“Ho, why is you here?” With the delivery of that one line, a reference to Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta‘s Joseline Hernandez and the title of her debut mixtape, Flo Milli has arrived. That one line perfectly encapsulates the color of her artistic profile and the reason why so many of us fell in love with her the first time we heard “Beef FloMix.” Flo Mili’s cadence has been one of the central points of her acclaim; the way she articulates every syllable with a voice that drips with cockiness and swagger is perfect. Her tone is best described as “delightfully bratty mean girl”: she knows she’s better than you in every measure and it’s her quest to make sure that you know that as well. At just 20 years old, her childlike intonation sounds natural in the sense that she’s not forcing it to be a gimmick. Ho, why is you here is an endlessly fun introduction to Flo Milli. The 12-track mixtape proves her versatility, solidifies her talent as a songwriter, and adds much-needed layers to both her image and sonic palette.
The Mobile, Alabama rapper was thrust onto the national radar once “Beef FloMix,” a remix of Ethereal and Playboi Carti‘s “Beef,” gained traction on TikTok — the new Top 40 radio. The song soundtracked hundreds of thousands of videos ranging from lip syncs and short skits to makeup videos and wardrobe transformations. Everyone in the videos tried their hardest emulate Flo Milli’s playfully arrogant demeanor — but no one can pull it off quite like she can. Similarly, “In The Party,” which features the iconic “dicks up when I step in the party,” is bursting at the seams with personality. “Beef FloMix” is the first proper track on the mixtape: a not-so-subtle reminder of how Flo Milli got here and just how far she can go. “Like That Bitch” quickly follows with some of the best rapping we’ve heard from her yet. Produced by J. White Did It, “Like That Bitch” makes ample use of his trademark keyboard-based beats. J. White has produced #1 singles for Cardi B (“Bodak Yellow” and “I Like It”) and Megan Thee Stallion (“Savage“), and his two collaborations with Flo Milli on this tape prove that she is next in line. On “Like That Bitch,” Flo Milli smoothly switches through countless flows as she reminds us that “you look for the clearance rack/I don’t look at price tags/I buy shit with straight cash, bitch, you broke, you financed.” “Like That Bitch” features Flo Milli’s most skill-focused rapping on the mixtape, but it’s not the best J. White Did It production. That honor would go to “Weak,” one of the best rap songs of the year so far.
“Weak” is a crucial record for Flo Milli. Many of her singles (“In The Party,” “Beef FloMix,” “Eat It Up,” “Not Friendly”) have a similar sound: cheerfully bouncy with an undercurrent of tongue-in-cheek hubris. With “Weak,” she adds a new layer to her artistic and sonic profile. The song samples SWV’s classic “Weak,” a song about falling in love for the first time, and flips it into a rebuke of lazy, needy, and broke men. Flo Milli sounds right at home over the sample and she even switches up her tone to evoke the spunk of 90s girl groups like TLC and Destiny’s Child when she delivers the line “Ladies, listen, I ain’t talking ’bout fitness when I say/These niggas weak!” In a similar way, “May I” also broadens Flo Milli’s sonic palette. Built around an interpolation of Snoop Dogg’s seminal “Gin and Juice,” “May I” sees Flo Milli taking part of Snoop’s first verse and transforming it into one of the catchiest hooks on the mixtape. When every song has an excellent hook, “catchy” feels like an understatement. Nevertheless, there’s really no other way to describe how she juxtaposes a fusion of her and Snoop’s cadences against a sparse percussive instrumental.
Other highlights on Ho, why is you here include “Pockets Bigger” and “Send the Addy.” The former shines with the playfully taunting whispers in the hook and bombastic bass while the latter impresses with double entendres like “he tryna cuff but it’s hard to indict me” and “why she only act tough when she with her friends?/Punch a ho, I might as well say I’m clockin’ in.” The beauty of this mixtape is its brevity. Admittedly, the subject matter and general sound can feel redundant, but Flo Milli circumvents this by delivering short tracks and keeping the energy levels at maximum intensity. She never lets up; she spits every line with hunger and conviction. Flo Milli’s debut mixtape does an excellent job in terms of showcasing her potential and crafting a recognizable brand and style. She’s next up. Believe that.
Key Tracks: “Weak” | “May I” | “Pockets Bigger” | “Like That Bitch”