Flavor Flav is getting real about just how destructive drug addiction was in his life.
The Public Enemy founding member sat down with DJ Akademiks late last week for the Off The Record podcast. During the pair’s interesting long form chat, the 63-year-old rapper spoke in detail about his prior life lived in the years before he first got fully sober.
For Flav, years of drug addiction consumed not just his mental and physical well-being, but it also controlled other aspects of his life, too. Most notably was the financial fallout. At the height of his drug use, Flav was ingesting cocaine, crack, alcohol, marijuana, and cigarettes daily, among other substances.
Flav revealed to Akademiks that this went on for “18 years straight.” And during the worst period, he was spending THOUSANDS of dollars a day to maintain a high:
“There was a time that I was spending $2,400 to $2,600 a day… for six years straight, you do the math. That’s how much I spent on drugs.”
In the very worst points of addiction, Flav estimates he spent almost $1 million per YEAR on drugs. Thankfully, that is no longer the case in his life right now. But the physical (and financial) burden of those choices weighed heavy on him for a long time.
“Drugs are easy to get on, and they’re hard as hell to get off of.”
In addition to using money he’d acquired from his music fame, Flav funded his habit by selling drugs to other people. But his addiction was so bad at points that he ended up being his own best customer, as he explained:
“I ain’t gonna lie, I sold a lot. But I was my best customer … I had a lot of money at the time too, I was just doing the wrong things with my money.”
The rapper, whose real name is William Drayton Jr., worked hard to present himself “very well” through this difficult period in his life. For a while, he “kept it hidden” from those closest to him. But slowly, things unraveled.
By the mid-2000s, he was ready to walk away for good from crack and cocaine. More recently, in 2020, he dropped alcohol and cigarettes. Now, he lives a completely substance-free life. The father of eight triumphantly revealed:
“I’m proud to sit here and talk about it today because I’ve been clean, off of for the last 15 years. Not only that, but I feel proud to say I haven’t drunk alcohol for the last two and a half years. I haven’t smoked cigarettes in the last two and a half years. So I’ve been clean and sober.”
As he fully settles into the next (healthier) stage of his life, Flav is excited to work towards a greater goal:
“I guess God wanted me to live. And he knows that I’m a mouthpiece to the world. So, I feel that God let me live through that, so that way, I could teach people about the mistakes that I made. And hopefully, they won’t make them later on in life.”
Interestingly, the Flavor of Love star is worried about what effect drug culture may be having on the next generation, too. From his perspective, modern rappers are focused on glorifying drug use in music far more than past artists. For Flav, he’s worried about that content having harmful effects for young listeners:
“Back in the days, when we used to make drug records, we used to talk about selling drugs. Talking about who can make the most money off drugs, who’s balling off selling drugs. It was a competition thing to all of the hustlers. Now today’s music, we’re talking about doing drugs. So, there’s a big change within the music … It’s giving younger kids the wrong idea.”
Damn. That is definitely worth a second thought considering the source. As both a successful recording artist and someone who used to use drugs to the point of addiction, Flav certainly has a valuable perspective on that.
We’re just happy to hear he’s doing so well now after such a long road towards sobriety!
Reactions, Perezcious readers?
If you or someone you know is experiencing substance abuse, help is available. Consider checking out the resources SAMHSA provides at https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline.
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