Flau’jae Johnson was in New York for the SLAM Summer season Traditional in August when she was requested about probably the most memorable expertise of her blossoming basketball profession. She solely had to consider it for just a few seconds.
“Man, most memorable…nicely, actually this proper right here, I ain’t by no means been in nothing like this!” she mentioned. “Flew out, penthouse, A-Boogie carried out, this was loopy. That is most likely the spotlight of my entire basketball profession.”
She most likely ought to’ve added “to this point.” In a recreation more and more dominated by unicorns, Flau’jae is about to redefine the thought of the supremely versatile hooper, due to her potential each on and off the courtroom. If you happen to already know her title, there’s probability it’s attributable to her rhyming abilities. Her potential as an MC is the most important purpose she claims practically 650,000 Instagram followers and near 120,000 YouTube subscribers—a following that started constructing from the time she appeared on Lifetime’s The Rap Game back in 2017, when she was simply 12 years outdated.
Now a senior at Sprayberry (GA) Excessive in Marietta, the Savannah native has by no means stopped sharpening her music abilities—examine final 12 months’s XXL freestyle or the array of singles on her YouTube channel for affirmation—at the same time as she’s emerged as probably the greatest gamers within the 2022 class. And sure, she’s acquired the credentials to again up that declare, too: Defensive MVP at this summer time’s Nike Nationals, and MVP of the SLAM Summer season Traditional after a efficiency loaded with spotlight performs. More and more, it appears like there’s not a lot the 5-10 combo guard can’t do.
“Lots of people go to the subsequent degree, but it surely’s like, who’s actually gonna excel?” she says. “I’ve all the time been the most effective at my degree…After I go to the subsequent degree, I don’t wish to be no common participant. Each time I step on the ground, I convey that demeanor that no person else acquired. I play with a distinct sort of power.”
She credit her hometown for that power. “The place I’m from, that’s how we get down—we get in your face, we discuss, we pop our junk. In order that’s what I do, each time.” However her success is all the way down to extra than simply depth and a killer crossover. She’s happy with the grind that enables her to maximise her expertise. “I don’t ever let no person outwork me, ever,” she says. “I work arduous. I don’t mess around. What you see on the courtroom, it’s like a reproduction of what I already put in.”
By her personal admission, it wasn’t that way back that basketball was one thing Johnson did largely for enjoyable. “I didn’t even know you might go to school for basketball till they began providing me,” she says. “I used to be targeted on my music. It wasn’t even on my thoughts.”
That modified when it turned clear she was a excessive DI expertise, an evaluation confirmed by a proposal checklist that she lately narrowed to 5 finalists: Georgia, LSU, Miami, Ole Miss and Texas. For sure, basketball is now very a lot a precedence.
However it’s not the one one. Music is in her blood—her father, Savannah rapper Camoflauge, was killed shortly earlier than Flau’jae was born—and he or she’s too good to not maintain at it. And no, it’s not loopy to assume she can be elite in both arenas.
“I wanna be like how—no disrespect—Damian Lillard’s doing, however for actual, for actual. I wish to be the primary to ever do it, like, for actual.”
The video games require very totally different ability units, in fact, however whether or not on the courtroom or on the mic, Flau’jae says there’s a typical thread operating via her efficiency.
“My supply, how I rap, I’m coming for you each time,” she says. “You gonna really feel that, like, she talkin’ to me. On the basketball courtroom, I’m coming at you an identical method.”
Portraits Jon Lopez and Jonathan Lewis.