I first discovered Flo Milli when her track “Beef FloMix” went viral on Twitter after being used in several fancams—my favorite example being one of filmmaker Rian Johnson. From then on, Milli’s name had my attention. Her schoolgirl-esque voice, lilting “I like cash and my hair to my ass,” has been stuck in my head all year. The track follows an intro on her debut mixtape Ho, why is you here? and sets up the rest of the project perfectly, “Beef FloMix” showcases Milli’s talented wordplay and bubblegum-induced production; her words cut deep as a knife, akin to schoolyard taunts that stick with you throughout your adolescence. The mixtape’s title comes from one of Love and Hip Hop star Joseline Hernandez’s many infamous disses, and allows the record to revel in the luxury of being a bad bitch.
Following the standout viral track is “Like That Bitch,” in which Milli continues to jab at her haters with manicured fingers, letting them know that they can’t even dream of comparing to her. She taunts, “Even if I broke my leg and used a crutch / I walk around like that bitch.” Later, during “In The Party,” Milli raps, “Yeah, dicks up when I step up in the party / Yo main dude wanna feel on my body / And if I take him, bitch, I won’t say I’m sorry.” Milli is admirable in her confidence and swagger, especially considering she’s only 20 years old. She raps like she’s been doing it for decades, insults rolling off her tongue quicker than the beat can process, more masterful than many of her peers.
Ho, why is you here? is about getting what you want, and not giving a fuck about the people who try to stand in your way. Over a heady, slick beat on “Pockets Bigger,” Milli vocalizes, “I’m passin’ ‘em up / I know they mad but I don’t give a fuck.” She blatantly doesn’t care about anything but making money and being a bad bitch, and it’s a refreshing continuation of women in rap unabashedly putting themselves first (hi, “WAP.”) She’s also constantly boasting about her fighting skills, like on “Pussycat Doll”: “Bitch, I never gave a fuck / Run up on me, you gon’ be outta luck / These bitches thinkin’ they tough / Ho, don’t make me call your bluff.” She spits these lyrics so quickly and with such devastating confidence that there’s simply no room to ponder their legitimacy.
Flo Milli’s latest work is a boost of energy that this lethargic, anxiety-fueled year needed. Her sound is fresh and her mouth is lethal. Listening to Ho, why is you here? makes me feel how watching Bad Girls Club did—like I was the shit and nobody could fuck with me. In high school, I wasn’t a bully, but I made sure nobody tried me. I was one of maybe three Black people at my school, and had to solidify my place there in the only way I knew how: by making people afraid of me. I would scrap in the hallways, get in Twitter beef, and tell people to make sure they wore sneakers to class the next day. My hair was always up, and I was ready to fight to make sure nobody played with me. Flo Milli has ignited a little spark of my old teenage self, shining a light onto my past self who walked through the halls like a wolf ready to sink my teeth into anybody I saw as a predator. Ho, why is you here? creates an air of luxury around actions that are usually deemed unprofessional and “ratchet.”
As a 22-year-old who’s still reeling from my adolescence, Flo Milli allows me to look back on schoolyard jabs and split lips with fondness rather than disdain. While the mixtape’s lyrics consist of the same subject matter, by no means does it make the record weak. The anticipation of how Milli will drag her next victim beats any semblance of boredom. And the production on each track is always different then the next, a difficult thing to come by given the prevalence of standard trap beats in the current rap scene. Whether it’s bells, heavy bass, or warped steel drums, you can be sure Milli will be spitting over a fresh beat.
On her first full project, it’s evident Flo Milli is here to stay, and nobody’s going to get in her way. But, if they try, they’d better tread lightly, because if her bite is anywhere near as strong as her bark, it might be lethal.
By Kaiya Shunyata
Photo by Munachi Osegbu for Complex