How GloRilla Went From Rising Memphis Rapper to Grammy Nominee in the Same Year

When rising Memphis rapper GloRilla stepped onto Yo Gotti’s yacht for a meeting in Miami this past summer, she already knew what the follow-up single to her catchy breakout hit “FNF (Let’s Go)” would be. Before playing her future label head a slew of records that would strengthen his hunch about signing her, GloRilla grabbed the aux cord and queued “Tomorrow 2.” “She told me ‘This the next song I’m dropping because people think I’m a one-hit wonder,’” Gotti tells me.

GloRilla made the right call. The day before I meet with her for our interview in the “social media command center” of the Roc Nation HQ in Chelsea, the Cardi B-assisted remix of “Tomorrow 2” was certified gold and became Glo’s first top ten hit, debuting at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100. For Glo, the success feels like divine timing. “I’m just super blessed,” she muses. “Sometimes I still can’t believe it.”

I catch Glo in early November, during one of the busiest weeks of her life. She’s gallivanting around New York City on the promotional tour for her new EP Anyways, Life’s Great. There are podcasts, press, last-minute shows in Delaware, then back to NYC for more press—so it’s understandable that she arrives about a half-hour late for our interview on a Wednesday evening, but when she arrives—dressed in a two-piece purple fit that exposes her many tattoos, glossy makeup, and Targaryen-platinum blonde hair—she’s as lively and engaging as her music, singing my name as we shake hands. (The outfit will serve as her  listening-party look later that night.)

Her hustle pays off. Just days after Anyways, Life’s Great’s release, Issa Rae (who, thanks to Insecure’s soundtracks and her new series, Rap Shit, is something of a hip-hop tastemaker) goes viral with a clip of her rapping along to one of the EP’s songs. And then, in a shockingly rare display of relevance, the Grammy board nominates “FNF” for Best Rap Performance, just seven months after the song put Glo on everyone’s radar. The menacing track, a staple at all functions since its springtime release, celebrates Glo’s freedom from “fuck n-ggas” and embraces a summer of debauchery with her girlfriends instead. “I’m F-R-E-E, fuck nigga free (fuck ’em) / That mean I ain’t gotta worry ’bout no fuck nigga cheating.” (When I reconnect with her later a few days after receiving her nomination, Glo is still reveling in her triumphs. “This means everything to me,” she said. “I get to say I’m Grammy nominated. I love that.”)

GloRilla says the song came together earlier this year when budding producer Hitkidd sent her the beat to rap over in April. When she arrived at the studio, she still didn’t have any words written, as she’d been running errands all day. “I had pulled up to the studio like ‘I ain’t gon lie, I gotta go sit out in the car.’ I had been smoking then the lyrics would come to my head.” After laying the hook and verses, GloRilla knew she had a hit. Those around her knew it too.

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