GloRilla on new album, Yo Gotti, Memphis rap, BET Awards
GloRilla – 23-year-old Memphis rapper born Gloria Woods – has quickly emerged as the female leader of Bluff City’s current hip-hop revival.
GloRilla’s viral hits “FNF (Let’s Go)” and “Blessed” launched her into the national consciousness earlier this spring. Since then, she’s scored a Billboard Top 10 record with “Tomorrow 2,” a remix collaboration with hip-hop queen Cardi B. In addition to that track, she’s also worked with fellow Memphian Duke Deuce and on various projects with producer HitKidd. In September, GloRilla scored a surprise win at the BET Hip Hop Awards, taking home the award for Best Breakthrough Artist.
This week, GloRilla caps off their transformative 2022, with the release of their first major label EP, “Anyways, Life Is Great”, via Yo Gotti’s CMG label. GloRilla signed with CMG in a ceremony in July, at which Gotti noted that the rapper was “a born star – she has a different sound and approach that’s needed in hip-hop right now.”
Gotti added that GloRilla had one of the “fastest rises I’ve seen in my career.” Glo is hungry for success and determined to win. We can’t wait to see her grow as an artist and reach her full potential.
Since joining Gotti’s label, GloRilla’s career – which was already advancing at a rapid pace – has accelerated even further. “Since then, I’ve traveled, done a lot of shows, promoted and recorded — just worked my ass off,” says GloRilla.
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How GloRilla got into music
Raised in Frayser, she and her nine siblings were homeschooled until fifth grade. GloRilla’s first musical roots came at church, where she was a member of the choir. “I practically grew up in church, I used to sing there,” she says. “So I was listening to church music as well as hip-hop growing up.”
GloRilla was particularly inspired by Chicago rapper Chief Keef. “When Chief Keef came out, he had his own style that I really liked. I thought, ‘I can do this too,'” says GloRilla, who started posting freestyle videos and taking teen online rap challenges.
It wasn’t until his senior year of high school at Melrose that GloRilla began to see hip-hop as a viable career. “I didn’t take it seriously until I was 18,” says GloRilla, whose cousin urged her to take her talents to a real studio. “I got serious with it the first time I recorded in a professional studio. I really enjoyed doing it, but I was still learning as I went.
At the end of 2018, she released her first video, “146 Freestyle”, followed by two independent EPs, “Most Likely Up Next” in 2019 and “P Status” in 2020. “People in Memphis started listening to what I was doing “, she says. “I started getting booked for shows in 2020, but then COVID came along and it stopped for a while.
Eventually, in the spring of 2021, she caught the eye of top Memphis producer HitKidd who teamed up with GloRilla along with a bunch of other up-and-coming female rappers in Gloss Up, K Carbon, Slimeroni and Aleza, for an EP titled “Set the Tone”.
With HitKidd providing beats, GloRilla embarked on the next stage of her solo career in 2022. By the time she released “FNF (Let’s Go)” in April – the track had quickly grown to 15 million plays on Spotify, 30 million video views on YouTube and a place in the Billboard Top 50 – the music industry had already recognized GloRilla’s potential and she was being courted by various labels.
“A lot of labels were calling. I was going to different label meetings, but when I met [Yo] Gotti was just fine,” GloRilla says of his decision to sign with CMG. “As soon as I met Gotti I played him a bit more of my songs than he had heard and he was into it. He was talking a lot about the future. Something more than a hit or two. He was told: ‘We are going to write history.’ »
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What’s next for GloRilla?
GloRilla knows she comes at a particularly opportune time for Memphis rap, as the city experiences a new golden age with the success of Gotti’s CMG label and chart-topping artists like Moneybagg Yo. “I feel like Memphis is on fire right now,” she said. “There’s been a lot of exposure, or more exposure, about the city over the last few years. I feel like people are taking what Memphis rappers are doing really seriously.
As proof, in September, GloRilla beat out a team of contenders — which included Saucy Santana, Fivio Foreign, Baby Keem, Doechii, Blxst, and Nardo Wick — at the BET Awards for the Breakthrough Artist Honor. Accepting the award from Tyrese, an emotional GloRilla was accompanied by his label head CMG Gotti.
“I don’t want to cry about my makeup… All of you, I’m crying,” GloRilla said at the ceremony. “I want to thank God. I want to thank my team, my mom, Yo Gotti, the greatest CEO. My manager, my family, everyone who supported me… I don’t know what to say.
“I was super nervous,” GloRilla now admits. “I was praying and had faith that I was going to win, but when they actually called my name it was extremely crazy.”
If GloRilla can maintain the momentum of her first big year in music, it’s a safe bet she’ll garner more industry honors and accolades. The next 12 months will hold the key. She recorded new material in Los Angeles and Atlanta, with the aim of releasing more music in 2023.
As for its own predictions for next year, GloRilla simply notes, “More heat, you know what I’m saying? More heat, more work. But I’m going to let it be,” she said. “I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing like I’ve been doing, because it’s working so far.”