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AMIDST A CULTURE OF ONE-HIT WONDERS, FLO MILLI IS A LASTING STAR IN RAP

 

FINE FLO, STAY… AMIDST A CULTURE OF ONE-HIT WONDERS, FLO MILLI IS A LASTING STAR IN RAP

Three years ago, Flo Milli was one of the most promising young rap stars, with her breakout songs flooding TikTok, and her name a new whisper in everyone’s mouths. She has been steadily producing music since then, and through her music, we’ve gotten to know her as a baddie who a) is confident and knows she’s bad, and b) doesn’t GAF about anything but money (especially not men). Her first project, a mixtape titled  Ho, Why is you here? and her first hits like “In the Party” showed that she clearly knew how to mix up a classic baddie anthem, with one part witty jabs and one part party beats, and a little Flo Milli spice on top, adding a extra kick of blunt & assertive. Her debut album You Still Here, Ho? seemed to reach past her first, and probed into R&B and her feelings in a rare display of vulnerability. Her upcoming album, slated for release soon, titled Fine Ho, Stay promises a complexity we haven’t yet seen from Flo, with the creation of four alter egos. In a conversation with Flo, she tells us all about the four alter egos on her new album, the meaning behind the Ho album titles, and how she manifested her success at age 10.

Where did the first Ho, Why is you here? come from, and how did that become a whole series?

 It was kind of a random thing. When I first came up with the name, I wasn’t thinking about, what’s gonna be the next thing after that? It was more so, in the moment, I didn’t know it was gonna be as big as it was, and my thinking in my 19 year old brain, was like, what’s a title that can get the most attention, so that they listen to the songs? And I thought of Ho, Why is you here? Listening to reality TV and watching that stuff, that’s kind of how I came up with it.

The first album, I felt like I was showing the world just a sight of who I was. With the second one, we decided to keep [the Ho series] going because of the meaning behind it. Whenever me and my manager talk, we always try to think about the deeper meaning behind the stuff that I do. So with the internet always talking about why I’m not as famous as they think I should be, or whatever critics or whatever that people say, it’s like, okay, why is you here, hoe? You still here? Regardless if you’re hating, whether you love me or not, like you’re still here. So that was the reason behind why we named the second album that. Then with Fine Ho, Stay, you know, that’s kind of a cute little joke.

And the hoes are here to stay! So who is Flo Milli— is it a persona, or your true personality?

I will say both. But if I was to tell you I’m Flo Milli 24/7, I would be lying. Because it really depends on the day, what I’m feeling, where I’m at, what phase I’m in. That’s also the reason why I’m actually introducing more versions of myself— it’s always been there, but it’s me showing the world that there’s not just one element to me. I have different personalities and different moods. So yes, I would say she’s both me to my core, and also an alter ego at the same time.

Is everything you rap about something that’s actually happened to you?

Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Everything I rap about is real. That’s how I started rapping, showing my personality. 

You’ve said that getting ragged on in high school was a big motivation for you to start making music. Does that still motivate you now, and what other motivations drive you?

I’m never going to be in the same mindset that I was in. I feel like I’m constantly growing and evolving. So of course, my goals from five years ago, I’ve reached them so I have different goals and different inspirations. So I’m definitely not thinking about my high school friends or peers or haters right now. Now, it’s on a bigger level. I have haters in the world. So that’s my inspiration, to prove them wrong. Or just prove to myself, honestly, growing as an artist. It’s just on a bigger level now. It’s like, I’ve accomplished this now. What’s next? What’s next? 

So the feeling of proving people, the world, wrong is a big part of your motivation.

Yes, all the time. I don’t think it’ll ever stop being a part. Let’s just say, the way I am is because of the experiences I’ve been through. Even before I was famous, anytime somebody betrayed me, or did something I didn’t like, or doubted me or anything, I had this little voice in the back of my head, like I’m gonna show you. And it was a determination that grew inside of me. It’s always there. So I don’t think that’ll ever stop being a motivating feeling, because it’s such a good feeling to prove somebody wrong.

What has your experience being a female rapper been like? Are there some things that happen with female rappers, that male rappers don’t have to go through?

