Updated February 7, 2023 - 10:24 am
Flavor Flav has had quite a life, of this we can agree. Even his ever-present, necklace/timepiece cannot keep pace with the pace-setting hip-hop artist.
So it’s not a small statement when Flav says, “That was one of the greatest times of my life, man. I’m really, just, overwhelmed by it.”
Along with Public Enemy co-founder Chuck D performing “Rebel Without a Pause,” Flav was part of a smoking tribute to the 50th anniversary of hip-hop at Sunday’s Grammy Awards show. Hip-hop royalty over the past five decades performed. Big Boi, Black Thought, Busta Rhymes with Spliff Star, De La Soul, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Missy Elliott, GloRilla, Grandmaster Flash, Ice-T, Lil Baby, The Lox, Method Man, Nelly, Queen Latifah, Rahiem, Rakim, RUN-D.M.C., Salt-N-Pepa, Scarface, Swizz Beatz, and Too $hort all took the stage.
The scene was akin to a celebration of life for departed legend. But it was not that, says the artist , born William Jonathan Drayton Jr.
It was the most incredible feelings, being able to be in a room full of celebs and it was not a funeral,” Flav says, speaking by phone from L.A. just before returning to his home in Las Vegas. “I ain’t gonna lie. Usually when the celebs get together like this, it’s because someone has passed away and we’re seeing him off. But this was a party, and it was blowing up!”
Flav is asked if he ever thought, during the infancy of Public Enemy and of hip-hop itself, if we’d be celebrating the genre in 50 years.
“A lot of people thought that hip-hop would never last this long, you know?” Flav says. “But I’m saying it’s getting even stronger and stronger, stronger every day.”
His favorite collaborator to share the stage with?
“All of them!” Flav says. “All of it!”
Flav has a new single out, “Hands Up In The Air,” which could either be human hands or those on a clock. He’s excited about the recording, and also attending the Super Bowl party hosted by Jim Brown this weekend in Phoenix. Brown befriended a young Flav when Flav first moved to L.A.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer says he needs to drive back to Las Vegas, rather than fly.
“They gave me so much in gift bags, stuff that they gave me from the Grammys, I’ve gotta take this stuff back and there’s no way I’m taking it on a plane,” Flav says. “I said, ‘OK,’ I’ll drive it back. I’ll just put my head down and drive back to Las Vegas!”
As always, Flav’s clock is running fast, as he accelerates to his 64th birthday on March 16. New single. Super Bowl party. Killer performance on a Grammys telecast. Flav is certainly not gearing down.
“Honestly, to tell you the truth, I’ve always had the vision of me doing this, and being able to deliver this job until I go into the ground,” Flav says. “Even when I get to my 80s and 90s, the whole nine, you know? God gave me the strength to do it, baby, and that’s what’s gonna happen!”
Wynn Nightlife is descending on the Super Bowl scene in Phoenix with a quartet of smash parties. Shaq’s Fun House, hosted by DJ Diesel (Shaquille O’Neal’s alter ego) with Snoop Dogg and Diplo is Friday; Gronk’s Beach Fest hosted by the frequently retired Rob Gronkowski with 21 Savage, Diplo and Lil Jon is Saturday, Sports Illustrated: The Party is also Saturday, with the Chainsmokers and Machine Gun Kelly; and Guy Fieri’s Flavortown Tailgate party with Diplo and LoCash is Sunday.
VIP tables are still available at wynnnightlife.com. The hunch is go with Shaq and/or Gronk, budget permitting.
Cool Hang Alert
Jonny Bird is soaring — soaring, I tell you — with his “Rise of the Phoenix” showcase at 6 p.m. (doors), 6:30 p.m. (buffet dinner), 8 p.m. (performance) Wednesday at Italian American Club Showroom. Bird is veteran showman who has performed for years around town, in venues open and otherwise. Very entertaining, energetic and the room rocks. Go to iacvegas.com for intel.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.