Nigerian-born South London MC, presents us with her debut No Panic No Pain. Following her 2018 EP, Wild Yout which I’d also recommend as a great intro to Flohio and after seeing her open for Lil Simz last year I was extremely expectant to hear what an entire project from her would sound like. The album includes 10 brief tracks with a confessional feel covering topics from death and grief, to heartbreak then crisis and recovery. I love a rap album that doesn’t stick to the conventions, and this project definitely varies from the typical tape in terms of personal subject matter.
If anyone asked me to describe the experience of seeing Flohio live, I’d give them one word: “energy” and upon hearing the outro to the first track ‘FLOFLO!,’ one thing I can definitely say is I am excited to see how this tape translates to the stage once we are allowed to attend live shows again. The grit from her specific south-London flow and quickfire lyrics over experimental basslines cement her influences in electronic sound and creatively convey a range of emotions and feelings. There are a lot of moments of darkness on this project in between the rage and tales of lived experience.
As much as I love Flohio, and her versatility, my one criticism on this project is that it doesn’t really sound like one, but more like a collection of individual songs. Don’t get me wrong, these are great songs and I understand with time and maturity artists can really figure out their sound delivering more cohesive-sounding projects. As a body of work however her growth up to this point is evident and there is room for further exploration.
Header image: Stefon Grant