Flavor Flav sues Chuck D, Public Enemy management over unpaid royalties

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Flavor Flav has filed a lawsuit alleging unpaid royalties against his Public Enemy group-mate Chuck D and the rap crew’s production and management teams.

E! News reports that the rapper, whose real name is William Drayton, claims in his suit that he has not received royalty payments for years on over 50 Public Enemy songs on which he has writing credits. Flavor Flav also complains that payments from ticket sales and merchandising have “diminished to almost nothing.”

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“Despite Drayton’s position in Public Enemy, the group’s management and related companies have for years attempted to minimize his role in the Public Enemy business, while continuing to rely upon Drayton’s fame and persona to market the brand,” Flavor Fav’s suit states. “[He] brings this case only after months of investigation and attempts to obtain underlying accounting figures, contracts and merchandising information.”
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The lawsuit also claims that Flavor Flav’s voice and image were used without his consent on the Public Enemy album Nothing Is Quick in the Desert, released in June.

Flavor Flav alleges that in the spring 2017 he flew to California to record the new album. He reportedly “was upset to learn that he would have no input into the creative direction of the record” and “requested a fee of $75,000 to record the album.” He recorded some material during the session, but did not believe it would be used on the final album. The suit claims the rapper was paid $7,500 for the work, with the rest of the $75,000 still outstanding.

“On or about June 29, 2017, Drayton was shocked to see that a new Public Enemy album was being released, and that his image was being used in multiple media outlets to promote the album. He had never heard of the album, nor heard any of the final mixes,” the lawsuit alleges. “Drayton’s photograph is also used on the liner notes to Nothing Is Quick In The Desert, and he is listed as an Executive Producer. He approved of neither of these uses of his name or photograph.”

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Another claim states that Public Enemy’s business managers “entered into merchandising deals” without Flavor Flav’s consent and without paying him compensation.

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Chuck D took to Twitter on Thursday to address the issue. “Flav will be OK. TMZ Drama is beneath me considering our age,” the rapper wrote. “It’s low entertainment, but I definitely like to find those 50 he songs he wrote.”