Flo Milli is darting across the room, chasing her Pomeranian-Chihuahua combine, Sosa. “My canine simply pooped on the ground,” she apologizes. “She’s a handful.” Sosa — as in, “these bitches love Sosa,” like the Chief Keef song — evades her lengthy, manicured grasp till the final second, and Flo turns towards me. “I’m good.”
Darkish, plush barrel curls body her face. She’s identified for rocking ultra-long, straight hair, however at present, as she Zooms me from her room in Atlanta, there’s a bit extra aptitude. Her lashes forged a shadow on her face, and her smile is a pearly-white flash. Within the criminal of her neck, there’s a triple-seven tattoo that she received final yr. “It’s an angel quantity that I fell in love with,” the 20-year-old artist, born Tamia Carter, explains. “It means you’re prepared to return into your religious consciousness. You’re able to grow to be the most effective model of your self potential. It was across the time I used to be waking as much as my larger self, and I felt like getting [the tattoo] there would remind me to all the time be motivated and by no means lose sight of my objective and shit.”
For those who haven’t heard of Flo Milli, ask the closest teen to complete the road “I like money…” They’ll virtually actually reply with a sing-songy “…and my hair to my ass!” — the indelible opening line from her signature music, “Beef FloMix,” a crowd favourite that’s closely utilized in fancams (a reputation for the compilation movies that stan communities use to pay tribute to their favourite celebrities). Her complete profession is a Gen Z dream come true, beginning within the fall of 2018, when “Beef FloMix” started to achieve traction on Soundcloud and Instagram. Subsequent it made its manner onto TikTok, the place it blew up practically in a single day, exhibiting up formally in virtually 20,000 movies, on high of the numerous clips utilizing unofficial snippets of the observe; it’s even greater on Spotify, the place it’s been performed 53 million occasions, and YouTube, the place its video has 10 million views.
“Someday I used to be in school, and the subsequent day I used to be in New York at label conferences,” says Flo, who studied enterprise earlier than leaving faculty and signing with RCA Data. “It was a troublesome transition, however I grew into it very quick. I simply needed to change my mindset.”
Her voice is soft-spoken, with a Southern sweetness that means her Cell, Alabama, roots. “It’s probably not an enormous music scene down there,” she says. “It’s simply loads of older folks. It’s not a lot to do.” There’s an irresistible attraction to her demeanor as she says this. On Twitter, someone joked that she appears like Susie Carmichael from Rugrats “with an perspective” when she raps. It’s a good comparability. When she speaks, her tone has a cool, calm, collected high quality that appears to indicate knowledge past her years; in her music, she provides a juvenile twist, sounding always like she’s exasperated together with her haters, mildly aggravated that they even hassle to try to detract from her shine. It’s ineffective — she’s unstoppable, and allows you to know whereas batting her lashes.
From a really early age, Flo knew she was meant for one thing higher than her small-town roots. “The character I’ve is made for large cities,” she says. “I’ve all the time admired stuff that I seen on TV. I by no means noticed myself staying [in Mobile]. However I positively embrace the place I’m from. I’d not need to be from anyplace else.”
“Beef FloMix” started as a freestyle over Playboi Carti’s “Beef” — a minor hit from 2015 that sounds weary and washed-out in comparison with Flo’s vibrant, convincing remake, which she recorded out of boredom at age 18. She thinks of her music as a manner of reaching out to children just like the one she as soon as was. “I prefer to make enjoyable music the place women might be themselves and be free,” she says. “I by no means actually appreciated highschool, so I’d rely upon music — on the bus, going to highschool, at school. Music was so necessary to me. So I simply needed to offer that again to ladies in highschool.”
Flo Milli’s first full-length mixtape, the amusingly titled Ho, Why Is You Right here?, is filled with witty retorts and punchy pop-trap beats. Her vibe on each observe has a bravado that comes naturally to many of their early twenties, however she additionally has a sure star energy that’s tougher to return by. “It’s all the time necessary to have someone that represents you and someone you’ll be able to take heed to,” she says. “I’m simply being myself, however I’m fairly positive it’s women on the market like me that may relate.” The mixtape is a one-woman present, with no visitor verses — a calculated transfer on her half. “I needed to return out on my own and introduce who I’m as an artist, as a result of loads of occasions folks get caught up within the function factor,” she says. “I used to be like, ‘No, I’m simply going to make it about me first.”
She raps concerning the scrumptious feeling of being newly profitable: “They be like, ‘How she 19 with a coupe and the roof gone?’” she muses on “Pockets Larger,” a quick observe that makes probably the most of her supercilious lilt. On “Not Pleasant,” she tantrums in opposition to the faux and the hateful, smirking all over: “Not finna play with you hoes/I received a fuckboy glow.” Her assured rap voice and the silly-serious power of her lyrics makes for a surprising debut, and suggests she’s right here to remain. It’s apparent that she already has a Drake-level penchant for catchy phrases that work completely as Instagram captions (“I ain’t even let ’em hit it, received ’em sprung with only a friendship,” “I might by no means sweat him just like the weave in my head,” “I’m makin’ M’s, I ain’t received no time to make no enemies.”) It’s virtually tragic that the venture was launched throughout a time the place there’s a scarcity of events to prepare for, a scarcity of membership pregames, and fewer congregations of girlfriends than ever. Even so, listening to Ho, Why Is You Right here? is an uplifting expertise. The mixtape has an undeniably enjoyable, female, pinball-machine high quality to it that’s arduous to not love.
