Kid Cudi and Carey Mulligan Help Explain the Appeal of Flutes on “SNL”

Specifically, a "Weird Little Flute"

"SNL" on flutes
These guys know that the right flute sound can transform a song.

Over the years, a number of beloved hip-hop songs have made memorable use of a riff played on a flute. What’s the secret of this particular recipe for musical success? On this week’s Saturday Night Live, cast members Chris Redd and Pete Davidson were joined by musical guest Kid Cudi and host Carey Mulligan — plus another guest (and previous host of the show) whose appearance was an unexpected delight.

The song featured in the sketch is both a send-up of hip-hop songs using flute samples and a pretty solid example of the form. (Typing this, I am literally unable to get the sound of the flute riff out of my head. It’s an earworm.) The video also features a few nods to songs that have memorably used flutes in the past, including the Beastie Boys’ “Sure Shot.”

Though it’s about a weird little flute, this sketch has no small amount of weird little moments throughout, including Redd using flutes to eat ramen and Kid Cudi in full Gryffindor regalia. It’s a knowing parody that’s perfectly catchy on its own; that’s not a bad way to spend 3 and a half minutes.

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