A simple tweet can set the digital media realm ablaze these days, as was the case last week after 2007 DXnext alum Flying Lotus tweeted @kanyewest, which in turn sent the blogosphere rumor mill into high gear about the possibility of FlyLo assisting ‘Ye in laying out the vision for Yeezy’s Dark Twisted Fantasy.
On Monday (September 27th) Lotus took time out of his busy beatmaking schedule to (coyly) respond to those rumors of his becoming a G.O.O.D Music supplier. The 27-year-old genre-bender behind much of the music you hear during commercial breaks on Adult Swim also explained how he may be linking with Lupe Fiasco. And lastly, the former film school student, who is currently directing the video for Bilal’s “Levels,” broke down why he believes “Hip Hop has held people back a little bit.”
HipHopDX: First off, I just wanna ask when that full Flying Lotus-produced Killer Mike album is coming? ‘Cause after “Swimming” a joint project between y’all is now officially mandatory.
Flying Lotus: Oh man, I’d be into it. Yeah, he’s really cool, man. I like his swag man, it’s pretty fresh.
DX: Did you like what he did with the track?
Flying Lotus: I did. I originally envisioned that track for Outkast…you know, [an Outkast] kinda vibe. And, I think [Killer Mike] got into the character of it. A few people tried to do verses to that song and they just didn’t bring the character that I wanted to it. They maybe took it too seriously or something. But, I really enjoyed his take on it.
DX: So just for clarification then, “Camera Day” from your just-released EP, Pattern + Grid World, that predates “Swimming”?
Flying Lotus: Yeah, it does.
DX: So [that beat] wasn’t crafted specifically for Mike…?
Flying Lotus: Well actually, it came from that whole – this [promotion] that Adult Swim came up with, [8 Singles In 8 Weeks]. And, they asked me for some stuff, and I sent that track over because they asked for something for him, so I figured that might be the one.
DX: Yeah I just spoke to Mike last week and he was singing your praises.
Flying Lotus: Really? Oh, wow.
DX: Yeah, he said when he first got the track he was in the studio with some other people and they were all like…jaws dropped. So this what you do, you get in good with Mike, who will get you in at Grand Hustle [Records], which will lead in no time to a Lotus-crafted #1 Pop smash for B.o.B. [Laughs]
Flying Lotus: [Laughs] Are you telling my future right now? [Laughs]
DX: I guess [while we’re] speaking of these emcees kind of appropriating your work, you know “Jurassic Notion” from the new EP is just begging for an emcee to get busy over. Who would you wanna see spit to that track, if given the choice?
Flying Lotus: I think Busta [Rhymes]. He’d kill that. [Starts mumbling Busta’s flow] Yeah, he’d kill that. [Laughs]
DX: Per a recent tweet of yours @LupeFiasco it sounds like you might wanna get him to bless the track.
Flying Lotus: We got in touch recently, and I think I might do a remix or something. I think that would make the most sense. [Inaudible] he’s working on something at the moment, and I think it’d probably be best if I took something that already existed of his and try and flip it into something else.
DX: Did he tell you how he came about your music?
Flying Lotus: He told me that his engineer – the text, or the message, I got [from Lupe] was, “Yo, my engineer says we should work.” I’m like, but what do you think we should do? Do you think we should work?
DX: And since I mentioned your recent tweet @LupeFiasco, you know I gotta ask you about your now newsworthy tweet from September 19th @kanyewest “yo are you still rollin thru today?”
Flying Lotus: [Laughs] I already said too much. I’ll say that. I already said too much.
DX: Hmmm, okay, let me see how I gotta work this here. [Laughs] Can you say if ‘Ye was rollin’ thru to pick up some beats perhaps?
Flying Lotus: I already said too much… But, I will say it’s inevitable.
DX: Can you tell how he came to your music?
