Flocko Da Finessa Talks Growing Up in Long Beach, Going on Tour with Cypress Moreno and Fenix Flexin, and More
He’s created his own sound, partly inspired by traveling to Louisiana as a kid.
FlockoDaFinessa, 24, is an up-and-coming rapper from Long Beach, California. Recently I pulled up to a Long Beach warehouse Flocko had picked for a private first interview. He greeted me in the parking lot upon arrival, with good vibes and mellow energy.
Flocko’s music has been picking up notoriety around his hometown and the city of Los Angeles since he dropped his debut single, “El Flocko Guzman,” in December 2022. Since then, he’s been on a pursuit to put his name on the map and his stamp on the California music scene.
Flocko was born in Long Beach but moved to Bellflower briefly when he was a kid. He grew up in a middle class family of seven, with five siblings. Flocko’s father is originally from Louisiana and his mother is from West Virginia. He grew up in California but spent his summers in Louisiana, which has inspired his music. “One of my favorite rappers is Soulja Slim. It show you a different vibe,” he says. Louisiana became a second home for him. “I liked traveling out there cuz it kinda made me my own person. You get a different type of lingo, different swag, you listen to different artists and shit, I fuck with it.”
Flocko was introduced to music at a very young age riding around in his older brother’s car. “My big brother was like the next Biggie Smalls, so when I was a young n***a, I used to try to ride around with him. He used to be like, ‘rap little n***a.’ I used to be like, ‘I can’t rap. He’d be like, ‘Everybody can rap.’ So I started freestyling. But I’m young, I’m asking him like, ‘Can I cuss?’ That type of young.”
Flocko is also proud of his deep roots in Long Beach. He says that makes him stand out from others. “It’s the most unique kinda wave. We got our own style, you already know off the top it’s a Long Beach n***a you talking to. Real cool creative type deal, get active. So it’s a smooth-ass city to grow up in,” he explains. “It’s bullshit up in this muthafucka too though, it get live, don’t get caught loafin’ around this muthafucka, but it gives you your own type of swag.”
Although he had the things he needed, he didn’t always have exactly what he wanted. “I took it into my own hands to try to get it. They wasn’t buying Jordans and shit … my dad was a country-ass n***a, he woulda had me going to prom in a Dickies suit, if he could,” he jokes.
At the age of 15, Flocko was introduced to one of the many hustles the streets had to offer. “Like 15 I started — shit, I was a robbing-ass n***a. A lot of n***as wanna gangbang, I was tryna figure out how to get some money. That’s my whole little logic to this shit.”
Long Beach has its fair share of gang culture, but the politics are unique. Like my hometown of Bakersfield, Long Beach’s active gang members are predominantly Crips that beef with other Crips. Flocko agrees. “It’s all crips out here, it’s the city of blue, nothing but Crips around this muthafucka, Crips fonkin with Crips,” he says.
Although there are ties to street politics in his household, Flocko says he was able to avoid actually being part of a gang. “My brother had a big influence on a n***a. He was gangbanging and my other brother was like a big dope dealer … I kinda seen how it played out with my brother with that gangbanging shit, so a n***a was like, ‘Naw I’m not tryna take that route.”
Flocko admits he had to do what he had to do to survive, but never allowed it to go too far, thus far keeping him out of trouble with the law. “By the grace of God, that’s one thing I never did: I never got locked up. That’s why I’m the finessa, you gotta learn how to uh, get outta there, use them feet,” he said seriously.
In his teenage years, he continued to hustle but always knew the consequences of his actions might catch up later. “I done had my life-threatening moments where it was like, ‘Damn bruh. You got to switch up your feng shui. But at the same time, you gotta take it the way it come, you know what you signed up for.’ I take it in strides, everything that happened to a n***a kinda made a n***a who he is today. I love it all.” He tried to pick rapping back up in 9th grade, but kept having issues. “Every time a n***a tried to do it I had run-ins with weird-ass engineers and weird stuff happening,” he says. His brother had a homemade studio in the closet and was one of the first people to encourage him to continue. “My brother Tee was one of the first n***as that was like, ‘aye bro, you can kinda do this rap shit, you just gotta stay focused, all this other shit you be on, can’t be on that.’ A n***a would take it serious for a little bit, but, shit, yo pockets hurtin — it’s like, ‘man, fuck this music shit, this shit ain’t what’s payin,’” he says.
Flocko then turned to the streets, but, in the words of the late rapper Young Slo-Be, “the streets broke my heart n***a 1000 times, so you better watch yo back on that front line.” It’s not always the best move. “A n***a would get on some bullshit, but this last time around, it just got too close, I’m like, ‘you know what, n***a gotta switch this shit up, or ima fuck around and die out here.’” So I was like ‘ima take this shit serious.’ For anybody tryna start this shit, stay consistent, stay down for the come up, that shit will happen foreal foreal.”
These days he records in LA, and he hopes to collaborate with bigger artists in the city. One of the people on his list is AsmDaBkopster, a viral rapper from the Harlem 30s whom I interviewed last year. Flocko has also linked up with the popular LA producer Cypress Moreno. “For the record, you’re a real n***a, Cypress. That n***a took a n***a on tour like the first month I met the n***a, and that’s when I started to see this shit can get real.” Like most things in the entertainment industry, one thing led to another. “I went on tour with that n***a Fenix Flexin. He a solid n***a, he took a n***a and embraced a n***a with the whole team. It just started going up. I was like, ‘Ima get in my rap bag.’ So a n***a been in the studio everyday, tryna get this shit right.”
Now, Flocko is focused on getting his music in the right ears. Over the years, he’s learned what it takes to survive in these cold, treacherous streets and strives to not let history repeat itself. “Stay focused, whatever the fuck you do, you gotta stay consistent long enough to see the muthafuckin progress,” he says. “I used to make music just for me to ride along to. You never know who you’re gonna bump into that could change your whole little feng shui.”