Top Ten Hip Hop Songs Featuring FlutesFuture's "Mask Off" revolutionized the use of an unusual instrument in hip hop: the flute. Whether as a sample or played for the song, the flute got a boost in popularity due to the song being a top ten hit in the US, with other hip hop tracks that make use of the same instrument having appeared since then. But it's not the first time it was interpolated into rap music, although it was probably the first time a song of this sound got that much popularity and recognition.
Songs that use flute samples taken from other songs are accepted, as are songs that recorded a flute specifically for the song.
The Top Ten
Eko Fresh prominently used the flute on some of his songs in Germany, long before Future did. The beats containing flutes are usually from his emotional and/or conscious songs, as they set a very melodious and expressive tone. "Köln Kalk Ehrenmord" is a critically and publically acclaimed conscious rap song exposing honor killings of radically religious people, while at the same time offering a peaceful view and a message of equality.
"Mask Off", especially the version with Kendrick Lamar's magnificent verse, might have made it into my favorite songs of 2017 list if only I knew it earlier. It wasn't a hit over here and so it slipped under the radar. It's the most melodic and musical piece of hip hop in a long time, especially because Kanye's "The Life of Pablo" kind of disappointed me considering how much I used to love his advanced, inventive and ambitious music he released until then. Now, the combination of the two rappers' vocals with the soft, very melodious and somewhat emotional beat work by Metro Boomin, including two short interpolations of gospel choirs, is just mind blowing and very intense.
In 2016, this song was the first sign of Eko Fresh opening up to a style which was new in Germany back then, brought over here by Fler who created the new trend of trap. Eko Fresh, whose music still is fairly oldschool and is both more American and Turkish than that of other popular rappers, didn't initially like the style and called the current trap movement uninspired and not really hip hop. But then he released this gripping conscious single, which is actually just slightly inspired by trap, and one year later interpolated some more modern beats into his music. "Insallah" is a conscious song that doesn't address topics as big as in "Köln Kalk Ehrenmord", but are still thought provoking. He describes different things he sees as he walks through the city, such as a mother who's a drug addict but just can't stay clean.
Timbaland's Bollywood inspired "Indian Flute" is a pioneer work in flute hip hop and deserves every recognition possible in that respect. Although I admit, the lack of a dominant bass makes it a bit less gripping than it could be.
Cupcakke is awesome. I really listened to the wrong songs to get an impression of her.
Fun fact: it was actually this song that made me aware of Mask Off's existence. It was mentioned in a comment that positively compared this song to Future's.
Remember when I mentioned on 2 Chainz' "Big Amount" how he DOESN'T deliver the fun battle rap kind of bragging? Yeah, this is how it's done. While the beat on the 2 Chainz song is greater, compare his verse to Migos' and you'll see how much more fun they are in flow and lyrics.
Okay, this one is great solely because of the beat.
Man, I LOVE flute beats. Long before Future, the beat work on Eko's ballads enchanted me. The instrumentals always sound so beautiful and melodic; sometimes peaceful, sometimes dramatic or sad. In this case, the beat has something very medidative.
Why oh why was this offered to 2 Chainz? Gosh...
Drake on his own could have delivered some great introspective lyricism on such a beat, plus it'd also solve the problem that Drake gets more and more repetitive, because this beat sure isn't typical for him. Unfortunately, he's bound to 2 Chainz' topics, which is brag rap without any wit or creativity - not even the fun battle rap kind of bragging.
The song is about Eko Fresh's bros (his homies) who died in the streets. It has a very nice oldschool vibe, and like the rest of thr album, is a reference to 2Pac, who is one of his idols. To me, it sounds a bit too much at times. "Look up, there's an angel and he cries blood" is just a tiny bit too forced as a metaphor, and sometimes he isn't grammatically correct on purpose in order to rhyme multisyllabically. Although you need to know Eko Fresh is much more authentic than any other German rapper. He knows the low places of German society, especially those where the lower class of the Turkish migrants collide with that of Germans, and he is intelligent enough to understand each side and pay peaceful respect to all of them.
Chamillionaire is kind of an overrated rapper out there. While he was fine technically, and there are much worse lyricists, he lacks personality and originality. In fact, he's just like a collection of 2000s American hip hop thrown together in a bag, without adding much to it. That being said, I like this song much better than "Ridin'". Its oriental beat work and the sung chorus are simply fun to listen to, though his verses are unimpressive.
The flute plays mostly during the chorus.
Favorite, who is known for his dark and controversial humor, parodies the Southern hip hop that was popular in the USA back in the late 2000s. It's foremost a Soulja Boy parody, but there are also references to Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy in flow and lines.
It's a tough choice between "The Heist" and Lana Del Rey's "Born to Die" for the best record of 2012. In any way, it was such a massive album in its musicality and lyrical power that it ranks among the greatest records of the decade. "This Unruly Mess I've Made" was still a good follow up and had its very ambitious songs as well, and some huge broadway-style musical numbers. In 2017, Macklemore's songs have sneezing as the chorus. It's... kind of sad. I know that this is a solo album and the other two are collaborations with Ryan Lewis, but still... this is the man behind "Wing$"?
Please, let this be a slip and recover quickly. Just tell me that this was only a filler while you collected ideas for your real next album, okay?