Lizzo is one of the buzziest singers, songwriters, and rappers to break out in 2019. Apart from her cheery, body-positive lyrics and joyful energy, part of what makes Lizzo so unique is her ease blending many of her talents — powerhouse vocals, tight bars, and gorgeous flute solos.
But in a new interview with NPR‘s Terry Gross, Lizzo reminded us that flute has always had a place in hip-hop. She brought up Future’s “Mask Off,” one of the biggest hits of the last few years, and said that “the chorus was just a flute solo.”
She went on, “I think that flute and hip-hop are very sexy. I think that flute and hip-hop have gone together for a long time. I think this is just the first time you actually see the artist actually playing the flute. There wasn’t a disconnect.”
Lizzo also talked about how growing up in Houston, one of the most iconic hip-hop cities in the country, shaped her musical sensibilities. “Growing up in Houston, freestyle rapping was very first nature to me,” she said. “That was what I wanted to do. That’s what you had to do as a rite of passage. I was very nerdy, and the fact that I knew how to freestyle on a bus, or freestyle in the cafeteria and bang on the desk, just gave me a little get-out-of-being-a-nerd-free pass.”
Since Lizzo began her music career in Minneapolis, she’s often credited as part of that scene. But her roots in Houston are still a big part of her music, and her childhood as a “nerdy” freestyling flute-player has helped her grow into a singular talent.
Check out the full interview at NPR here.