Flying Lotus: ‘Kendrick Lamar absolutely deserves the key to the city’

Steven Ellison, otherwise known as Flying Lotus, on unearthing new talent, LA beat, ‘difficult’ Tyler, the Creator and ten years of Brainfeeder records

When Steven Ellison last saw Kendrick Lamar, the rapper was wearing what could be described as the closest thing Los Angeles natives get to a national costume. “Kendrick had on a hoodie, some basketball shorts and some flipflops,” Ellison, better known by his stage name Flying Lotus, recalls. “Yeah, he’s an LA motherfucker. He absolutely deserves the key to the city.”

And, while there’s no disputing the debt LA owes to that Pulitzer prize-winning hip-hop star, the contributions that Ellison and his record label Brainfeeder have also made over the last 10 years towards the culture of Los Angeles have been vast. Over the previous decade, Flying Lotus and his cohort have drawn from electronica, hip-hop, dubstep, as well as jazz, funk, video games, anime, psychedelia and sunshine, to make some of the best music to come out of the City of Angels since The Chronic.

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