Most people hadn’t heard of Memphis rapper Glorilla (and many still haven’t) until her song “F.N.F” suddenly went viral last summer. The song didn’t become popular because it is particularly well-composed or insightful (in any sense of the word), though: It became popular because it’s fun.
And, frankly, after two summers ruled by various pandemic restrictions, Glorilla served as the perfect usher to welcome the return of the “Hot Girl Summer.”
Gloria Woods, affectionately known as Glorilla, was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and originally dreamed of being a singer, but switched to rap when she lost her voice. The 23-year-old rapper released her first song in 2019 and received generally little attention outside of Memphis. She’s released a handful of singles in the last few years but didn’t catch large scale attention until “F.N.F.” went viral last summer. Glorilla recently signed to Yo Gotti’s label CMG., joining a roster of heavy hitters such as Moneybagg Yo, Est Gee, Mozzy and 42 Dugg. “F.N.F” being such a success helped her land the deal.
Released on Sept. 9, “F.N.F (Let’s Go) [Remix]” begins with an already strong beat as Hitkidd’s trademark opening runs and Latto and JT announce their presence on the track. When the beat drops, Glorilla goes in hard on her first verse: her words are clear, her voice is deep, and her Southern accent is strong. The chorus is, admittedly, simple, and closes with her and a group of female friends repeating “Let’s go!” several times, but the message is clear: Glorilla raps for independent and assertive groups of women.
Though the beat is undoubtedly fun, the verse is not good. Yes, the energy is high, but there is no narrative or substantial message, and though everyone needs a hype song, four minutes is a long time for pure, elementary braggadocio.
After the first verse repeats, about halfway through the song, the listener hears JT’s distinctive voice break through. Because the beat is so simple, it’s hard for JT to catch a flow that is particularly impressive, but she does switch up her rhythm halfway through her verse, making the song somewhat more dynamic.
Atlanta-based superstar, Latto, gives the last new verse. While her rhythm is also underdone, her verse is a little sharper and a little smarter than the others’ and she gives Glorilla slightly more credibility just by association.
The content and quality of the featured artists verses aside, the featured artists themselves are more notable.
After Latto’s most recent album “777,” her politically pointed and well-crafted single “PUSSY,” and her winning Best New Artist at the BET awards in June, she has risen to the top of the rap/hip hop totem pole very quickly. And while JT and Yung Miami haven’t released an album in a couple years, part of that is because they don’t need to. City Girls successfully marked their territory in 2020 with their recognizable style and nearly unreplicable voices.
With so much weight behind these features, this remix acts as more of a rap culture political message than simply a song. Latto and JT are willing to endorse and actively support Glorilla as the face of a new generation of Black female rappers from the south.
But while a strong beat and getting hype with your friends is fun, being positioned as a budding leader in Black female rap takes more than sub-par lyrics and using that heavy Memphis accent as a party trick. So now the question becomes: did BET’s Best New Artist and the queen of Miami choose right?
—Staff Writer Kelsey S. Mann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more in ArtsFrom Sound on Sound: Weekend Sound Bites