Flavor Flav: ‘I’m the Flyest Grandpa a Kid Could Have’

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William Jonathan Drayton -- better known as Flavor Flav -- has experienced a lot in his 52 years. He was a founding member of the groundbreaking '80s rap group Public Enemy, where his flamboyant style and sayings put him on the map as the ultimate "hype man." Although he's been called a "clown" by some critics, it looks like Flavor Flav is the one getting the last laugh. After kicking his addiction to crack cocaine, the rapper found new fame as a reality star, appearing on such shows as "The Surreal Life," "Strange Love" with Brigitte Nielsen, and the original celebrity dating game, "Flavor of Love." Now, he's telling his life story in a book titled Flavor Flav: The Icon, The Memoir, where he reveals that he's "been down some pretty dark holes, but somehow I always found the strength to climb out of them." Omg! got to speak with the clock-wearing star about everything from his battle with drugs to being a grandpa.

OK, I have to ask you this, as I'm sure nobody ever has. What time is it? "Time to get busy, baby! Time to get busy!"

Now that I got that out of my system, tell me about your book. What made you decide you wanted to write a memoir at this stage in your life? "Well, I figured I just got a lot of great things to talk about now. Not only that, but being that I'm alive I might as well tell my story."

The book covers a lot of topics. What do you think will surprise fans most? "They might be surprised to find that I'm an adrenaline junkie. I had a very mischievous teenage life. I used to steal trains and tractors ..."

And that's all true? "It's all true."

You put your mom through a lot, huh? "Yeah, I really did put my mother through a lot. But you know what? I'm glad that I went through all that and I'm glad I lived through all of that because I'm able to tell about it right now."

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I was kind of bummed that your book doesn't include any photos. "I know, I know. I'm saving those photos for book number two. I'm going to put out a Flavor Flav photo album book with my childhood photos, and some of my family and friends."

In your memoir, you openly discuss your drug addiction. What was the moment where you realized you had to turn things around in your life?
"There was a point in my life where I was just really sick and tired of being that way and I really, really wanted the best for myself and in order to get the best for yourself you've got to be focused. Drugs definitely had me out of focus for about 18 years. I'm dead serious. I figure now I'm getting older, and my kids are getting older -- they're adults -- I've got grandchildren now, I may as well knock off the bullsh** and take life more seriously."

Is it weird to think of yourself as a grandfather? "No, I'm proud of it. A lot of guys didn't live to see this, but I did."

What do your grandkids call you? "Grandaddy. [Laughs] I think I'm the flyest grandpa a kid could have!"

You have seven children, but I understand you'd like to have more. What would be the perfect number for you? "Ten. [Laughs] I'm working on it. I want three more. I'm going to go for it!"

Have any of your children shown a talent for music? "Definitely. My oldest three were in the marching band at Roosevelt High School [in Long Island, New York]. They played about five instruments apiece. And my son Karma, he's 4 years old, he's at home in Vegas and he plays a drum set and piano right now."

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According to your bio, you play 15 instruments. Are you honestly good at all 15 of them? "Definitely. I'm really good with all the instruments that I play, but I play all of them by ear. I never took a lesson. I say that was God teaching me. [I used to cut] all my classes and would hang out in the band room."

Why didn't you just sign up for a band class? "I was in the marching band in high school. I played trombone and also drums."

When I was in high school, we used to get ribbed a little bit for being in the band. No one ever made fun of you? "Nah, man. If anything, they praised me!"

So would you encourage your children to follow in your footsteps if they wanted to break into the music business? "Oh, I definitely would encourage them. I've even had my kids onstage with me at some of my shows."

What advice would you give your kids?: "I'd just tell them just to take it slow because it is a fast-paced business, and in order to really be successful with this business you got to take it slow and be focused."

Who are some artists that you like today? "I listen to Drake, Nicki Minaj, my boy Lil Wayne -- everybody got to have some Weezy! But I like a lot of artists making music today. It's just there's no more hip hop music, so me and my partner Chuck D, we're putting together another Public Enemy album, and I'm also putting together a solo album. I'm going to try to keep this hip hop thing alive!"

I understand that you're going on tour with Public Enemy this summer?
"We sure are. We're going to Italy, France, Germany, through the U.K., and Brazil in July. Then when we come back we have some gigs here in the States as well."

Over the years, you've had a lot of ups and downs with the other members of Public Enemy, but yet you're going back on tour with them. "Time goes on, you know what I'm saying? We shouldn't dwell on our past. The best thing to do is to correct the situations and do like 'KIM' -- Keep It Moving. And that's what I've learned to do with my group as well."

You're quite the trendsetter, probably most famous for the signature clock you wear around your neck. How many do you think you own? "I own over a hundred."

Where do you keep them all? "At the archives -- and the archives is my mom's house in Roosevelt Long Island! [Laughs] But the trend that I'm most proud of setting, honestly, is creating a trend of successful [reality] dating shows with 'Flavor of Love.' I set a trend to where Bret Michaels did 'Rock of Love,' and Ray J did 'For the Love of Ray J,' and 'I Love New York.' There are still shows like that on television, and that's a trend that I set, so I'm proud to set that one."

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Would you do another reality show? "Oh, definitely. [My next one] is going to be about my restaurant called FFC -- Flav's Fried Chicken. I'm going to shoot this out of the Riviera Hotel and Casino on the [Las Vegas] Strip. This is going to be like an updated version of 'Happy Days.'"

So what happened with the Flav's Fried Chicken you opened in Iowa? It wasn't in business for very long. "We started out with good momentum, but my boy that built the restaurant, he hired a lot of people off of the street that didn't really have experience to keep it consistent, and in order to survive in the food industry it takes consistency, so I had to shut it down so I could restructure it. I'm going to go back and I'm going to open it up again, but this time with the right hands that are able to run the business and keep it consistent."

On a different note, your bio also says you are an avid bowler? "Oh, definitely! My highest game is 218."

Do you bowl with the clock around your neck? "I sure do. Maybe one day I'll create a TV show about bowling called 'Flavor Flav's Celebrity Bowling.'"

To learn more about Flavor Flav's crazy life -- and get his recipe for Flavor Flav's Famous Mamma Mia Sauce -- pick up a copy of Flavor Flav: The Icon, The Memoir.

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