In the era of fake news, and as a pandemic brings Earth to a standstill, the idea of April Fools’ Day doesn’t seem particularly funny. And yet here we are: Public Enemy’s recent public blowup was actually just an elaborate prank to promote the group’s new album.
A quick refresher: Last month, Flavor Flav was fired from Public Enemy after serving co-founding member Chuck D. with a cease and desist over the group’s appearance at a Bernie Sanders campaign rally. The two then fired off a series of nasty statements at each other; Chuck D. questioned whether Flavor Flav was sober, Flavor Flav expressed concern over Chuck D.’s mental statement.
As it turns out, it was all just an orchestrated ruse to promote a new collaborative project between Chuck D. and Flavor Flav.
Chuck D. detailed the April Fool’s Joke during a recent appearance on Talib Kweli’s People’s Party podcast (via Pitchfork).
“We already talked about this beforehand. Public Enemy Radio went up [at the Sanders rally]. His lawyer sent out a cease and desist. I’m like, ‘Good move.’ Then, publicly: ‘Man, you don’t fuckin’ sue me again.’ He ain’t suin’ me. But I can say it! If the public is confused about this, that, whatever—they’re gonna be confused about what’s a lawsuit and what’s not. ‘Yo man you suing me again publicly? Boom. Fuck that. You’re fired dude. This is my last thing with you.’ OK. We knew what was gonna come. I’m not sayin’ it’s a hoax, I’m sayin’ that the original intention is to get your attention and not play attention, but get you to pay attention.”
In actuality, Chuck D. says he and Flavor Flav “have been better than ever,” and even if he did want to fire Flav from the group, he couldn’t. “He’s a partner. You can’t fire partners,” Chuck D. explained.
So, yes, it was just one big April Fools’ joke. “We takin’ April Fools,” Chuck proclaimed. “We takin’ it over. It’s April Flav Chuck Day!”
The album — titled Loud Is Not Enough and released under the group’s Public Enemy Radio moniker — will arrive later this year. It marks their first release since 2017’s Nothing Is Quick in the Desert. The album’s first single, “Food As a Machine Gun”, is coming later today.