Flying Lotus: I can’t say anything about anything. I said too much. I shouldn’t have said what I said. But you know, it’s one of those things where I’m sure like – Well, I shouldn’t even…I’m talking too much already. [Laughs] Squeezing me for the juice, man. [Laughs]
DX: That’s what I’m trying to do. [Laughs] I could hear Kanye over “Kill Your Co-Workers,” maybe.
Flying Lotus: You know man, I got a lot of stuff for Kanye [West], man. There’s a lot of stuff I got for him. And, you know, when the day is right it’s gonna happen.
DX: Well I’m glad to hear that…
Flying Lotus: It took me awhile to get into his music as well, to be totally honest. Like, it took me awhile to understand the other part of Kanye. I really do like him as a rapper, so…we’ll see what happens.
DX: Your lateness to Kanye is my lateness to you; I gotta admit that I’m just now getting into your stuff. So far what I’ve heard – I love tracks like “Clay” on the new EP, but aside from “Galaxy In Janaki” and “MmmHmm,” your most recent LP, Cosmogramma kinda flew right over my head as a Hip Hop head.
Flying Lotus: [Laughs] Yeah.
DX: [Laughs] I mean, do you consider yourself Hip Hop?
Flying Lotus: I come from Hip Hop. I feel I come from Hip Hop, from a Hip Hop home. That’s what inspired me, but in there I feel like – I just do music, man. I don’t really wanna think about genres or who it goes to, I just think about honest expression and all my [musical] influences. I’d be a halfway artist if I didn’t put all my influences in my work, I feel.
DX: Now, you said something about your musical mission back in ’07 for your DXNext profile that caught my eye: “[People like me are] trying to go to the future, [other] people still stuck in the ‘90s…” Let me just play devil’s advocate though and ask if one can still move forward musically without doing the synth-driven, computer-based stuff? ‘Cause I still hear progression in recent productions from DJ Premier, Pete Rock, and other beatmakers from the ‘90s.
Flying Lotus: Absolutely, man. I still sample as well. I sample all the time. Like, most of my album is samples. People don’t even realize, like, I chop still. It’s just like, I don’t do it like other people do it. I take things and pitch ‘em all crazy and make synth tones out of somebody’s record. It’s all the same to me. And as far as being a futurist, I do feel like people are still stuck on some shit [from the past]. And that’s cool. That’s why I’m here. I’m here to do my part [to progress the music]. [But] I’m still stuck on some shit that I like [from the past] too. But it’s like, I feel like Hip Hop has held people back a little bit. The ideas of Hip Hop [are] kind of a close-minded idea, as opposed to Jazz, which is another part of my background. But even Jazz has gotten close-minded in the past twenty years. So I think we’re at a point now where we’re all so overloaded with information and ideas and music that people, they’re gonna seek out more than just like your usual.
DX: Well I just heard that “1983” joint for the first time – again, I’m way late [Laughs] – and that shit sounds like some 22nd century boom bap to me. [Laughs]
Flying Lotus: [Laughs] Again, it’s like, I come from that. And I’m not trying to say I don’t put that in my music either. It’s there. I think my love for ‘90s Hip Hop is way apparent in my music, but maybe it’s just my [formal] releases [that are more multi-genre]. But I got mixtapes out where I try to [make something for] all the [J] Dilla heads, who are still in that mindset. There’s all types of stuff that I come up with. But, the idea of doing the [Cosmogramma] album was more like a statement anyway. It was like a central piece, it wasn’t necessarily like a dance floor thing or anything of that nature: trying to be on the radio, or Pop shit or whatever. I was just trying to do something honest.
DX: Well since you’re producing Kanye’s whole next album –
Flying Lotus: [Laughs loudly] I would. I would do it.
DX: Do you desire that though? I mean, entering into the [producer-for-hire arena]?
Flying Lotus: Nah, man. I just desire to continue to do what I wanna do. I don’t feel any kind of pressure to make what other people want me to make…yet, I guess. I just wanna do me. If I can keep doing that, if I can do my thing and if it makes money, cool. If I can work with Kanye and then work with Thom Yorke and then work with Bjork and then work with Jay-Z then that’s the killing shit.