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15 years clean, Flavor Flav talks about the $2,600 a day he used to spend on drugs

A man wearing a large clock around his neck, sunglasses and a ballcap stands in front of a crowd on a gym floor
Flavor Flav poses for photos after the end of a Los Angeles Lakers-Detroit Pistons game in Detroit last December.
(Jose Juarez / Associated Press)
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Want the numbers on Flavor Flav’s life as a drug user? He says he was spending $2,400 to $2,600 a day for six years straight at the heaviest part of his cocaine and crack addiction.

“You do the math, and that’s how much I spent on drugs,” the rapper and hype man said recently on the “Off the Record With DJ Akademiks” podcast. (We did the math, by the way, and it ballparks between $5.3 million and $5.7 million bucks.)

Flav — real name William Jonathan Drayton Jr. — is now 15 years clean from coke and crack and 2½ years off alcohol and cigarettes. He thinks God had a reason for keeping him alive through 18 years of heavy drug use and drug dealing.

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While he managed to keep his drug use pretty much on the down low most of the time, the rapper said, “No matter how many people you have around you doing the same thing you are, still and all at the end of the day, it’s still a lonely world. It’s a dark world. I just thank God for letting me make it out.”

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Flav says he believes God let him live because he could be a leader and a mouthpiece to help others get off drugs.

“I feel like 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,” he said. “Drugs is easy to get on and hard as hell to get off.”

The Public Enemy hype man had to change everything in his life, which he did by moving away from New York and heading west.

“That’s why I went to California, because I wanted to change my people, my places and my things,” he said. “And as long as you do that, you’re on the road to recovery.”

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His recovery wasn’t magical: “It took me a while to recover, man,” said the rapper, 63. “I ain’t gonna lie. Took a little minute. It wasn’t easy.”

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But he sees a big new problem facing people who are trying to get clean these days.

“Today’s society ain’t shaming drugs,” he said. “[It’s] claiming drugs.” Where rappers once made music about selling drugs, now they’re making music about doing drugs.

“I want to try to reverse the process, because I know what it did to me and my life,” Flav said. “And it didn’t do my life good.”

But don’t go talking crazy about Flav’s chosen lifestyle, mind you. He still isn’t a choirboy.

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“I still smoke my weed, though. You know, I ain’t squeaky clean!,” the “Flavor of Love” dating-show veteran told DJ Akademiks. “You know, weed is natural. It’s from the earth. ... Weed is healthier than cigarettes, it’s way more healthy than coke and crack and heroin and Mollies and Percocets and Xanaxes and Ecstasies.

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“So I’d rather just smoke my weed right now and get my little buzz,” Flav said. “Go in the studio, sit down, write something and bam, go record. Just keep my strength.”

This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links.

March 16, 2012

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