Flavor Flav is opening up about his struggles with drug addiction and revealed the financial toll of his dependency.
During a recent interview on the podcast "Off the Record With DJ Akademiks," the 63-year-old rapper and reality TV star shared that he was addicted to cocaine, crack, weed, alcohol, and cigarettes "for 18 years straight."
He also got candid about the cost of his habits.
"There was a time that I was spending $2,400 to $2,600 a day for six years straight, you do the math," Flavor Flav said. "That's how much I spent on drugs."
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That's nearly $5.5 million just during the height of his addiction, with millions more spanning nearly two decades.
He also admitted that he was selling drugs, but broke the number one rule for dealing by tapping in to his own supply.
"I ain't gonna lie, I sold a lot. But I was my best customer," Flavor Flav said. "I had a lot of money at the time too, I was just doing the wrong things with my money."
The former Public Enemy hype man, whose real name is William Jonathan Drayton, Jr., said he can finally talk openly about those struggles because he's been clean from cocaine and crack for 15 years and celebrated two years of alcohol sobriety in October 2022.
Flav's sobriety journey was sparked by an Oct. 4, 2020 arrest stemming from a scuffle with his girlfriend at home in suburban Las Vegas. The rapper was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery. He pleaded no contest in the case and the charge was dismissed a year later.
The father of eight said he's lucky to have survived addiction, noting that "drugs are easy to get on, and they're hard as hell to get off of."
"I guess God wanted me to live. And he knows that I'm a mouthpiece to the world," he said. "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."
The "Favor of Love" star said hip-hop artists have a role in not glorifying drug use and compared rap music made during his heyday, which were about selling drugs, to today's artists who make music about doing drugs.
"It's giving younger kids the wrong idea," Flavor Flav added.
Flavor Flav was a founding member of the group Public Enemy and known for wearing a big clock on a chain around his neck. He was inducted with Public Enemy into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. In March 2020, the group kicked him out of Public Enemy following a dispute over a decision by members of the rap pioneers to perform at a Bernie Sanders campaign event, according to The Associated Press reports.
The former rapper has a criminal history including arrests and convictions on traffic infractions, a month in jail over assaulting his then-girlfriend in 1991, and three months behind bars for shooting at a neighbor in New York in 1993.
He was arrested in October 2012 in Las Vegas after he was accused of wielding knives and threatening his then-fiancee’s 17-year-old son at their home.
That felony case was closed after he pleaded guilty in 2014 to reduced charges of misdemeanor attempted battery, served probation and completed a domestic violence counseling course.
If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction, call the national hotline for drug abuse at 1-888-633-3239 to receive information regarding treatment and recovery.