Before this year, you probably hadn't spoken about the flute since your last band camp, which is why it's so surprising that the woodwind instrument has made a resurgence in 2017.
Nope, it's not because of trop-house or even house music for that matter, it's thanks to hip-hop. Yep, the genre often known as the toughest in the music game has adopted the flute as its champion this year.
While Drake's More Life had plenty of talking points, it was MurdaBeatz & Cubeatz flute-driven beat on Portland that really made the internet buzz. The feature on the Drizzy, Quavo and Travis Scott track basically confirmed that the flute is here to stay in 2017 and nobody is mad about it.
— Chris K???? (@kibwanalegacy) March 20, 2017
In the age of the reactive internet and memes, the flute is a goldmine for musicians. There's a plethora of flute memes and they just keep getting better with every flute drop that happens. Allow us to shamelessly plug ourselves for a minute.
The memes really kicked into gear when Future dropped Future last month, the first of two albums that came over two consecutive weeks. The most streamed song of both records is Mask Off, the Metro Boomin-produced track that uses flute as its driving force. While Future's flow is on point, there's something about that hypnotising flute that takes you to another place and we can assure you we never thought we'd say that and Future in the same sentence.
The internet has decided to pit Future's Mask Off up against Drake's Portland in the ultimate flute-off of 2017. The winner? Well, it seems to be Future at the moment. With over 50 million streams on Spotify, the song is on its way to becoming Future's biggest hit to date and the internet has its back 100 per cent.
The flute on "Mask Off" vs the flute on "Portland" pic.twitter.com/EbuqfhVosc
— Brino (@Javi_Sobrino62) March 20, 2017
While this may be the popular battle Drizzy and Future can't take all the credit for the flute revolution as its been popping up in beats for the past year. D.R.A.M. and Lil Yachty's Broccoli features the flute in the chorus of the track with Yachty even playing the majestic instrument in the video.
Metro Boomin has been a flute offender multiple times, also using it in 21 Savage and Future's X to make it one of the most haunting rap songs of last year. Drake has also rapped over flute twice with it also featuring in Gucci Mane's Both which the Canadian features on. Zaytoven is another producer using the instrument as a weapon, creating serious heat on Migos' Get Right Witcha.
The song most likely to challenge Portland and Mask Off in a flute off though is Kodak Black's Tunnel Vision. The Metro Boomin-produced track has made Black a mainstream success and while we don't want to take away from his success, we reckon the flute had a few things to do with it.
"Tunnel vision" flute guy VS "mask off" flute guy VS "Portland" flute guy pic.twitter.com/ZyPzHXXpia
— Justin Diab???? (@jdtown12) March 20, 2017
Like most history-blocking millenials we'd like to pretend no one had heard of a flute in hip-hop but we do have to give it up to the OGs. Beastie Boys kicked it with the flute on 1994's Flute Loop, Jay Z's 1999 jam Big Pimpin was all about the flute and 50 Cent's Just A Lil Bit made the flute sexy. And, if we want to get local, we can also talk about how Hilltop Hoods' Nosebleed Section wouldn't have been anywhere near as iconic as it is without our woodwind hero.
Still, the flute-beat has never been as heavily concentrated as it is right now and who knows how widespread it's going to be from here.
All we know for sure is somewhere the saxophone that once puffed its chest as the most mighty woodwind instrument is cowering in a corner knowing that the instrument it bullied for years now has Drizzy, Future and Migos in its corner. Not so sexy anymore, ay sax?