By now it’s cliche to say that Flohio’s about to be huge. The South London rapper has been tipped by several publications to be the next big thing, on the back of a string of singles and an EP – 2018’s excellent Wild Yout, which saw her battling blown-out production and winning.
What comes through on her debut mixtape No Panic No Pain is her complete devotion to rap. She’s technical without making a whole thing of it, and she’s the kind of rapper whose flows alone will catch in your head.
‘Flash’ is the best track on the tape. “What’s she on me for?” she raps about an over-interested girl on the hook, “Would you let me breathe?” The genuine exasperation in her voice as she adlibs “Just leave me alone!” behind the main vocal is one of the funniest moments in rap this year. The song is great, because it feels like it was written to entertain Flohio and nobody else.
Later in the same track, she raps: “They say I’m way too indie, I could never sell these CDs, that’s a lie.” It’s telling. The pressure of commercialism hangs over No Panic No Pain. It’s not like these songs lack personality – tracks like ‘Roundtown’ and ‘With Ease (ft. Kasien)’ are fun if nothing else – but it’s often difficult to get a clear picture of what drives Flohio, where her passions lie beyond being a great rapper.
It can feel like Unveiled is here to make Flohio a star rather than to show the listener who she is. To be clear, the tape is solid, and Flohio deserves the stardom she’s been tipped for – I just hope that future releases will show more of what makes her unique.