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Flo Mill can really rap. This question was answered as soon as she caught her breath on her first project, Ho, why are you here?in 2020. As anticipation for her following grew, the new question was whether or not she could expand her repertoire, find new topics to rap about, and deepen her emotions — doing the things that separate the good ones or even the bad ones. great rappers from recording artists with longevity in addition to short-term success.
A week ago, Flo Milli posted her long-awaited sophomore project, Are you still there, Ho?, to answer these questions. And while the response may disappoint those who wanted to see artistic growth in the two years since the 22-year-old Mobile, Alabama rapper first captured our attention with her witty raps and bratty charms, the new release doubles down on those qualities to provide an entertaining entry to its growing catalog.
When I first heard Flo Milli she reminded me of my younger sister and the rap battles we had with each other when we were both still in high school, four years old. interval. There was a youthful, carefree quality to Milli’s raps, like a classroom roasting session. The impression was aided by his higher-pitched vocals and sing-song, bouncy rhyming cadence, which was backed by percussive, stripped-down, trap-lite production.
The whole package came together to feature the character of an arrogant teenager rolling her neck and eyes while dismissively mocking your style, presence, and entire approach to life. The closest analog that comes to mind right now is Kyla Pratt’s behavior in those old WNBA commercials in which the then-star confronted WNBA players to brutally list every lacking in their respective approaches to basketball.
On Are you still there, Ho? (even the title is haughty, and I really appreciate the commitment to the brand), Flo Milli maintains that cocky, Regina George-ish character, but tweaks the edges to provide a fresh coat of glistening polish to the whole affair. Where his early beats often sounded like first drafts, from the very first track here, the brash “Come Outside” (as in “I just wanna talk” – as in “we really gon’ beat yo’ ass” ), it’s obvious that more time has been spent fleshing out the sets.
To be honest, it really boosts Flo’s vocals and provocative flow, making her tracks sound like finished songs and not like a kid’s first swing when recording at the local Boys & Girls Club. The addition of melodies – the sitar spun throughout “Bed Time”, the ghostly loops on “Ice Baby” – reinforce its raps, while the more regressive tracks are distracting – the synthetic percussions on “Big Steppa” – are more distracting and eat her vocals out of the mix.
“On My Nerves” marks the smoothest update to Flo’s original sound – sparse, yet upbeat, leaving room for her jabs to land squarely in the middle of their targets’ faces. “You think you’re in the street, but you’re sesame”, she sneers, an excellent example of the discreet spirit of her punchlines. It’s not exactly Shakespeare — and certainly not Jay-Z — but there’s something about the simple humor behind his boasts and mockery that makes them effective and relatable (remember when Lil Wayne said “I’m the bomb like ticking?” Yeah, that’s kind of it). The only missteps are when she tries to sing, like on “Tilted Halo.” That’s not why we came.
If Flo Milli’s music seems aimed more at appealing to college kids than serious hip-hop heads, that’s probably because it is. At just 22, she’s closer to that demographic than she is to Golden Era nostalgists who want to hear “real-life raps” from her. And truth be told, she hasn’t really lived enough life to be worth trying to dig deeper into her life lessons, when socio-political rapping has always been a hard sell for everyone, let alone women. who get into the rap game. She’s young enough to have time to make it happen – maybe two or three projects later – but for now, she’s a girl who just wants to have fun.
And so do many of his listeners. As many stories have been made on the internet about the lack of substance of the contemporary class of female rappers, they are making the music that people want to hear right now. The world is a disaster, women are losing their rights, and the two things we all need, it seems, are a boost of confidence and a break from all the darkness. Sometimes we just want to feel like when we were kids: arrogant, brash, and carefree. Are you still there Ho? let the brat out.
Are you still there Ho? is available now on RCA Records. Get it here.