Watch Flo Milli Spit Bars in an All-Women Cypher and Read Her Interview
Interview: Georgette Cline
Image: Akira Ruiz
Editor’s Note: This story appears in the Winter 2023 issue of XXL Magazine, on stands in December.
The Flo Military, the fan army for Mobile, Ala. rapper Flo Milli, would immediately recognize the woman in Latto and XXL’s all-female cypher as their general. However, today, Flo brings Dirty Floana, a sexy, spicy and sassy version of her four alter egos that wears black leather, shows a whole lot of underboob and dons long, wavy tresses. Flo Ski, a tomboy with dreads; Florence Million, everyone’s favorite with the hair flips; and Flo Jo, an arrogant, in-your-face version of Milli, make up the other three. The monikers she’s given to the other parts of her prismatic personality reflect what she’s been serving in her music for the last five years.
Flo Milli’s rhymes, a fun fusion of self-confidence, brags and flirting, first caught attention with “Beef FloMix,” a 2018 rework of Playboi Carti and Ethereal’s 2015 song “Beef.” Since then, the streaming successes of 2019’s “In the Party” and 2022’s “Conceited” have stayed true to her sound. The 23-year-old rhymer, born Tamia Monique Carter, has packaged her kawaii in the form of her 2020 debut mixtape, Ho, Why Is You Here?, and first album, You Still Here, Ho?, which dropped last year. She’s questioned why the haters keep watching her, realized they were still lurking and now she’s finally letting them enjoy the show. Fine Ho, Stay, Flo Mill’s sophomore LP arriving soon, features the same razzle-dazzle her supporters are fond of, but with some vulnerability in the mix.
Fresh off her Thanks For Coming Here, Ho Tour and armed with a new album, Flo opens up about her new peace of mind, the challenges women in hip-hop face, the importance of loving yourself and why she’s genuinely rooting for other women in the game.
XXL: How do you feel after taking part in Latto’s curated cypher today?
Flo Milli: I’m so glad that we’re able to kind of show that the sisterhood is still alive in female MCs because I remember always watching interviews with Aaliyah, Da Brat, Lil’ Kim and Missy Elliott. They were just so in tune with each other. So supportive. They were all different and they all respected each other. I feel like we have that now in female rap. I’m glad that it’s still here, and I’m a part of it.
What do you think is one of the biggest challenges that women in rap face?
Oh, it’s a lot of them. The biggest challenge is just keeping a sane mind, honestly. You get so exposed to so many people, so many energies sometimes. You don’t know what you’re gonna be exposed to in this industry. So, I feel like the biggest challenges is just not getting distracted. Because you gotta think, a lot of people, we had discipline before we were celebrities and I feel like when we get to the fame, it’s like we so free, we got all this money, we got all these opportunities, we’re meeting people we never had access to before. It’s easy to get distracted. I think that was my biggest challenge, like staying focused and staying with my mind on the goal.
Also, mental health, like learning how to have a counselor or a therapist. That’s very important to have somebody on your own, that you can regulate your emotions with and your issues in life, because it’s not easy. I feel like that was my challenges.
Do you have a therapist?
I just got one a year ago.
Why is that important for you?
I feel like I used to be so against it. So, I could see why the next person would be like, “No, I’m not gonna talk to a random stranger about my feelings,” because that’s how I was. But it’s not even like that. It’s like sometimes you need somebody who’s not attached to the problem, who has an outside perspective. But I would recommend it being somebody that you connect with because it can’t just be anybody. You have to be able to vibe with them.
It’s important because my therapist helps me regulate. She helps me see stuff that I didn’t even know was wrong with me. I’m like, “Wow, you saw that pattern,” and I’m able to catch it, light years ahead. Versus going through traumatic situations to learn what I see, when you could just see, you know? It helps you mature faster, and it helps you to be around the people that are meant to be around you.
Does it help you be a better artist and rapper?
For sure, because if I could get all the dysfunction out of my life, I’m more clear and I’m more focused, and I understand things more.
And you get those bars off.
Yes, for sure. And then it helps me not exert that energy on the internet, anywhere else or on another person.
What is a moment that has happened in hip-hop this year when it comes to women that you were excited about as a fan?
Sexyy Red, I was very excited about her. Because she just reminds me of where I’m from. I just love seeing people that are authentically themselves. And you could tell, like, Damn, she deserve that. I’m always outside looking in on like other artists, and I remember being a new artist and how it felt. And it’s just really important to support those people because I know what I was going through when I was growing up, and it was crazy. So, I only imagine how their mind is changing, how their life is changing. It’s a very traumatic thing to get famous. Not bad. I just think it’s very intense, I would say.
