Rapper Flavor Flav was arrested on Jan. 9, 2014 on...

Rapper Flavor Flav was arrested on Jan. 9, 2014 on the Meadowbrook State Parkway, and stood before the First District Court in Hempstead to face charges of aggravated unlicensed operation, speeding and marijuana possession. Credit: NYS Police

Rapper Flavor Flav was arrested Thursday morning after State Police troopers caught him speeding and driving with a suspended license on the Meadowbrook State Parkway in Hempstead, police said.

The music artist, whose real name is William Drayton, 54, was clocked going 79 mph in his Hyundai about 9:30 a.m. on the southbound parkway, near the Southern State Parkway, police said.

Flavor Flav, who grew up in Freeport and now lives in Las Vegas, was driving with 16 suspensions on his license, police said. Troopers also found a small amount of marijuana in his possession, police said.

The rapper was charged with a felony, aggravated unlicensed operation, and two violations, speeding and marijuana possession, police said.

He told police he was on his way to Roosevelt for his mother's funeral, said state police spokesman Frank Bandiero.

Flavor Flav had announced on Twitter that his mother, Anna Drayton, died on Dec. 31. His tweet said, "She lived a good life."

Usually, those charged with a felony would be locked up until arraignment, but under the circumstances, State Police consulted a Nassau assistant district attorney, who gave permission to release Flavor Flav to go to the funeral, Bandiero said.

"He did all the right things, and we tried to accommodate him," Bandiero said.

The rapper was released with an appearance ticket for Jan. 28 at Nassau County First District Court in Hempstead.

Flavor Flav was a member of the Roosevelt hip-hop group Public Enemy. The group -- which also includes Chuck D., Terminator X and Professor Griff -- debuted in 1987 and was inducted last year into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Flavor Flav wore a clock as a pendant around his neck, which became his signature fashion statement. He also was recognizable for his catchphrase, "Yeahhh boyeeee!"

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