The Future is in the Air: Flohio
33 years ago, Nike introduced visible Air with the Air Max, setting new standards by shattering existing ones. This season we're highlighting the athletes, artists and challengers who are doing the same. The Future is in the Air.
In the early 2000s, grime music emerged in London as a response to the harsh reality of urban life. The genre is a sonic mixture of reggae and jungle-influenced beats with an emphasis on rapid-fire, street-life lyrics. The gritty sound represents the anti-establishment attitude and rebellious style of London's urban youth and their uniform: a tracksuit and a pair of Air Max.
Now, rappers like Flohio are taking the DIY creativity and relentless hustle of traditional grime to create the future of the genre. The 27-year-old South Londoner makes music that channels the feeling of the early 2000s but sounds distinctly original. We talked to her about her commitment to DIY creativity, her tight-knit community and how the Air Max still resonates with her generation.
Nike: What would surprise people about the steps you took to become the rap artist you are today?
Flohio: Growing up, everyone's got hobbies—something you do after school. Music was one of those hobbies for me. I was just playing around and finding what interested me. I stuck to it, and then it grew, and now we're here.
Nike: When music became more than just a hobby, what were your expectations for the future?
Flohio: It's about being in the moment, getting better. Having fun. What I could see was like, "Man, if I'm gonna do this, I want to do it on a larger scale than whatever I'm doing right now".
I live by the code "Do it yourself". No one is going to do it for you. I like knowing I could get it done myself.
Nike: How much does the idea of community play a role in what inspires you?
Flohio: My community just so happens to be this creative bunch I met in Bermondsey. It was a tight-knit community. It even became much tighter when we were jamming and everyone was creating together. It became a family where we shared dreams together and it's such a beautiful thing when you can share dreams with people. I think that's what made the journey nice because there's a whole group of us running for this. You know, we'll go to the shows together. We'll do everything together.
Nike: Can you talk about coming from a self-reliant, DIY place? What's that like? What's the feeling of making something from nothing?
Flohio: My dad loved making stuff with his hands. So, growing up, I always wanted to get my hands dirty. When I was at school, I was asking, "When is art happening? When is drama happening? When is something happening where we're not all looking at the board?" Music is such a hands-on job for me. I can't do something that I'm not a hundred and ten percent fully embodied in. Mate, I live by the code, "Do it yourself". No one is going to do it for you. I like knowing I could get it done myself and the satisfaction of figuring it out.
Nike: The classic grime look from the 2000s, from the Nike tracksuits to the Air Max 90, is still as popular today as it was back then. Why does that look still resonate with your generation?
Flohio: It's going to resonate forever. I was wearing a pair of Air Max the other day and it made me think about the Cabrini Old School J.D. days. It was such a rich culture. You'd have boys playing football on the playground in the Air Max. Same for the girls, you know, at the park with lollipops, chains and Air Max. It was just a vibe. The Air Max represents mad youth. And everyone had a pair of Air Max, and if you didn't, then you're the odd one out, legit. You weren't going to stop until you got your Air Max.