If you listened to and believed the hip-hop gatekeepers, influencers, and bloggers (whose reviews read like thinly disguised PR campaigns) from the past few months, you’d be sold on the narrative that 2020 was Megan Thee Stallion’s year. While she doesn’t really have the album sales to back up this claim, illustrious co-signs from the likes of Cardi B and Queen Bey certainly help make this argument convincing in the eyes of the general public. Plus, having every conservative commentator in the country criticizing the validity of your wet ass pussy is always a positive boost. But considering the lack of major label competition she faced this year — with the more taciturn Tierra Whack and bohemian Rico Nasty, Megan’s 2019 XXL Freshman contemporaries, staying relatively quiet in comparison (Doja Cat was too busy being canceled for the past few months to be up for consideration) — and how quickly those in the media were willing to endorse the Stallion enterprise wholesale, her ascension has often felt like a forgone conclusion, one that’s been accelerated as the genre has felt continued (and not undeserved) pressure to include more women into the national conversation. Enter a new challenger to the throne, one who’s a little less conventional but just as commanding: Alabama’s Flo Milli, the greatest shit-talker in the game who doesn’t reside in Detroit, Michigan. She’s funny, confident, rude, wacky, dexterous, and delirious; all of the qualities (and then some) needed to make compelling rap music. Take the breezy “In The Party,” with its bouncing piano line and effortless swagger, which has gems such as “Family don’t like the way that I’m living/But they didn’t raise me, so fuck they opinion,” or the “Gucci Bandana” interpolating “Not Friendly” that practically buckles under the weight of her sheer aplomb — no matter the situation or mood, Flo Mili is here to leave her mark. The title of her debut mixtape sums up this ethos best by posing a question, one in a tone that’s both aggressive and flippant, to those still doubting: Ho, why is you here?
Published as part of Top 25 Albums of 2020 — 10-1.