Lizzo and André 3000 might be the most recent hip hop stars to bring attention to this graceful wind instrument, but they weren’t the first.
This week Outkast’s André 3000 was spotted tootin’ a double flute around Philadelphia. It caused a frenzy on the internet, but not as much as hip hop badass/pop diva Lizzo stirred up when twerking and simultaneously playing her flute.
— Okayplayer (@okayplayer) July 16, 2019
Lizzo plays the flute during her epic performances and dances flawlessly with the instrument, she even re-enacts the hilarious jazz flute scene from Anchorman.
Lizzo, ‘Anchorman’ Scene
While the flute might seem like a new instrument to hip hop, it’s actually been around for a while.
You can hear the reedless instrument throughout hip hop’s history, from songs like Snoop Dogg’s “Tha Shiznit,” Jay-Z’s chart-topper “Big Pimpin’” or The Beastie Boys’ “Flute Loop”—and these songs’ hooks are around the instrument.
Snoop Dog, “Tha Shiznit”
Jay-Z, “Big Pimpin'”
In 2017, Drake released a mixtape called More Life. Fans roared over Quavo and Travi$ Scott’s “Portland,” where the pair rapped over a simple flute melody and beat.
Quavo & Travi$ Scott, “Portland”
Future’s 2017 hit “Mask Off” features intricate flute and piano, making it feel more like a hip hop concerto rather than a club jam.
Future, “Mask Off”
And GQ called 2017 the year of “Flute Rap.” After a year of eardrum-bursting horn-fueled hits like Drake’s “Know Yourself,” GQ theorized hip hop fans were hungry for airier, gentler sounds like the flute.
While 2017 came and went, the flute craze never ended. It only got stronger with new flute-centric hip hop playlists showing on Spotify today.