The public feud between Flavor Flav and Chuck D reached a boiling point in early March when Public Enemy announced that Flav was fired from the group. As it turns out, the whole dust-up appears to have been an elaborate April Fools ruse to help promote a new album from Chuck’s project Enemy Radio. Loud Is Not Enough is out now (listen below), and it features a single with both Chuck and Flav called “Food as a Machine Gun.”
In an interview with Talib Kweli on the Uproxx podcast People’s Party (recorded on March 10), Chuck said he was inspired by Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds hoax. He outlined some recent discussions with Flav about public opinion of both men. “We felt that over the past few years, Flavor’s stock was low,” Chuck said. “Anybody that could take a shot at him could get a good shot at him.” Meanwhile, Chuck said that his own stock had been on the rise due to Prophets of Rage’s success. Chuck then described how he and Flav apparently created a public breakup narrative while collaborating on new music and staying in contact behind the scenes. Watch the interview excerpt below.
To recap, here’s how it played out in the public eye: After it was announced that Public Enemy Radio (an offshoot group comprised of Chuck D, DJ Lord, Jahi and the S1Ws) would play a Bernie Sanders rally in Los Angeles on March 1, Flav issued a cease and desist letter to the Bernie Sanders campaign alleging that his likeness was used without his permission. Public Enemy released a statement announcing that Flav was fired, and Flav responded by criticizing Chuck on social media.
Chuck implied that media coverage of this back-and-forth was part of their plan:
We already talked about this beforehand. Public Enemy Radio went up [at the Bernie Sanders rally]. His lawyer sent out a cease and desist. I’m like, “Good move.” Then, publicly: “Man, you don’t fuckin’ sue me again.” He ain’t suin’ me. But I can say it! If the public is confused about this, that, whatever—they’re gonna be confused about what’s a lawsuit and what’s not. “Yo, man, you suing me again publicly? Boom. Fuck that. You’re fired dude. This is my last thing with you.” OK. We knew what was gonna come. I’m not sayin’ it’s a hoax, I’m sayin’ that the original intention is to get your attention and not play attention, but get you to pay attention.
When asked about Flav’s status in the group, Chuck confirmed that Flav can’t be fired from Public Enemy. “He can’t, he’s a partner. You can’t fire partners. You just walk away from ’em.” Chuck said that he and Flav had been working on a new Public Enemy Radio album since the end of February. “There’s a select few that do know—that I had to let know—that me and Flav have been better than ever.”
“We takin’ April Fools,” Chuck said. “We takin’ it over. It’s April Flav Chuck Day.”
Along with the release of the new song and album, Chuck released a statement further explaining the hoax. “Does it take doing crazy sht or catastrophe to wake people up,” he wrote. “Obviously so, even when paying attention is the cheapest price to pay.”
During an interview on SirusXM’s Feedback show, Chuck D reiterated that his feuds with Flavor Flav were orchestrated. He also said that Flavor Flav is producing music for a new Public Enemy record that Chuck says will arrive in June. Hear the interview below.
Following Chuck D’s interviews, Flavor Flav tweeted that he actually was not privy to Chuck’s hoax. “There are more serious things in the world right now than April Fool’s jokes and dropping records,” he wrote. Find the tweet below.
This article was originally published on Tuesday, March 31 at 11:00 p.m. Eastern. It was last updated on Wednesday, April 1 at 4:32 p.m. Eastern.
Originally Appeared on Pitchfork