LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Public Enemy’s ouster last month of founding member Flavor Flav was a hoax to generate publicity and provide a commentary on disinformation, members of the rap group said on Wednesday as they released a new album.
Founder Chuck D and four other members of the influential rap group had issued a statement in March saying they had split with Flav after he missed several live performances. Flav, writing on Twitter at the time, suggested he was fired because he refused to appear with the group at a rally for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, April Fool’s Day, Chuck D said he and Flav concocted a fake split to grab attention and highlight media bias toward reporting bad news about hip hop.
The pair were inspired by the 1938 radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds,” which had confused listeners into believing the fictional story about an alien invasion was a news bulletin, Chuck D said.
“Thus came the HOAX, our ‘War Of The Worlds.’ Believe half of what you hear and NONE of what you see,” Chuck D said in the statement, which was released by the band’s publicity team.
Chuck D posted a similar statement on the website for Enemy Radio, an offshoot of Public Enemy, and discussed the plot on a podcast interview that was released late on Tuesday.
Flav, known for wearing a giant clock around his neck, and Chuck D were founding members in 1985 of New York-based rappers Public Enemy, known for making music with a strong political message. Their 1988 album “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” is considered one of the genre’s most influential.
The group has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and received a Grammy lifetime achievement award.
On Wednesday, Flav and Chuck D united on a single released by Enemy Radio called “Food as a Machine Gun,” described as “an attack on the food industrial machine.” The song is featured on Enemy Radio’s new album, “Loud is Not Enough.”
Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Marguerita Choy