Memphis rapper GloRilla’s breakout hit “F.N.F. (Let’s Go)” is undoubtedly a top contender for song of the summer. The viral song sparked the #FNFChallenge on TikTok and the music video generated over 32 million views on YouTube catapulting GloRilla to national and global stages including Rolling Loud Miami, Wireless Festival in the UK, and Made in America 2022 in Philadelphia. To some, GloRilla’s rise might seem like overnight success but those of us from Memphis, TN know that the 22-year-old rapper has been grinding for a while now. Her hard work finally paid off in July when she became the first female rapper to sign to Yo Gotti’s CMG imprint — a move that caused a wave on social media when GloRilla and her friends pulled up to Gotti’s jet to sign the contract.
It’s clear that GloRilla has something special. Her deep voice coupled with her Memphis accent gives her a unique sound. And in an industry that is known for pitting women against each other, GloRilla isn’t afraid to share the limelight with her friends (she frequently collaborates with other female rappers including her best friend Gloss Up). Her smile and her dancing are infectious and while her lyrics have a certain hardness to them, she doesn’t take herself too seriously and recently rapped a children’s book over a trap beat.
Earlier this month, after “FNF (Let’s Go)” reached No. 1 at U.S. Urban Radio, Unbothered called up GloRilla to chat about her recent life-changing accomplishments, her hometown of Memphis, and of course how to “stay f*ck n*gga free.”
Unbothered: People outside of Memphis didn’t really take the city seriously as a rap city until now. There's so many young rappers coming out of Memphis getting national attention. How does it feel to be a part of that wave?
GloRilla: It's real cool. I'm excited actually to be a part of it because it's a new wave. I'm glad to be actually one of the ones leading the new wave.
One thing I think people don't know about Memphis is there's a church on every corner. Is the church where you became musically inclined?
G: Yeah. most definitely. Because I got a lot of solos in the church choir and growing up the only music my mama let us listen to was gospel. We used to have to sneak and listen to the other music.
I don't really make TikTok music. But sometimes, it be so hard that it just goes viral on there because of how good it is.
So how did you go from singing in the choir to rapping about being f*ck n*gga free?
G: I actually stopped going to church when I got to high school. I went to school late so I wasn't really in tune with the outside world because I was in church my whole life. Then once I actually stopped going to church and was more aware of the world outside the church, I feel like that’s what changed.
How does your mother feel about your music?
G: She said she wishes that I become a gospel rapper one day. [Laughs]
Do you ever see that happening for yourself?
G: I will definitely make a gospel song in the future.
People who don’t know your background might call you a viral sensation, but people in Memphis know that you have been grinding for a while. How would you describe your journey and your come up in the rap game?
G: I’d describe it as staying humble and I just kept working. I never gave up and I always had a vision. That's all you got to have; that vision and drive.
It’s so interesting how TikTok has become a new way for artists to become successful. “FNF” was really huge on those platforms. Since your song got so big on TikTok, do you feel any pressure to continue to make music that will go viral or is social media still fun for you?
G: I really got bars, you know I don't really make TikTok music. But sometimes, it be so hard that it just goes viral on there because of how good it is. Then even with “Tomorrow” I would have never thought that it would be a song on TikTok that people are going crazy about. I think they like my music all the way around.
Another thing that people love about you is how you're always with your girls, especially Gloss Up. What is it like to have your best friend on this journey with you?
G: I met her on some music type stuff. That's how we met because she is doing music and I'm doing music. We just clicked. Ever since we met we always talked about going deep in this. Now that it's happening, it's crazy.
How do y'all maintain your friendship and your closeness?
G: We don't get to see each other a lot no more, but we still talk every day.
Everyone seems to have an opinion on your voice because it’s so unique and different but how do you feel about your voice?
G: I really see it as a good thing. With my voice being the way that it is, I attract all genders and all crowds. I know a lot of dudes that say they don't listen to female rap and I know some females that say they don't listen to female rap. But I can rap about girl stuff, but my voice ain't squeaky or nothing. And I rap about real life stuff too, so dudes can relate to me with my voice being the way it is and what I be talking about….For the longest I was trying to find my sound because at first my voice used to be squeaky. I ended up finding my sound and everybody liked it.
How do you not let the haters get to you?
G: When people say mean stuff, I be laughing because it’s funny what they be talking about but I ain't going to change up.
Yeah, you can't change that. What's next for you music-wise?
G: I'm working on an album right now, so hopefully, that'll be dropping before the year is over.
I have the most cliché question of all, but I have to ask. How do you stay “f*ck n*gga free”?
G: Be loyal to yourself and you’ll stay f*ck n*gga free because you ain't going to get no f*ck n*ggas because a f*ck n*gga [is] going to show all of his cards. If you know yourself and stay loyal to yourself, you’re not going to let that happen. And don’t look for love, it’s going to come to you.