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Hip-hop's most famous hype man, Flavor Flav, knows the value of time.
The reality star, author, and member of 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Public Enemy has been wearing a dinner-plate-sized clock around his neck since 1987.
The comical artist, whose birth name is William Drayton Jr., made the timepiece one of music's funniest fashion statements. But there's actually a deeper meaning behind it.
Flavor Flav, who gave clocks to the top candidates during the three seasons of his dating show, "Flavor of Love," explained the origins of his unusual necklace during a 1994 MTV interview: "Before I started out wearing these clocks, we started off with little stopwatches, and one day I just wanted to do something out of the ordinary," he said during an interview with the cable channel.
A friend, rapper Son of Bazerk, dared him to replace the stopwatch with an actual clock, and he tried it. "It was looking crazy, but I liked it," he said. Public Enemy frontman Chuck D wore a clock for a brief stint, too, but it became a staple for Flavor. He told Vanity Fair that he owns more than 100 timekeepers.
Flavor said the clock joke eventually served a more serious purpose.
"The reason why I wear this clock is because it represents time being the most important element in our life," he said. "Time can't afford to be wasted, but not only that, but God only gave us one life. Each minute we live, we got to live each second to our best value. Time brought us up in here, and time can also take us out."
Even though Flavor often seems aloof, his accessory is a reminder that he is actually quite aware. "I always say, 'I'm clockin', I'm clockin'.' That means I'm paying attention, so you can't get fast on me because I know what time it is."
On Thursday, Public Enemy will become the fourth rap group to be inducted into the Rock and Hall of Fame, following Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Run-D.M.C., and the Beastie Boys. The oft-arrested Flavor originally had conflicting court date in Las Vegas for allegedly threatening his fiancé's son with a butcher knife, but the judge agreed to change the date.