Ice Spice, of course. All of her accomplishments as well, like Met Gala. It’s honestly showing the other rap girls like, Damn, we can reach that, you know what I’m sayin’? All we have to do is just keep working and keep being talented, using the gift that God gave us. She has been popping her s**t with the music and with all the opportunities.
Latto, period. I’ve always been a big Latto fan since I was younger. I was telling [Latto that] my best friend that I used to rap with actually put me on her when we were like 12. Before The Rap Game, I knew about Latto. I told her that. I was like, “Bro, I remember when you was dropping YouTube videos.” And then, when she got on The Rap Game, I got so excited.
I really love Latto’s resilience and the fact that she’s just so hardworking. Every time I see her do something, like just with Christina Aguilera. That was so exciting. Her and Mariah Carey. She’s just always setting the bar high and showing you can be young, and lit, and follow your dreams. To do the things that she has done at her age is just so inspirational. And it’s so great.
Big Leo. Monaleo is just one of a kind. I always tell her like, “Girl, like that pretty face and them bars.” The fact that she was able to have a baby and still bounce back and just look even better and keep going. She dropped the album. She’s continuously dropping great music. I’m really proud of her. That’s my sister.
Do you think there’s an unfair criticism of female rappers who have sexually explicit lyrics when men consistently do the same?
Yes. I feel like it is. And it’s so crazy to me because how dare y’all? After all these years talking about women and other sexual things, say that women are being too oversexualized or whatever they say. I feel like to each his own, you know what I’m sayin’? If a woman is comfortable in her sexuality, who are you to tell her not to be? When it’s men who have been doing that for years and not only that, but degrading women in the process. The fact that we’re uplifting ourselves is a problem for you. It’s just like, boy, y’all not even running s**t anymore. So, obviously, what we’re doing is working. It definitely is a double standard when it comes to that. And if they’re going to be that way towards us, be that way towards them.
With your new album, Fine Ho, Stay, do you feel expectation of meeting any of the marks you did with your past projects: Ho, Why Is You Here? Or You Still Here, Ho?
In this cycle, I’m trying to top my last album. I’m always going to try to give my best foot forward and outdo my old self every time. So, that’s always going to be my goal. But I feel like I’m more so confident, so I haven’t been feeling feelings of like, Oh God, I wonder, because I feel confident in the music. Regardless if people f**k with it or not, I’m proud of the work that I’ve put in, and I know that I’ve put my best foot forward.
Are you being more lyrical or playful with your bars these days?
I have been trying not to be too lyrical. I wanna make people think, but I noticed this with me, I’ve been trying not to be too wordy. Because I’ve noticed with this generation, the attention span is getting shorter and shorter. Even with the apps we have, they’re looking for instant gratification because that’s what we give them every day. So, I’m just thinking about how the mind works and people need to hear something that’s easy to learn.
So, don’t be thinking too much words because that’s not what they on. They just want to have a good time, and that’s really where I’m at. Finding that balance to just still show my talent, but also make it simple and be with the times because, essentially, you have to keep up with what’s going on.
What are you bringing to hip-hop right now that is different from everybody else?
I’m bringing loving yourself again. Not being afraid to be that boss. And you can leave that n***a, if you want to, or you can stay with him. I show different sides of myself, but more so, I stay real with who I am, and that’s how I started out. That’s what gravitated people towards me because I was talking about the stuff I was going through, and then they could relate.
And I enforce being confident all the time in my music. I feel like that helps young women who may not have had role models or a mom or a sister as an example to show them like, you can feel great about yourself and not feel like you have to dim your light because other people are intimidated by you.
Watch XXL Cypher Lab Featuring Latto, Flo Milli, Monaleo, Maiya The Don and Mello Buckzz
Watch Latto, Flo Milli, Monaleo, Maiya The Don and Mello Buckzz Unite for a Real Conversation About Women in Hip-Hop
Watch Behind the Scenes of the Cypher With Latto, Flo Milli, Monaleo, Maiya The Don and Mello Buckzz
Read Flo Milli's interview in the Winter 2023 issue of XXL Magazine, on newsstands now. The new issue also includes the cover story with Latto and conversations with Killer Mike, DD Osama, Maiya The Don, Mello Buckzz, Sexyy Red, BigXThaPlug, plus more. Additionally, there's an exclusive interview with Fetty Wap, Quality Control Music's Coach K and P discuss 10 years into the label's growth, in-depth stories on the popularity of sampling in hip-hop in 2023 and the state of hip-hop touring, and the best moments of hip-hop's year-long 50th anniversary celebration.