Oh, yeah. Anything sexual, they act like that’s the end of the world. Just overly judging us. It’s like we’re under a microscope, because female rappers are getting more noticed and notoriety. I feel like now we’re more criticized…but I think every artist is regardless of female or male in their own way. Of course, pitting us against each other. That’s another one. And the expectations are very high for artists. If you don’t put out albums back to back, they think, Oh my God, it’s over. You know what I’m saying? But now it’s like, they expect so much, so much quality in such a short time. People’s attention spans are shorter, so it’s more pressure on us as artists to produce. But I feel people should understand that artists need time to go through stuff, to experience life, to even have something to talk about. And there’s a lot of other stuff, that I think other girls can relate to, because I’ve talked to other girls and they’ve said they’ve been put through the same things.

How did your ideas and thoughts develop, from the end of your last album to the beginning of work on this one?

I basically analyzed what I didn’t like about my second album and my first album. And I told myself, okay, this is what I’m going to pick up, this is where I’m going to do better. And that’s what I did on this album, you know, make sure I was 100% happy with the body of work.

Can you tell us a bit about the alter egos we can expect to see on Fine Ho, Stay?

It’s about my different personalities, I wanted to show four different sides of myself. Some of these names my fans came up with, but some of them I came up with. So one is Florence Million. That’s the pop, but girly girl. She’s very classy. Very into herself, spoiled, all that. And she’s the girl I am when I’m on pop records. I think everybody’s familiar with Florence Million? Well, that’s her. And then I have Flo Ski, who has dreads— you probably seen her in the Flo Milli video that I did recently— and she’s like a skater girl, like very cool, laid back. She likes to smoke weed and chill with the guys, like very calm and serene. And she’s, you know, if I had to put her to a style of music, it would be like go-with-the-flow, like very chill, laid back, kind of hippie vibes. 

And then, Dirty Floana is, like, very sexual, very cunt, kind of revengeful. Like, if I had to give her a zodiac sign, she’s a Scorpio. And I would maybe refer to her as the female Future. (But, you know, all of these alter egos are just being introduced, so you guys are just gonna get a taste of it now. Over time, you know, I’ll show more.) And then the last one is Flo Jo, which is the hood girl from Mobile, Alabama, who pops her shit, doesn’t care what nobody has to say, she has grills, long forty inch weave in, and she’s really my favorite one. 

So you’re also into manifestation and speaking things into existence. Did you manifest becoming a big rapper?

Yes. So crazy, because I was in a studio yesterday with my engineer, and he was laughing about this because I showed him my first song I ever wrote. And I started when I was younger, I knew I wanted to be a rapper at the age of 10. So since I was 10, I kind of just spoke it out into the universe, not knowing what I was doing. I didn’t know anything about manifestation or what that was. I just knew what I wanted to be. And I remember a lot of people didn’t really believe it, because in 2010, female rappers were hot but it wasn’t 100% accepted, like how it is now. So anytime I told anybody that, they would just burst out laughing or just not take it serious. So I stopped telling people, and I just started speaking in my room, every night. When I would go to bed, I would just pray and ask God for it every day. Like it was to the point where, I would make it seem like if I didn’t have this, I would not live, I would not survive. That’s how it felt. 

I was telling him about this one girl I was friends with in the seventh grade. We used to talk about being famous and we used to write out autographs in science class, and then we would pass it out to everybody in the hallways, like, this is gonna be worth millions of dollars one day. And then literally, when “Beef” came out, she found my Instagram, that same girl, and I had not talked to her in years, but she sent me pictures of the autographs. I was surprised she still had that stuff, but that is what I used to do. Like not even realizing that I was manifesting, but I was pretending that I already had it.

 

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Source: https://www.ladygunn.com/cover-story/amidst-a-culture-of-one-hit-wonders-flo-milli-is-a-lasting-star-in-rap/

 

Credits:

Story // JoAnn Zhang

Photos // Abi Polinsky

Styling // Phil Gomez

MUA // Corey Rodriguez

Hair // Ricky Wing

Set construction design // Dan Prosky

Set construction assistant // Vaughn Cummings 

Photo Assistant // Mason Fox

 Cover // Pearl Zhang

November 28, 2023 — Victoria Velandia

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