Mad Cobra’s ‘Flex’ hit gets a rebirth courtesy Janelle Monae

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Mad Cobra’s ‘Flex’ hit gets a rebirth courtesy Janelle Monae

Flex, a 1992 hit single by dancehall artiste Mad Cobra, has received a new lease on life.

The song has been sampled by American singer-actress Janelle Monae in her latest single Lipstick Lover.

This is the second single from Monae’s forthcoming album The Age of Pleasure, which is due for release on June 2 via Wondaland Arts Society/Atlantic Records.

It features old-school deejay Sister Nancy on the track The French 75 and Grace Jones on Ooh La La.

Veteran producer and musician Handel Tucker arranged backing vocals for Flex. He also did additional keyboards.

He recalled the recording session for the song that became an international hit for Mad Cobra.

“The session was interesting for me. It was ‘new’ doing something “ballad sounding” for a deejay/dancehall artiste… It resonated personally because, a few days before, unknown to anyone, I had done something which was conceptually the same — a demo for Patra. Diana King was the vocalist who did the demo and it followed the same vibe of doing a ballad-type thing using an artiste to sing and deejay. The session was cool. I did the vocal arrangements with Brian Gold and Chevelle Franklin,” said Tucker.

Drummer Sly Dunbar and Clifton “Specialist” Dillon are also credited on the song, which was recorded at Penthouse studio which at that time, was located on Slipe Road.

Singer Brian Gold spoke about working on Flex.

“Handel send call us and he played the song and said he needed an intro. Myself, Chevelle and Tony Gold came up with what you hear on the track. The vocal session lasted a little over an hour,” said Brian Gold.

He said he wasn’t surprised when Flex took off internationally.

“I knew it was a great song. At the time, the world wanted to hear from Mad Cobra. He was the man at the time,” charged Brian Gold.

Flex was included on Mad Cobra’s major label début album Hard to Wet, Easy to Dry (Columbia Records). The single rose to #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, number one on the Rap Singles chart, and #7 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

Flex was sampled by girl group Fifth Harmony on their 2016 hit All In My Head (Flex). That song peaked at #25 in the United Kingdom, #24 on the Billboard Hot 100, #8 in New Zealand, #9 in Hungary, and #13 in Belgium.

All In My Head (Flex) has been certified gold in Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, while racking up platinum certifications in the United States, Canada, and Australia.