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Flavor Flav Arrested in New York But Released to Attend Mom's Funeral

The rapper had been driving with 16 suspensions on his license

Flavor Flav performs in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Helen Boast/Redferns via Getty Images
January 10, 2014 10:19 AM ET

New York State Police arrested Public Enemy's Flavor Flav in Long Island Thursday morning for driving with 16 suspensions on his license. They later released the rapper so he could attend his mother's funeral.

In addition to his arrest for "Felony Aggravated Unlicensed Operation," the rapper was stopped for driving 79 in a 55 miles-per-hour zone and was in possession of a small amount of marijuana, according to a statement. He has a court date set for January 28th in Hempstead, New York.

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The rapper's mother, Anna Drayton, died on New Year's Eve. "I'm gonna miss her," tweeted the rapper, who was born William Drayton. "She lived a good life."

In 2008, Flav did a video interview with his mother for People.com. "One thing that she always said was, 'Do your do's," he said, sitting next to her. "When you go out, you know your do's and you know your don'ts. Do your do's and leave your don'ts alone. And you'll be all right."

Over the past decade or so, the sometime Flavor of Love and Surreal Life star – and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member – has been arrested multiple times over driving offenses. Police in Las Vegas, where Flav has taken up residence, arrested the rapper in 2011 for catching him driving without proof of insurance, a parking violation and two counts of driving without a license. And previously, he spent nine weeks in New York City's Rikers Island jail for driving with a suspended license, a number of parking tickets and for being tardy to meetings with his probation officer. That arrest caused Flavor Flav to miss appearances with Public Enemy, who performed without him.

In 2012, Las Vegas police arrested Flav for assault with a deadly weapon and charges of misdemeanor domestic violence. He was accused of assaulting his fiancée and threatening a teenager with a knife. After deciding that the rapper would have to stand trial for the charges, a judge set a September 30th, 2013 court date for the case, according to BET. No follow-up on the trial has been released.  

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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