Today we speak to F L A C O, a rapper to definitely look out for in 2017. Having recently released his latest project titled sleepinginjeans, the intricately flowing Indiana native shows no signs of slowing down. We are honored to have the opportunity to speak to a man who is much better described as an artist than a rapper.
A Look in the Mind of the Versatile and Ecclectic F L A C O
Mourad: Hey F L A C O! How are you man, how’s it going?
F L A C O: I’m good man, how are you?
Mourad: All good man. I’m flattered to speak to you man. I really enjoy your music.
F L A C O : I appreciate that dude. I appreciate you guys reaching out to me.
Mourad: You have a very unique and interesting style, not just in your music but in your whole demeanor. Where do you think this inspiration came from?
F L A C O: Probably my mom. She was always a big influence growing up cause she was so eclectic, she kinda put us on to everything; it wasn’t just limited to just what’s expected of an African American family you know, we listened to all types of music, and dove into all types of stuff. So my mom was probably the biggest influence on that aspect. You know I kinda knew from early age that being different was OK, it didn’t feel like I was being chastised for it. So that allowed me to, you know when I was growing, to be able to take influences that inspire me , and kinda add it to me, but mostly it’s just my mom, you know me being my mom’s son.
Mourad: What do you think makes F L A C O different from any other rapper?
F L A C O : Because I think that I showcase a spectrum of human emotion. I’m not just a boxed-in artist. A lot of people, they get put into paradigms where they have a certain way, and the music has to be this, the perception of the audience towards them is this way. To me it’s a broader spectrum, you know, it’s happy, sad, anxiety, everything, all the feelings put into one … and I feel like I’m a more vulnerable artist. I just think my take on the process of actually making music is a little bit different than most people, especially rappers.
Mourad: Different in what way?
F L A C O: Just the fact that I record as I write, so I get a lot of in the moment. I don’t know, fluctuations of energy that I can’t even explain. A lot of people will write stuff beforehand, so they’ll be in the studio and they have to write, and then come back in all these sessions and all that but with my process, it’s more of a “as it comes,.” I can record and mix it so what I hear in my head at that second can be promptly put in a practical manner. So it’s just me being able to take advantage of a moment in time is a lot higher than most people, because that’s how I choose to make my music. I don’t like to write anything beforehand or choose music beforehand, I like it all to be in the moment. So a lot of things happen that I wouldn’t plan, and usually make the song and music better overall.
Mourad: I really enjoy the music. Your music gives off the feeling that you are inspired by artists outside of hip-hop too. Do you listen to a wide spectrum of music?
F L A C O: I make a decision not to listen to hip hop until I’m finished just cause I don’t wanna have a derivative style, I don’t wanna sound like my favorite artist, you know what I mean? I listen to a lot of rock, a lot of proggy [progressive] rock, and, you know, electronic shit. I’m all over the place but when I’m creating I don’t touch hip hop, I try not to so, yeah, you hit that right on the head. I don’t listen to hip hop a lot!
Mourad: You just mentioned your favorite rapper. Who would you say that is?
F L A C O: My favorite rapper? Like right now or just of all time?
Mourad: Let’s say right now.
F L A C O: Right now, my favorite rapper is, Imma probably say, you probably never heard of him, but his name is Hoodrich Pablo Juan. He’s like a super trap rapper, but he’s very creative with his cadences and his flows. Really, when I see potential in someone they usually blow up, so this dude is really dope, it’s such a contrast to my music. I love listening to people who don’t do what I do, you know what I’m saying? So like, it’s just super trappy, like crazy street shit, it’s called, it’s from a dude called Hoodrich Pablo Juan. He’s probably my favorite rapper right now.
Mourad: Cool cool cool, I’ll definitely check him out. So, in your household, growing up, was hip-hop or music part of that?
F L A C O: Yeah, yeah, definitely. It was so huge, music was, man, because my dad was hugely into hip hop, my mom was into everything. So it was just a perfect balance like, I had like a dedicated hip hop head, funkhead, jazzhead, in my dad. And then in my mom more of a punk rock, hardcore, I wanna say like electronic, indie rock, you know. So growing up I listened to like Snoop Dogg a minute, then it’s Everything But The Girl the next minute, then Miles Davis, then you know the B52s, then, you know what I mean, it was everywhere, so, it was crazy.
Mourad: Yeah, that’s really interesting. You can tell that you’ve listened to a lot of different styles when you listen to your music.
F L A C O: Yeah, man. I appreciate that dude.
Mourad: Your music contains a lot of references to maybe depression, or being hurt. Is it something that you’ve had to deal with a lot in the past?
F L A C O: Yeah absolutely. I think it’s one thing that, I feel like most humans can connect with you through. I wouldn’t say that I’ve been clinically diagnosed with depression but we all feel it, and it’s pretty heavy when it happens, so it’s a common thing. The way I write is so subconscious, so I’m not even actively trying to talk like I’m depressed. But it’ll just come out, and that’s a big theme in a lot of peoples’ lives.
Mourad: Your music seems to vary in style dramatically between like Evil, which is a rather dark project, and sleepinginjeans which is an easier, more melodic tape. How versatile do you like your body of work to be?
