Flavor Flav knows how to put on a performance — but it’s safe to say basketball fans weren’t expecting to see the rapper and reality TV star singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” during a game of the NBA.
The Milwaukee Bucks invited the Public Enemy co-founder to sing the national anthem during Sunday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks. Sporting his oversized, glittering clock chain and a No. 59 Bucks jersey (a nod to the year he was born), the 64-year-old gave a now-viral performance sparking mixed reactions.
But Flav, 64, isn’t worried about the naysayers, telling Yahoo Entertainment exclusively that performing the iconic song has long been a dream.
“I consider it something I’ve crossed off my bucket list,” he says. “Once that was said and done, I was like, ‘You finally did something you always wanted to do and you did a great job.’ You accomplished it.
Flav, whose real name is William Jonathan Drayton Jr., adds with a laugh: “I was proud of myself because I didn’t get any of the words wrong, and I sang every word correctly.”
“Can I sing the national anthem someday during the game? »
Fans expect to see singers, both known and unknown, singing the anthem before sporting events, but seeing such an iconoclastic rapper take on the task was a bit of a shock for many. Some wondered how Flav got this job in the first place.
“I met with the president of the Milwaukee Bucks, Peter Feigin, and I asked him, ‘Can I sing the national anthem sometime during the game?’” Flav says. “He said, ‘Send me a video of you doing it.’ I sent him a video of me doing it. They liked it. And they gave me the invitation and the opportunity. So I jumped on it, man. I jumped on it and popped it out of the box. And it was fun. It was great. I had a good time.”
Flav says he took his time singing the song and the audience cheered him on throughout the show, especially during the anthem’s big vocal moments.
‘I was a little nervous for a second‘
Flav has been rocking stages since the 80s and has appeared on numerous reality shows, serving as a pioneer in the field of television dating with his hit show. Flavor of love. But taking on the anthem was a unique experience – and he knew something could go very wrong if he botched it, like Roseanne Barr’s infamous rendition.
“I really prepared mentally, that’s the mental part I prepared for, even though I did my vocal warm-ups and all that. There are a lot of people singing the national anthem,” he says, “and usually a lot of people put their own spin on it. So I said, doing this for the first time, I’m going to put my own spin on it and that’s what I did. I put my own spin on it and it was great.
Even though Flav was a little nervous, he made sure to go in with the right mindset.
“I was a little nervous for a second, but I said, ‘I’ll make it. I’m going to hit this thing. … And that’s what I did. This is what I decided to do and I achieved it. God is good, man.
‘Everyone will talk. Everyone‘I will have something to say.‘
While there have been many notable renditions of the national anthem by celebrities, two that basketball fans brought up after Flav’s original version were Marvin Gaye’s during the NBA All-Star Game in 1983, praised for its creepy and sultry vibe, and, on the other hand, Fergie’s breathless take on the 2018 NBA All-Star Game, which was widely criticized.
“I saw a lot of reactions and all that. I saw a lot of positive reactions, I saw a lot of negative reactions. And not all negative reactions outweigh positive reactions, which is a plus for me,” says Flav.
“And not only that, but despite all the negative reactions, I don’t let anything stop my flow. Everyone will talk. Everyone will have something to say. But I never let anything anyone has to say stop my flow of positivity.
‘It’s not the last time‘
Fans and critics can now watch Flav’s viral performance online, but some might even get the chance to perform it in person.
“This is not the last time you hear me sing the national anthem. I’m going to do it again somewhere else,” he teases. “I don’t know where yet and I don’t know when, but it will go down. So keep your eyes and ears open. »
Flav also has some advice for all the dreamers.
“As long as you keep trying, at some point you will be sure to succeed.” But if you give up trying, it will definitely be a guaranteed failure,” he says. “I kept trying and trying until finally, I got it right and it worked. So for everyone who has dreams, all they have to do is continue to follow their dreams and listen to their instincts, and I guarantee you that all of this will take them to the place they always wanted be.
‘MI wholeheartedly and my gratitude goes to all the people who‘I’ve loved Public Enemy for all these years.
Besides his memorable performance on the field, he is looking forward to celebrating another milestone. Public Enemy has announced a new vinyl reissue of the band’s second LP from 1988, It takes a nation of millions to hold us back, honoring the album’s 35th anniversary. This year coincides with the 50th anniversary of hip-hop.
“It takes a nation of millions to hold us back has always been one of my favorite things that we’ve done as Public Enemy, you know, and I’m just honored that right now, that album still holds a lot of weight. But it couldn’t have happened without all the people who support us,” says Flav.
“All of our fans and our die-hard fans are the ones who have really kept this album alive for these 35 years. So my heart and gratitude goes out to all the people who have loved Public Enemy for all these years and who have been riding with us all these years.
He and Chuck D are expected to be together Friday for this year’s Rock and Rock Hall of Fame induction ceremony.