Glorilla Suffers No Fools

Get to know one of the most exciting new rappers of the last few years, whose music is an antidote to degenerate male behavior.

It’s a rainy fall day at the famed soul food spot Amy Ruth’s in Harlem, and Glorilla is positively incredulous. “You putting hot sauce on your shit?” she asks with a confused look, after watching me absentmindedly pour the red stuff over my mac and cheese—an act that could be seen as grounds for my impeachment from Blackness. “Why?” 

The 23-year-old Memphis native is in glasses that are as bright as the chain around her neck, which reps her star-making label CMG—a far cry from the undecorated upstart dancing in a parking lot in the viral video for her 2022 breakout hit, “F.N.F. (Let’s Go).” Her smile is warm, and her thick Memphis lilt is so distinct it could be a part of an accent series on YouTube. 

On “F.N.F.,” you can hear the edginess that lies under the surface of Glo’s charm. It’s a track about the joy of being single for the summer, but it’s menacing, too: This is restless, ratchet music. The key loop is so potent it makes you twitch, as if Michael Myers were waiting for you in a dark tunnel. A TikTok dance challenge helped the song spread across the internet last year, and since then, Glo has become rap’s latest success story: She signed with Yo Gotti’s CMG imprint a few months after the video’s release and recently earned her first Grammy nomination, for Best Rap Performance. The video now has 56 million views, and Glo has also already surpassed one-hit-wonder-dom with “Tomorrow 2,” a collaboration with Cardi B that peaked at No. 9 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Her debut EP, November’s Anyways, Life’s Great…,  is rowdy and defiant—a celebration of friendship and the acquisition of status. Safe to say: There’s a new rap star on the block.

You can hear the fearless spirit of Memphis heroine Gangsta Boo in Glo’s music—a fact that feels all the more palpable in the wake of Boo’s recent death. Glo likes to run through similar themes: the eternal struggle of being a woman who likes sex and has to deal with degenerate male behavior. She thrives most when rapping about flaky or objectionable guys, the type that Glo describes to me as “cheating-ass, lying, controlling men.” She admits it comes from real-life experience. “They made me who I am today,” she says. 

On “Tomorrow 2,” she makes sure her exes know she doesn’t care about them. Glo spurns both her former partner—and her friend who is now dating the ex—with disgust in an imposing couplet: “My ex fuckin’ on my old friend, both they ass some fuckin’ clowns/Thinkin’ that she got one up on me, she got my hand-me-downs.”

Glorilla’s music is thumping. The “fuck” in “fuck nigga cheating” on “F.N.F. (Let’s Go)” erupts from her stomach, as if she’s summoned the force of Memphis legend Project Pat himself. “I am Memphis without even trying,” she says. “Because that’s what I grew up on. You hear it in my voice and how I talk,” she adds, munching on some chicken. Her voice lands like percussion; even over forceful hi-hats and 808s, Glo is still the biggest attraction on any song she touches. 

“F.N.F.” came together through Glorilla’s connection with fellow Memphis artist Gloss Up, a frequent collaborator with the producer Hitkidd. “She was one of the most charismatic artists I’ve seen in a while,” says Hitkidd of Glo. “I sent ‘Let’s Go’ to her, and she wrote it in the studio and recorded it, but she had too many curse words on it! So we had to fix it the same day we shot the video.”

The song proved to be transformative. After Yo Gotti signed Glorilla, she came down to Miami to spend some time with him. “We linked up on the yacht,” Glo recalls. “We were talking about music. He wanted to see where my head was at, what I was about. Wearing the chain was cool. Like, I’m here.” 

Born Gloria Woods, Glorilla was raised in Memphis churches, where the seeds of her callback hooks were planted. When she was 18, she decided to start rapping. Influences like Chief Keef gave her the drive she needed to pursue a career in hip-hop. “I liked women rappers, but it was Keef that inspired me the most,” she says. 

Though she now seems like an instant success, it took some trial and error to arrive at her current style. Originally her delivery more closely resembled Rico Nasty than Yo Gotti. “Turn Up,” a cut from her 2019 project Most Likely Up Next, sounds pinker than the bombastic threats of “Tomorrow 2.” “My voice was squeaky as hell,” she says of those beginnings. “I was rapping like a girl because it was my first time rapping. But growing up, I never had a ‘girl’ voice. I always sounded like a boy. So I just realized that I should rap more like me. I always had the bars. But now I am more me.”