Flo Rida

Mail on Sunday
(Atlantic)

As the Southern-rap money train runs out of steam, it's fitting that the style is currently — and, perhaps, terminally — resting in the land of its neon-drenched, reality-detached origin: Miami. Flo Rida, proprietor of the most-hyped release of this commercial down cycle, started his career as a hypeman for 2 Live Crew, the first Southern rap crew to amass national attention; 2LC's crass, careless fingerprints are all over Mail on Sunday. With a beige side-of-the-mouth spitfire delivery that rises to grating vibrato squeaks for emphasis, Flo's far from star-ready, so his debut full-length is all atmosphere: a would-be bachelor party of synth meringues, T-Pain's friendly robot squeaks, the occasional moment of tithed introspection ("All My Life"), and a brand-name dependency that'd make a Russian oil billionaire blush ("She had Hennessey lips/Belve eyes/Grey Goose hips/Moët thighs"). Organic moments — like the loose, juvenile back-and-forth with Birdman on "Priceless" — are atypical. Nor are there many cameos on Sunday: The room-filling synths suck so much oxygen from these tracks that it's a wonder Flo has enough space to inhale. You can barely hear his voice until the album's opening five-song salvo subsides and lets silence and rests have their say. Joan Didion described the city of Miami as "a kind of waking dream in which any possibility could and would be accommodated." There's plenty of fantasy accommodated on Mail on Sunday, though, to be fair, no more than on Rick Ross' Port of Miami or in the space between DJ Khaled's ears.

 
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