JACQUES: It’s September 2007 and the number one song in the country is Soulja Boy’s hit, “Crank That.” JACQUES: From it’s viral explosion to subverting the gatekeepers, Soulja rewrote the rules of the music industry and hip-hop in many ways, especially with how he produced his beats.
SOULJA: I did “Crank That,” right, on this program called Fruity Loops.
Probably took me like 10 minutes to make it and everybody knows I made 10 million dollars off of the song “Crank That.” JACQUES: FL Studio, originally called Fruity Loops, is one of, if not the most, influential beat program since the MPC.
JACQUES: First released in 1998 by Belgian software company Image-Line Studios, Fruity Loops’ look and intuitive design made it feel more like a video game than a professional music making application, which according to co-founder Jean-Marie Cannie, was the original business plan for the studio.
JEAN: …some adult video games.
One of them which is still is around is a Porntris.
JACQUES: Porntris was a successful adult themed version of the classic 80s video game Tetris.
In an effort to branch out, they brought on a new developer.
JEAN: We decided to go a little bit further than that so we hired Didier Dambrin who was one of the, or still is probably, one of the most talented developers I have ever met.
JACQUES: In his very first on-camera interview ever, Didier “Gol” Dambrin, shared with Genius News why FL Studio is so unique.
JACQUES: Gol told us that FL Studio was originally a pet project.
JACQUES: Didier mentioned that the app was indeed named after the Kellogg’s cereal.
JACQUES: But they were forced to change the name after a lawsuit.
JACQUES: In 1999, Image Line released the second version of Gol’s creation and it was an overnight success.
JEAN: …it seemed to have gotten pretty popular because as soon as we put it online, wherever we put it online, the service went dead.
JACQUES: The product had some early adopters – especially in the world of EDM where big names like Deadmau5 Martin Garrix and the late Aviici made their earliest hits on F-L.
JACQUES: But when it came to hip-hop, established producers didn’t take the program seriously.
However, North Carolina’s 9th Wonder was an early adapter and produced Little Brother’s breakthrough 2003 album, “The Listening,” entirely on Fruity Loops.
JACQUES: As well as the fan favorite, ‘Threat’ from JAY-Z’s ‘Black Album’ the same year.
JACQUES: Even though some “hip-hop heads” felt that beats made using FL weren’t authentically hip hop, 9th said he used it out of necessity, saying quote JACQUES: I didn’t choose Fruity Loops to sample – that’s the only choice I had.
But the fact that it’s a $50 program that you download off Kazaa and I [won] a Grammy off of it fucks with some people, man.
JACQUES: With FL Studio, all you needed was an internet connection, something Canadian producer Boi1da, who made Drake’s first hit “Best I Ever Had,” knows very well.
[BOI1DA] I ended up just taking my mom’s credit card and um just downloading Fruity Loops I started using it for the whole summer.
I wouldn’t even go outside.
JACQUES: However not everyone paid – many users, like Souja Boy, downloaded illegal versions – something Jean-Marie lamented.
JEAN: Oh, but you’re so lucky with piracy.
Not really. It didn’t bring in a penny for seven years.
JACQUES: Communities even sprung up online offering FL Studio insights.
NICK: I would watch videos on YouTube of like Cardiak Flatline making beats in FL Studio and Hopsin making beats in his basement on FL Studio.
JACQUES: That’s Nick Mira of Internet Money, the producer behind hits like Juice WRLD’s “Lucid Dreams” and “All Girls Are The Same.” JACQUES: In 2012, after finding out that many of his favorite producers were using FL Studio, Nick bought it himself and dove in.
NICK: I just every single day just spend hours in my room just making beats.
JACQUES: He told us how easy the app was to use – a similar sentiment shared by T-Minus, the producer behind J. Cole’s “Middle Child” & Drake’s “The Motto.” T-MINUS: What I like about Fruity Loops is that…creating drums in urban music is an important thing and I find it’s easier with Fl Studio.
JACQUES: And these are just a few of the countless producers using a piece of software originally created as a pet project.
JACQUES: As for Gol, he left Image-Line in 2015 to focus on personal projects but Image Line’s co-founder tells us that FL Studio is still going strong.
JEAN: now we have over ten million people installing FL Studio every year.
JACQUES: And one of those 10 million producers could be making your next favorite song.
It could also be you! JACQUES: I’m Jacques Morel with Genius News, bringing you the meaning and the knowledge behind the music.
Originally viewed on How Fruity Loops (FL Studio) Changed Hip-Hop | Genius News