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Monday, Nov. 19, 2012

Flare The Floozy Invests in Mixtapes

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The most influential contemporary rappers all have one thing in common: a great narrative. Today’s rappers are first and foremost self-mythologizers, and their brands are only as good as the stories they spin for themselves. From Kanye West’s fame-corrupted big dreamer to Drake’s heartbroken workaholic, Kendrick Lamar’s Compton bystander and the countless corner boys with outsized work ethics, each has a novel-esque tale to tell about the feats they’ve accomplished and the struggles they’ve overcome. Milwaukee up-and-comer Flare The Floozy, however, couldn’t care less about telling tales.

“I don’t want to share my life story,” the rapper insists. “When the time comes, maybe I’ll open up a little more, but right now I don’t want to go there. My struggle isn’t the ultimate struggle, so frankly I don’t think people want to hear about it. Right now I’m just making music to have a good time, pour a drink and flirt with the ladies to.”

Flare cites guys like Drake, Lamar and Eminem as influences, but, if anything, he’s Milwaukee’s answer to Kirko Bangz, an unapologetic trend-chaser too infatuated by the here and now to concern himself with artistic pretenses.

Milwaukee hasn’t had a great track record with this kind of pop rap. Trends, after all, are difficult to keep up with, and for most of the ’90s and ’00s the city felt at least a solid step behind the greater commercial rap scene, hung up either on gangsta tropes that had fallen out of fashion or chintzy club production that was a poor facsimile of expensive radio creations. Of the countless North Side rappers who have entered the studio with dreams of making a hit, only two or three can claim to have come anywhere close.

If the deck is stacked against Flare, though, it certainly doesn’t sound like it on his latest mixtape, Press Conference, his fourth in just over a year. It’s genuinely good, thick with crafty wordplay and glowing production that never feels like a cheap knock-off. And for good reason: It wasn’t cheap. If his yearlong push has taught Flare The Floozy anything, it’s that making professional-grade rap takes money.

“I put all my money into my music,” he says. “I put my last dollars into this, but you’ve got to take that extra step if you’re serious about it. You’ve got to give away a lot of free music. I printed up a lot of CDs and gave them away. You’ve got to touch base with some of the artists who are already established. I’ve started making a lot of videos. I’m constantly emailing blogs, and that game is tricky—I haven’t got the blogs figured out yet. Beyond the CDs and the videos on YouTube, there’s not much else I can do. I don’t have the finances to hire a promo team.”

Unlike most aspiring young rappers, Flare doesn’t speak about rap as a calling. In his circles, everybody raps. There’s nothing particularly special about it. “I knew I had some skill with words, but I didn’t know if anybody really wanted to hear me rap,” he says. “Part of the reason I started doing it was I used to sell beats, but I wasn’t satisfied with the music that other rappers were making with them, so I decided to just do it myself. When I put out my first mixtape, it was really just because my friends kept telling me to. People picked up on it and said it was dope and I was like, ‘Really? People are feeling this?’ I figured, OK, I’ll keep doing this as long as people like it.”

Press Conference is posted for free download at flarethefloozy.com.

 

 

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