Unfortunatly, a flat top is characteristic of 3a hair, as I know from experience.

Plopping and clipping help my hair. Also, before I plop I loosen up the few inches of hair near my scalp with my fingers. My other suggestion would be to use a curl enhancer like Jessicurl Gelebration, in addition to your styling product, or a curl enhancing styler like AG Re:coil.