A clear sense of lyrical and stylistic integrity characterises one of the standout rap albums of the year
Having built a following with the past few years’ singles and mixtapes, Flohio brings confidence and versatility to her debut album alongside innovative production and catchy hooks. Out Of Heart is a relatively short release with tightly packed songs, focusing on topics like perseverance and self-discovery, and it’s hard to imagine a better introduction to her sound.
Opening track SPF (no connection to sunscreen) is perhaps the record’s most immediate song with old school electro elements and melodic earworms, and Speed Of Light cranks up the energy and the attitude for a full-on trap banger (“really I’ve been way too nice, don’t you turn me to a killer”). The latter fleetingly refers to Flohio’s faith, which becomes more explicit over the bouncing kickdrums of Leash (“Lord forgive me for my sins, all of my demons on a leash”) and informs the section of Cuddy Buddy on temptations of various sorts.
Late Set’s repetitive mellotron riff creates a similar vibe to A$AP Rocky and Skepta’s Praise The Lord (Da Shine), while Feel Alive borrows from vintage grime with its alien synth notes and zapping snare, a modern-day transatlantic update on the sound that was once claustrophobically site-specific. Unfortunately the album’s only guest appearance detracts from the project, as Hawa’s wheedling The-Dream-esque tones fail to impress.
Out Of Heart is broken up around halfway through by the piano-driven Yellow Diamond Interlude, a nice mellow addition to the tracklist, and L.M.P.M amps up the drama with sonorous bass, verses about personal tribulations and knotty, intricate flows. Throughout this eventful record Flohio keeps a clear sense of lyrical and stylistic integrity, and by the time Against The Grain’s glitchy percussion cuts out to reveal solitary reverbed chords we’re left with one of the standout rap albums of the year.