunday evening. According to TheDailyBeast, Public Enemy did a 30-minute set where they performed iconic Public Enemy songs like “Fight the Power,” “Bring the Noise,” and  “Black Steel in the Age of Chaos.” During the set Chuck gave his support for Sanders while talking about the importance of voting:

Voting is as important as washing your ass in the morning...Some people say you don’t have to wash. Well, you don’t. But then don’t go telling everybody how it stinks out here.

Super Tuesday — a day where a third of all delegates will be given out — is on Tuesday. And, for the first time ever, California will be participating. (Sanders currently holds a healthy lead over his Democratic rivals in the state.)

After the rally Chuck went to Twitter to give more thoughts about the situation with Flav. Chuck D said that Flav will only do performances for "a bag," which is why he started Public Enemy Radio. (He referenced a Harry Belafonte festival in 2016.) 

On Monday afternoon Flavor Flav responded to the news of his firing on social media. He sent out a string of tweets toward Chuck D. Flav sounded surprised, saying "You wanna destroy something we've built over 35 years over politics?" Flav also denied that he was on drugs.

After Flavor Flav's tweets, Chuck D released an official statement explaining why he kicked Flav out of the group. Chuck said he had been on suspension since 2016 when Flav missed the Harry Belafonte benefit in Atlanta and that Flav has "always chose to party over work." Chuck stressed that it wasn't over differing political views.

Check out the full statement below.

Chuck D and Flavor Flav met in the mid-1980s while at Long Island's Adelphi University. From there, the two, alongside Terminator X, Bomb Squad, and Professor Griff, would create some of the most iconic rap albums of all time, including It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back and Fear of a Black Planet.