By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
"We haven't changed who we are," says Rook. "It's not like you come in the studio and suddenly Chris is wearing a throwback jersey and some new Jordans."
The duo doesn't believe that they need to assimilate to produce hip-hop. In fact, they see their outsider status as an advantage.
"We approach rap like we do rock," Deckard says.
"We have a rawness and aggression that most rap producers don't have," agrees Rook. "Most rap producers make everything sound so clean and sterile. We've spent hours recording the clinking of glass to get the right ambient noise for a club track."
"I don't impose on the artists," replies Deckard. "I don't feel a social responsibility as a producer. It would be incredibly hypocritical of me to comment on a culture that I'm not a part of. I'm not black, so there's no way for me to pass judgment on any part of black culture. There's just no way I can understand it from not being a part of it. To me, rap is all about conspicuous consumption. That's why I like working on rap better than rock, because there's no pretense, no subtext and no apologies."
Rook has another take on it. "People listening to heavy metal aren't going to sacrifice a goat or do something stupid just because they listen to a song about it. If someone has that inside them, it's there whatever music they're listening to. It's the same with rap.
"It also serves another function besides escapism: communication. I've had kids freestyle rap at the studio for hours, all taking turns; sometimes it's competitive, sometimes it's more conversational," says Deckard.
With vinyl pressed and Hot as a Lampout on the street, the Flo Fanatics are going back into the studio with Deckard to put together a full LP. After all, people in the clubs and DJ booths don't care about the color of someone's skin; they care about the music. And music is something that the Flo Fanatics and Killergram Records can agree on.