Atlantan trap megastar Future released his albums FUTURE and HNDRXX in February to both critical and commercial acclaim. Both records topped Billboard‘s albums charts upon release, making Future the first to score back-to-back No. 1 debuts on the chart in its 61-year history.
But despite dropping a total of 34 new tracks, Future didn’t overexpose himself. “Mask Off,” a flute-laden cut off FUTURE produced by beatsmith Metro Boomin, has become one of spring’s most ubiquitous tunes, peaking at No. 5 on the Hot 100. (It’s held steady at No. 6 for the past three weeks.) Because of its unique instrumentation, the song also, naturally, spawned plenty of memes.
From the ’70s track it samples to other flute-featuring hip-hop cuts to Metro Boomin’s rapidly growing catalog, “Mask Off” has plenty of musical relatives. Hear 10 of them below.
Carlton Williams, “Prison Song”
For “Mask Off,” Metro Boomin sampled “Prison Song,” a cut off the 1978 soundtrack for the musical Selma. The production honored the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and was written by Tommy Butler, who also played King. Castmember Carlton Williams lends vocals to the track’s crackling soul.
Looptroop Rockers & Petter, “Topp Doggz”
Leave it to the Swedes to have pioneered yet another pop trend. “Topp Doggz” samples “Prison Song” and appeared on Den Svenska Underjorden, the 2000 compilation of underground Swedish rap you never knew you were missing in your life.
Felt, “Woman Tonight”
On their 2005 album, Felt — a hip-hop duo comprised of Atmosphere’s Slug and Living Legends’ Murs — enlisted Atmosphere producer Ant to handle the instrumentals. Ant unearthed “Prison Song” for “Woman Tonight,” though his use of the sample downplays the song’s woodwind elements.
Timbaland & Magoo, “Indian Flute”
Felt’s track came as flutes were enjoying a moment in America’s pop mainstream: Jay Z hit No. 18 on the Hot 100 with the flute-sampling “Big Pimpin'” in 2000 and Timbaland — who would soon become one of the most influential producers in the world — distinctively used the instrument on “Indian Flute,” a mesmerizing cut off his 2003 collaborative album with Magoo.
A$AP Rocky, “Goldie”
Hit-Boy (“N—as in Paris,” “Clique”) helmed the boards for the single from A$AP Rocky’s 2013 studio debut. Like “Mask Off,” “Goldie” uses thunderous low-end to lend its wistful flute riff extra oomph.
D.R.A.M. ft. Lil Yachty, “Broccoli”
As breezy and lighthearted as the brooding “Mask Off” isn’t, D.R.A.M.’s viral sensation peaked at No. 5 on the Hot 100 — and reaffirmed that the flute can bring unadulterated joy when called on.
Ka, “That Cold and Lonely”
The Brownsville rapper’s 2016 album Honor Killed the Samurai is packed with noirish beats and detailed narratives that put Future’s “Mask Off” through a more lyrical, atmospheric prism. Thanks to its wily flute sample, the similarity on “That Cold and Lonely” is even starker.
Drake ft. Quavo & Travis Scott, “Portland”
The Canadian rapper has worked with rising beatsmith Murda Beatz on two flute-featuring tracks: his 2016 collaboration with Gucci Mane, “Back on Road,” and this highlight from his latest release, More Life. Quavo’s guest verse suggests the beat could’ve worked well for Migos or even Future himself.
Gucci Mane, “Finesse the Plug Interlude”
“Mask Off” producer Metro Boomin’s fingerprints are on many of hip-hop’s biggest hits, from Migos’ “Bad & Boujee” to Kodak Black’s (similarly flute-featuring) “Tunnel Vision.” But the prodigiously talented 23-year-old is just coming into his own. He produced all of Droptopwop, the May album from trap legend Gucci Mane, and the beats are among his most polished and distinctive yet.
Future ft. Kendrick Lamar, “Mask Off (Remix)”
Lamar’s chilly relationship with longtime Future collaborator and tourmate Drake didn’t stop the Californian MC from hopping on the “Mask Off” remix. And, like previous guests spots on cuts like “Control,” Lamar uses his verse to put the rest of the genre on notice, rapping “How y’all let a conscious n—a go commercial while only makin’ conscious albums?” He even compares himself to a musical icon, declaring that “Prince live through me.”