It’s been a weird month for Public Enemy. After an offshoot featuring Chuck D, DJ Lord, Jahi, and the S1Ws called Public Enemy Radio played a Bernie Sanders rally, Flavor Flav filed a cease and desist. That led to his public firing from the band, a move which Chuck D later claimed was an April Fools’ Joke. It’s all culminated in this: Public Enemy Radio have released their new album, Loud Is Not Enough, which features Flavor Flav on lead single — despite Flav saying he wasn’t part of any hoax.
First, the album: Loud Is Not Enough is 10 reggae-inspired tracks that Chuck D said pay homage to Bob Marley, “toasting from Jamaica.” As the frontman explained to HipHopDX,
“There’s a lot of people pumping up the volume without saying shit. When style has been over substance for far too long, especially if you 30 and over and you’re spitting man, it’s like, ‘Yo man, really?’ This is about entertainment. I come from a time when there was better entertainers — from Bob Marley to Gladys Knight and the Pips. They were better entertainers, better songwriters, gave better performances. They said some shit that made you think that you could sit with the rest of your life. Now, it’s like you got a voice that tells me you can rap, it doesn’t mean you can be heard. You’ve got to say the most outlandish, stupid shit to get noticed.”
“Food as a Machine Gun” serves as the lead single, dropping with a lyric video on Tuesday. As Chuck spits bars criticizing the American food industry and how the “EPA is a gang,” Flavor comes in on background vocals saying, “Eat it up, eat it up/ They eat it, they don’t need it.” He has a few more ad-libs throughout, but the fact that he’s here at all is fairly surprising.
Responding to Chuck calling his firing “the hoax that ain’t no joke,” Flavor Flav tweeted, “I am not a part of your hoax . @mrchuckd ,,,there are more serious things in the world right now than April Fool’s jokes and dropping records.” He then directed people to donate to MusiCares’ COVID-19 relief fund.
I am not a part of your hoax .@mrchuckd,,,there are more serious things in the world right now than April Fool's jokes and dropping records,,,the world needs better than this,,,you say we are leaders so act like one,,,donate to those in need here: https://t.co/7hioasSwuV
— FLAVOR FLAV (@FlavorFlav) April 1, 2020
In his somewhat winding interview with HipHopDX, Chuck D tried to explain how he’d concocted the whole firing of Flavor Flav as a War of the Worlds-inspired hoax meant as a critique of how “if people get a bad look, they get elevated every time.” Apparently, Chuck actually agreed with Flav’s anger that Sanders’ people were advertising the group’s rally appearance as “Public Enemy,” when they’d specifically created “Public Enemy Radio” to avoid these sort of conflicts and do charity events. But because Flav had blasted PE publicly, Chuck shot back with the firing.
However, he never actually told Flav (hence the above tweet). Still, he says all the fallout was what he had predicted would happen, and he’d even been documenting it. “I’ve made an illustrated diary from February all the way up to April 1 and it’s called There’s A Poison Going On,” he revealed, “and it’s 100 illustrated pictures of what I’ve done since the Bernie Sanders rally. You can’t come up with an illustrated fucking book in two weeks.”
According to the HipHopDX interview, Flavor Flav and Chuck D are actually fine and in fact are working on a new Public Enemy record slated for June.
Reading between the lines here, it looks like the whole “Flavor Flav was fired” thing was a three-pronged fake out: One, it taught Flav a lesson for acting rashly against his Public Enemy brethren. Two, it taught the public a lesson (maybe?) for only focusing on nasty news story. And perhaps most importantly three, it gave some publicity to Public Enemy Radio’s Loud Is Not Enough, which you can stream below.