Flo Kennedy, a 22-year-old emcee from Harlem, is cultivating an air of vulnerability and passion that in turn is resulting in some of her most creative and honest work to date.

While her new EP, titled The He(art), has been a long time in the making, her debut collection of tracks makes for an impressive and cohesive body of work that very well could be her fifth or sixth project, further proving that to label her as a newcomer in the music scene is a bit of a disservice, although it is true she is just getting started. Polishing her music with her background in poetry, the emphasis on this EP undeniably is her strong and intriguing lyricism.

Through the project’s eight tracks, Flo is figuring out who she is as an artist through her artistry itself, creating a refreshing experience for the listener and doing so with an underlying confidence that one can’t help but commend. Her EP features themes of exploring individuality while fighting demons and vices, and working to overcome hardships through embracing love, friendship and blessings, all through her music.

For fans of conscious lyricism matched with smart production, Flo Kennedy is an artist more than worthy of keeping tabs on as she continues to grow as an emcee and live performer.

How long have you been doing what you do? How did you get started?
I’ve been doing poetry for 11 years and music for seven years. What got me started with poetry was my 6th grade English teacher discovering my written words and putting me on spot to perform it in front of my classmates. The love I received back made me pursue it more. Around 14, that’s when I appreciated music more; hip hop especially. I discovered Lupe Fiasco‘s The Cool album and was so amazed by it that, I learned every song lyric and knew that I was destined to do music. I was destined to be a lyricist.

Is there an early memory you’d like to share about getting into your craft, such as when you realized this was more than just a hobby or a passion?
I believe I was in the ninth grade around this time, but I had signed up to be a part of my high school’s talent show. I automatically became scared s*itless to do it solo, so I gathered a few of my classmates who I knew rapped and asked to put together a cypher. When I proposed the idea to them they all agreed and let’s just say, by the end of the cypher, we all received a standing ovation. That memory was the most reassuring moment to let me know that this is what I’m supposed to be doing.

How do you describe your sound/ what you do to people you haven’t heard before?
What I personally try to convey through my sound is just pure vulnerability or “catchy with a concept.” Period. I don’t want anyone to label me as a “conscious rapper,” “trap rapper,” etc. I create what just feels good. Most recently, I’ve had people willingly announce to their masses “Flo is definitely not just a ‘FEMALE RAPPER’ do not label her as that. She’s a powerful artist.” When I see stuff like that, I know I’m doing something right. My goal was to not be labeled and confined into a certain box.

Who are your influences? What is some advice that has stuck with you?
My current influence is the circle that I keep around me, who happens to be my brothers from another mother; Khalil and Laze E. Nell (whom are featured on my new EP). Being around them has inspired me to always keep my childlike imagination alive at all times. They’ve also taught me that I can only do my best and if I fail, who cares, because ironically failure molds you to become a better you.

What do you hope people take away from listening to your music?
I just want people to simply recognize the vulnerability and passion.

What was your creative process like for this project?
The creative process took a little over a year. From the concepts down to the production, my mind was all over the place. It wasn’t until the last month of me living in Atlanta (I lived in ATL for six months last year) that everything came together.

That month I wrote the song “C.R.E.A.M. (Cash. Ruined. Everything. Around. Me.).” Around that time I was super broke and depressed because I needed to be back in NYC. After writing that track I realized the direction of the tape had to be about my vices and values. The tape talks about being placed in a female rapper bracket, alcoholism, venting vulnerabilities, being from Uptown, new love, etc. I even let the EP’s tracks build down instead of typically letting them build up. I wanted the climax of the last song to hit the heart (all pun intended).

What are you hoping to accomplish next in your career?
Since I’m still out here building my name, I would honestly love to continue doing shows but not only for my city. The next goal is to start traveling and spreading my music to a broader mass.