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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Oh cool, Flavor Flav's split from Public Enemy was just an elaborate hoax

Illustration for article titled Oh cool, Flavor Flav's split from Public Enemy was just an elaborate hoax
Photo: Rick Kern (Getty Images)

While we can all agree that this is just not the year for April Fool’s shenanigans, it looks like we’re still in for some residual (and in some cases, wildly inappropriate) hijinks. In the case of Public Enemy duo Chuck D and Flavor Flav, the seeds of foolery were planted last month during what appeared to be a spat over Chuck D’s use of the Public Enemy name to endorse Bernie Sanders. It spawned a public, highly unsolicited back and forth between the two legendary hip-hop mainstays as they debated ownership of the group’s overall image and Flav’s long-standing personal policy of not doing political events. All of this seemingly came to a climax when Chuck D announced Flavor Flav’s departure from the group. Like a majority of other outlets, we covered it all in earnest.


But none of that matters now because according to Chuck D himself, “firing” Flavor Flav was just a “War Of The Worlds inspired hoax” to teach a lesson about “social media-driven disinformation.” Here’s his explanation of how the “lesson” came to be, which he revealed in a statement:

“I had watched Orson Welles’ ‘War Of The Worlds’ from 1938 when he pulled the wool over the public’s eyes as they put 100% belief in the technology of radio. Most people followed like a Pavlovic dog just like they do now. Flav doesn’t do benefits and stays away from political events - we been cool and always agreed about that. Enemy Radio was built for that reason, to be a DJ+MC auxiliary unit of Public Enemy, a no-slack homage tossback to DJ+MC roots. It is DJ Lord, myself and Jahi with the S1Ws. Hearing the confused mush of political talk while under the bowels of Trumpotus made me use a presidential stage as my platform. Out of this storm came a plan between Flav and me to remind people that what’s important should have as much, if not more, value than just what’s popular. Thus came the HOAX, our ‘War Of The Worlds.’ Believe half of what you hear and NONE of what you see.”

It all happens to align with the release of a debut album from Enemy Radio—an auxiliary arm of Public Enemy featuring Chuck D, DJ Lord, Jahi and the S1Ws—titled Loud Is Not Enough. The album includes a leading track, “Food Is A Machine Gun,” featuring a reunited Chuck D and Flav. But, uh, don’t call it a marketing ploy: Chuck D insisted during an interview with Tim Einenkel that this was a weird waste of everyone’s time “teachable moment” while discussing the real cease and desist letter from Flav’s lawyer regarding the use of the name “Public Enemy Radio” during the Sanders concert. “I know that hit a sore spot,” he said, “and then came the cease and desist letter, and I counteracted ... The bottom line was a plan to turn this into a teachable moment.” Flavor Flav has yet to comment on the ordeal.

So the lesson here is, try not to believe the lies, even when they are fed to you repeatedly from a platform that bases its identity on speaking truth to power.