F L A C O: Very. I’ve been told that most people would want to have a niche or a theme, and I’ve been told that’s the way to go. But for me, I think again, having a whole spectrum of different shit makes you more unpredictable, and you can really surprise people and engage people and immerse people when you’re coming at a different angle. Cause I don’t want everybody be like, I know what he’s gonna do on this song, or, you know, like there’s a lot of artists right now, at the beginning of the song, I can immediately tell what’s gonna happen. And I don’t want that, that type of biased coming into my music so I try to be as variety-filled as possible. It’s just my taste, you know, eclectic shit.
Mourad: We hear a lot of spiritual references such as the “3rd eye” in your music. How spiritual would you say you are as a person?
F L A C O: It’s borderline, I wouldn’t say I’m hugely spiritual but I’m very curious and very in tune with spirituality, if that makes any sense. I can feel energy, and I have a moral code and integrity code that I feel like is granted to me by the universe, as corny as that fucking sounds, but I’m not some huge spiritual guy. But there are certain things, you know “3rd eye”, and Buddhism, and Hedonism and all these crazy things. You know like a few years ago I was pretty much all like, fuck God, fuck everything type of shit but I’m realizing that organized religion’s not my thing. I’m more of like, you know, in tune with the universe type of shit.
Mourad: Yeah I feel you, God means a different thing to a lot of different people.
F L A C O: Absolutely, absolutely.
Mourad: Kobe IIs. What’s your view on them?
F L A C O: I thought they were WAY ahead of their time, I mean it looked like lunchboxes, and they were just dope to me. I remember not being able to afford them, and, It’s kind of like a symbol to me, the unattainable, cause I can never go back and get those shoes. I mean I can buy them now, but, just that hunger, I think that was like the really first beginning of my hunger of like, fuck I want that, I would do whatever it takes to get to that point of getting that, you know what I mean?
Mourad: The freedom.
F L A C O: Yeah, for real, like being able to think, like that’s awesome I want that, and then having the means to be able to do that is my goal, you know what I’m saying? So the Kobe IIs symbolize that more. But the shoe itself is kinda dope, low key dope like, I would fuck with them, I would rock them right now.
Mourad: So do you have any big moves planned for 2017?
F L A C O: Yeah but I like to keep them close to chest. I got a couple big shows, some huge placements that I’ve been working on, and basically just stepping up to the next level as far as production and explore so be ready to see me a lot more. And I’m already starting to have a deal with the brand clash, like the A$AP stuff, so it’s really weird. I’m in a weird period where I’m trying to get to the next level but I still have to get people away from the A$AP Rocky, the pretty Flacko, and just me as F L A C O. So just expect me standing out more, branding myself more. And, I got some big announcements as far as like touring and shit goes, be ready for that shit, and I got a new project that’s probably coming out at the end of this month, so yeah.
Mourad: And how did the name F L A C O come along? Was it after A$AP?
F L A C O: I’m pretty sure we both got it from the same place, it’s a reference from Mos Def. Mos Def the rapper would call himself Pretty Flaco, but I had friends in High School that would call me Flaco cause you know I’m a fairly skinny dude, and it just stuck you know what I mean, pretty Flaco. It just felt right. And then a year later A$AP comes out so it kinda looks like I’m the asshole but yeah, it wasn’t anything like that, it was just Flaco from some homies, but I kinda merged it with the idea from Mos Def, when he used to call himself Pretty Flaco, it stuck with me.
Mourad: Young Flacito it is for you, isn’t it?
F L A C O: Yezzir.
Mourad: Just a last question, any last words you’d like to tell your fans?
F L A C O: Yeah. Anything’s possible. Anything is possible. This is the age of being an entrepreneur. I preach to all my friends, this is all I wanna say to my fans, be your own brand, cause every time you walk out the door, you are your own brand. So it’s just like, I wanna spread that entrepreneurial spirit, you know what I’m saying, it’s something you’re passionate about. Something you think you can do, fucking do it, you have all the tools right at the palm of your hand if you have a smartphone, so, stop being fans of me and be fans of yourself, you know what I’m saying. Because I’m in everybody. I just want people to realize that you have way more power than you let on and anything’s possible because last year I was sleeping on a fucking floor and now I’m getting label calls. So believe in yourself and anything’s fucking possible I swear to god.
Mourad: And what about the label calls? Are you interested? Or are you thinking to stay independent?
F L A C O: Oh, oh I’m absolutely staying independent, it just doesn’t make any sense, I really have to really build my fan base. My numbers don’t reflect my actual fan base online, so what I have to do is just grind and be consistent and build that up before I do some shit like that. So I don’t wanna be too overzealous, you know what I’m saying, I have to be in grind mode.
Mourad: Anyway I’ll leave you to it. Take care, thank you very much for the interview!
F L A C O: Alright man thank you.
Mourad: Alright cheers, keep the good music coming. I love it.
F L A C O : Alright man, peace!
Stream F L A C O’s sleepinginjeans below and let us know what you think of the upcoming rapper in the comment section. For all things hip hop keep reading at True Too.