If the modern music industry has a Kevin Bacon, a central figure to whom everyone is related within six degrees of separation, it might be Flying Lotus. The Los Angeles producer, DJ and rapper has released five full-length albums on his own (not counting an additional record as his hip-hop alter ego) and between those and his collaborative work, it can feel like he’s got his hand in every project and on every album in rap music today.
How far does FlyLo’s family tree extend? How about onto ’70s dance floors and into outer space? Here are some big names that sit just one or two degrees of separation from the superstar.
Kendrick Lamar: This one is easy. FlyLo not only produced the intro track on Lamar’s Grammy-nominated “To Kill a Butterfly,” but members of his Brainfeeder record label like Thundercat and Kamasi Washington were vital to the album’s sound.
Diana Ross: It should be no surprise that Lotus would end up being a producer; Ross’ “Love Hangover” is one of the most-sampled tracks of all time in hip-hop spheres, and it was written by Flying Lotus’ mother, Marilyn McLeod.
Thom Yorke: Flying Lotus is a frequent guest at Low End Theory, a Los Angeles club night dedicated to the city’s thriving beat music scene (it’s the home of DJs like The Gaslamp Killer and producers like Daddy Kev). It’s the same showcase at which the Radiohead frontman has made several buzzed-about guest appearances. Yorke also has appeared on two different Lotus album tracks.
Leon Bridges: The soul and gospel revivalist may not share much in common musically with FlyLo at first blush, but the duo, along with electro-soul-pop artist Shamir, starred in their own Apple commercial last year, promoting the tech behemoth’s streaming service.
Space Ghost: Is Lotus interstellar? Well, he was “discovered” by Adult Swim during a contest held by the Cartoon Network programming block to find new music for its commercial bumpers. And his rapper “alter ego” is Captain Murphy, named after the “Sealab 2021” character. So if “Space Ghost: Coast to Coast” ever returns, the show’s bandleader Zorak might be out of a job.