Tamia Carter is not your average 20-year-old. Known professionally as Flo Milli, the young rapper from Mobile, Alabama, released a critically acclaimed mixtape and a series of high-production music videos all around the same time she got her braces taken off. She may be young, but if she’s proven anything, it’s that age most definitely does not hinder success.
“This is always where I wanted to be. Like, I don’t think I’m missing out on nothing,” Carter said in an interview with The Daily Californian. “This is what I’ve been thinking about since I was little, so the fact that it’s actually happening is like, hard to fathom honestly.”
Carter discovered her passion for rapping at age 11, but didn’t record her first song in a studio until she was already 17. Inspired by artists such as Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé — whom she hopes to collaborate with someday — her sound has been shaped and uplifted by the music she grew up listening to.
It was just last year that her song “In the Party” blew up on TikTok, a popular content sharing platform that many have grown attached to over quarantine. If you look up Flo Milli’s sounds on the app, you’ll find thousands of fans and avid users in displays of confidence as they mouth lyrics such as “Bitch, I got your man” and more.
“It was kind of funny to me, ’cause like my little sister always will be on TikTok,” Carter said. “It’s dope to see a lot of people dancing to my music and supporting.”
But sometimes being famous comes with its oddly surreal moments, such as the day after Carter’s mixtape, Ho, Why Is You Here ?, dropped over the summer. The artist celebrated her grand release with a trip to The Cheesecake Factory — as one does — and while she was at the restaurant, she heard someone drive by playing her song “Pussycat Doll.”
“Maybe he didn’t know that I was over there,” she said. “I was like, ‘That’s lit as f—.’ You know like, y’all strangers but you’re bumping my s—.”
Long before the mixtape dropped in July, Carter signed to RCA Records, now sharing a label with A-list artists such as A$AP Rocky, Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears.
“You have a lot of dope people behind you, supporting you, pushing what you love,” Carter said. “So it’s always uplifting to just have people that support what you want and see the vision that you see.”
Flo Milli is rising alongside a wave of female artists and game changers redefining rap for the new age.
“I think it’s going to be a fluctuation of female rappers,” she said. “Because we’re getting the recognition that we deserve right now, it’s going to inspire other younger girls, because I know how I was when I was younger — I was watching stuff that wasn’t really showcased. … I’m really proud and glad that I (am) a part of it.”
Flo Milli doesn’t care to just stop at music, however. Tamia Carter has plans: She wants to start acting in movies, and of course modeling agencies better get in line for the industry’s next runway star. The artist also hopes to open her own business and invest — savvy just isn’t a strong enough word.
“I’m a very intuitive person, so I kinda know what’s going to happen — I feel it, I think,” she said. “It’s a very humbling experience and I’m appreciating every step of it.”
Even in pandemic times, Carter is finding it easy to get in touch with her inner artist and create.
“For me, being from a small a— city, I was never able to do a lot because there’s nothing there, so I’m kind of used to it,” she said. “I’m always creating wherever I am because I’ve always had to learn how to be creative where (there is) a lack of creativity.”
Coming up, fans can look forward to more features, more collaborations, more appearances and, hopefully, even some live shows in the future. Not being able to tour has been a challenge, but nothing this young entrepreneur can’t bravely face.
Earlier this year, Carter was sad when she had to get her braces taken off — an unusual reaction for most. A staple of her look since her climb to fame, those braces served a bigger aesthetic purpose than mere alignment — they symbolized her utmost humility, her desire to stick to her roots and be her own unique self.
Flo Milli knows what she wants and she gets it. And in this case, yes, that means she actually did get her braces put back on a few weeks ago.