Flying Lotus Paints a Bleak Picture for Rapper Longevity

"You should fucking celebrate if you make it ten years in the game, and you’re still able to survive and take care of your family."
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Flying Lotus, 2019

Hip-hop is an unkind game. Flying Lotus knows this, and on the heels of his new album, Flamagra, the veteran producer paints a bleak picture of artistic longevity during his interview with Craig Jenkins for Vulture.

When asked what young rappers we will discuss in 20 years, FlyLo said: “None of them,” but his remark was not a dismissal of the new crop of rising artists. Rather, it was a real look at how unforgiving hip-hop can be to artists pursuing long-term careers.

“I think 20 years is a long time,” he continued. “You should fucking celebrate if you make it ten years in the game, and you’re still able to survive and take care of your family. To me that was a huge thing. I could take care of my grandma, my sister, and stuff. It’s a blessing if you can make it past the six years. Madlib used to say that: ‘You’re a producer for six years. That’s it.’”

Here, we get a taste of how cognizant FlyLo is of hip-hop’s fickle state. It does not take much for a career to go on its head. Money dries up quickly in such a volatile industry. Who we are talking about in 20 years may well not matter in the face of such a brittle industry.

Every year you can feed your family off your art is a blessing, be it one year, six, or 20.

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