Rising up, Flo was impressed by Nicki Minaj’s music. (For reference, Minaj’s debut album, Pink Friday, was launched in 2010, the yr Flo turned 10 years previous.) “She’s on high, for actual,” Flo says. “I’ve loads of respect for her due to how lengthy she’s been within the recreation. She made her mark, no matter what anyone needs to say. I feel it’s necessary that women these days present homage to her, as a result of can’t no one say that she didn’t encourage loads of these rap women. Nicki was positively the one one doing it.”
Songwriting has all the time come simply to Flo, ever since highschool. “Generally I meditate on it. Generally I’m simply vibing within the studio and it simply comes collectively,” she says. “My artistic course of is me on my own. I prefer to be bizarre. I’m a really non-public particular person in relation to my music. In order that’s what my writing course of is. Simply lighting a bit blunt, and writing for a minute.” You may hear her self-satisfaction when a punchline rolls off her tongue, and within the assured laughter that rings out on virtually each observe.
Her current single “Weak,” which samples the 1992 SWV music of the identical identify, seems like an instantaneous traditional. Flo manages to sum up the observe’s message in a single scoff of a bar: “I’ve been in my bag/Don’t received time to be in my emotions.” That’s an correct reflection of her real-life philosophy: She prefers to maintain folks at an arm’s size whereas she develops her profession. “I don’t assume I’m actually introverted,” she says. “I choose and select who I give my power to. That’s how I’d describe it, as a result of you’ll be able to’t all the time be accessible to everybody. That’s the way you lose your spark. You bought to all the time keep scorching.” Similarly to TLC’s “No Scrubs,” “Weak” condemns the thirsty hordes of males who relentlessly pine for her love and a spotlight — chiming with the ever-popular sentiment that “males are trash” in girls’s discourse.
Flo says she retains her guard up particularly excessive in relation to males. “They all the time assume I don’t know what’s up,” she laughs. “N—-s simply be daring typically. They don’t even be figuring out what they speaking about typically. However you’ve received to know [that] you’re the prize, you’re the chooser. In the case of girls, particularly black girls, we should always know we’re the choosers. We determine whether or not we wish you or not. It’s not you deciding on us, as a result of 9 occasions out of ten, loads of these males…” She pauses. “I ain’t going to get on that subject, however . what it’s.”
“Weak” is considered one of her favorites on the mixtape. She’s additionally keen on “Ship The Addy,” a bouncy standout that swaaangs and squeaks with a easy piano and percussion beat. “After I say, ‘He like once I name him daddy,’” she raps to me, letting the Y sounds fly upwards. “I like that half, as a result of it’s simply so instantaneous. I used to be actually in my bag on that half.” She grins.
Right now’s rap scene contains extra common girls artists than probably ever, and so they’ve been met with the sort of nitpicking that not often confronts males within the business. The concept that there’s an excessive amount of give attention to intercourse and cash within the style is widespread. Take the controversy that got here with the discharge of Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP,” drawing loads of critique on-line — particularly, from men and right-wing pundits. Flo’s reply to those critics is easy: “Fuck them. They’re not placing cash in our pockets on the finish of the day. They don’t know what the hell feminine rappers have been via. We already principally don’t get taken severe as a result of we’re females. I feel it’s low-key insecurities. I see straight via it, and I really feel they’re simply fucking mad that we’re doing this shit higher than them.”
Flo, who has loads of love for “WAP,” continues: “Cardi and Megan and all these women within the video, no one is aware of what they’ve been via. No person is aware of the struggles that they went via, to make them the best way they’re,” she says. “Who the fuck are they to guage? No-fucking-body.”
It’s a bizarre time to be a rising star, however Flo has been passing quarantine by watching movies on YouTube (“Actually, YouTube is the most effective factor invented”), posting on TikTok, and specializing in her craft. “I took a bit small break, however I’m able to work once more and get again within the studio,” she says. “I don’t need to be not working for too lengthy, as a result of we received a objective right here. We are able to’t simply cease.” She’s taking this time to strategize for her subsequent venture and work together together with her followers extra. “I’m developing with a recreation plan on the right way to work round quarantine,” she provides. “I’ll be completely satisfied when it’s fucking over, so I can truly be a daily artist once more. However for now, I simply need to simply get extra visuals out.”
She’s additionally excited to collaborate extra with different artists, beginning together with her current function on a remix of “Boys Ain’t Shit” by SAYGRACE, one other RCA signee. The unique observe is a TikTok mainstay, so it’s a sensible transfer. “Positively for the subsequent venture I need to be much more versatile, however nonetheless hold what my followers love,” she says. “It’s going to be manner higher.”
I ask if she will image a world the place she didn’t grow to be Flo Milli. She thinks for a second. “I don’t know,” she says. “I can’t even think about not turning into her.” She’s all the time needed to be well-known, and she or he knew she can be, a technique or one other. “I’d nonetheless be within the music business not directly, or simply the [entertainment] business, interval,” she says. She might’ve been an actress, or possibly a dancer or a mannequin — however she was all the time going to be within the highlight. “I needed to be all of it collectively. I nonetheless do. I simply all the time knew at a younger age, ‘I’m not speculated to be doing something common.’”