Flo Milli's "Weak" is the sum of everything that makes the 20-year-old, Mobile, AL native a star — and a mainstay on our playlists. It's alluring, catchy, and powerfully bossy. For close to three minutes, the rapper, born Tamia Monique Carter, oozes magnetic, unshakeable confidence as she details a roster of amenable men. And she not only flips SWV's classic love-crazed record of the same name, but she dismisses the trope that men are the dominating figures of hip-hop.
In high school, influenced by Nicki Minaj and OMG Girlz, Flo set out to be a top MC by 18 to avoid college and silence her hater classmates. "In high school, you definitely find yourself; you deal with a lot of criticism, or even a lot of love," she told Vogue. "I dealt with everything, so it just taught me that the only thing that matters is my opinion of myself."
Like many Gen Z musicians, Flo's early success was springboarded via TikTok in 2019. Her sh*t-talking, self-praising spin on Playboi Carti's "Beef" — titled "Beef FloMix" — was an inescapable bop, complete with her signature mean-girl attitude and viral choreo. It was the precursor for her brash debut EP, Ho, why is you here?, where she often borrows from the rap boys and adds fiery feminine flavour. For instance, the hook on "May I" features an interpolation of Snoop Dogg's "Gin and Juice."
On the fun and unapologetic 12-track project released in July, Flo delves into the annoyances and perks of being attractive, mercurial, and almost famous. With a bouncy, fast-rapping delivery, she towers over sparse, twinkling production; her taunting tone and superior disposition (found on tracks like "In The Party," "Like That Bitch," and "Not Friendly") may be intimidating for some. Still, Flo aims to transfer that energy to her fans, not alienate them. "I feel accomplished as long as one person is moved and changed by my music, and feels confident about themselves, then I accomplished everything I needed to," she told Genius.
And her mission is a microcosm of today's landscape of women redefining rap: skilled women exhibiting radical self-acceptance, in charge, and doing whatever the hell they want. Thus, Flo and her authenticity are in good company.
Now, with eyes trained on her every move, and while many artists have slowed their output during the pandemic, there's no telling how Flo Milli will capitalize on her moment. The only certainty is that her star power is primed only to shine brighter.
Black Is The New Black is Refinery29’s celebration of Black women who are changing the game. Black women who are reminding the world that we are not a trend or “a moment.” We’re here — and we’ve been here. Check out the full list.
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