Seven months ago, 23-year-old Tennessee native Gloria “GloRilla” Woods exploded onto the hip-hop scene with “F.N.F. (Let’s Go),” a bass-knocking track that became a summer anthem as well as a Grammy contender (the breakout hit is nominated for best rap performance at the 2023 Grammy Awards).
She was discovered by producer Hitkidd a few years ago at a local showcase. After contributing to Megan Thee Stallion’s Something for the Hotties, he continued working with the Houston rapper on a new project. Around April, Hitkidd found himself with a beat on his hands, but felt it was “too hard” to be waiting on Megan — so he passed it along to GloRilla.
GloRilla admitted to Billboard that she “was on the toilet and gonna get my lashes done” when he called. “I did tell her, ‘We need a summer anthem, something the girls can chant,’” said Hitkidd. The pair then met in the studio. GloRilla stepped out for a moment to smoke some Backwoods cigars and then she came up with “I’m F-R-E-E, f–k n—- free.” Within 30 minutes, GloRilla and Hitkidd had a soon-to-be-hit on their hands.
The song finds GloRilla no longer worried about her troubles with a man, instead enjoying a good time with her “rachet a– friends.” On April 29, 2022, GloRilla dropped a music video to go along with the song that has so far accumulated over 46 million views on YouTube. The song became the rising star’s first No. 1 on the Mainstream R&B/Hip Hop AirPlay and is still in the top 10 on that chart.
In June, she and Hitkidd earned their first Hot 100 hit as “F.N.F. (Let’s Go)” logged in at No. 91 and then reached No. 75. The track went on to earn 43.2 million official on-demand U.S. streams through July 7, according to Luminate. GloRilla rode the momentum from “F.N.F.” to a deal with Yo Gotti’s CMG Imprint.
And she didn’t stop there.
After her hit made waves on the hip-hop scene, GloRilla went on to release “Blessed” featuring her mentor, Yo Gotti. She followed up with “Tomorrow,” which was remixed as “Tomorrow 2” with Cardi B. The remix added another achievement to GloRilla’s belt, logging in at No. 3 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and No. 9 on the Hot 100 back in early October; “Tomorrow 2” also landed GloRilla a performance slot at the 2022 American Music Awards, where Cardi B made a surprise appearance.
Billboard spoke with November’s R&B/Hip-Hop Rookie of the Month GloRilla about doing a record with Cardi B, maintaining friendships in the music business and more.
How did you and Cardi B link up for “Tomorrow 2”? I heard she showed you a lot of love in the DM when “F.N.F.” came out!
Actually, my team, Gotti and them. They had already reached out to her. I didn’t know. That was a surprise me to find out that she was on the song. They had already had it in the works and everything, but I didn’t know about it. They were going to surprise me. And so, I texted her one day. I was just in the studio. I had made another song. I had DM her, like, “I got another song for you.” She was like, “Oh, girl I already recorded my verse for ‘Tomorrow.'” I was like, “No way.”
In September, you and Cardi B hit the No. 1 spot for “Tomorrow 2” on Apple Music, and you guys also landed on No. 3 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart. How does that feel?
It ain’t nothing but getting blessed and hard working.
You always have your friends with you from Gloss Up, Slimeroni, Aleza, Nicki Pooh, Teezy, and the list goes on. How do you keep such a tight bond with your friends — specifically with Gloss Up — without letting envy, jealousy and ego get in the way?
It’s really just keeping it real, you know what I’m saying? I always say what’s on your mind. Don’t keep nothing secret. Really, keeping the same attitude, same outlook on loyalty that I been had before everything.
Let’s talk about the mentorship you’ve received from Gotti. What’s the best advice he’s given you?
Don’t get too comfortable.
Where do you see yourself among the female rap landscape knowing that there’s so much beef and competition among each other?
I see myself at the top and getting bigger.
You talked about almost shooting your ex during an interview for Bootleg Kev back in August. Is that who you made “F.N.F.” for?
I really just made the song off of being high, and that came with the pain and all of that.
How do you feel about people talking about you getting plastic surgery?
What people say doesn’t affect me. It’s all about what I want to do. As of now, I’m comfortable in the skin I’m in… and I’m already thick. I’m thick as f–k. It’s all about self-love. You can’t let nobody else determine how you feel about yourself.
Describe your sound.
I’d say crunk, and dominant. I have a dominant sound.
How have things changed for you since becoming a star? Do you find it harder to keep up with demands of the music industry?
I do see a lot of things different from just trying to make it. Nowadays, I have finally got into the industry and a lot of things are different. But I still feel like at the end of the day, you got to work, you got to put in and work, no matter what. You can’t be fake. Everybody got to work. Nothing coming to you free, really.
Do you feel like you have rid yourself of the one hit wonder tag or do you believe you have more to prove?
You know, I never felt like I was a one hit wonder, but I know a lot of people was saying that. But everything I’ve been dropping, people be messing with. They’re like, “Oh, okay,” so I feel like I have done it, but I still feel like I got way more. I want like 100 plaques, 100 No. 1s.
What are you most proud of to date?
Making it, really. Being able to… You know what I’m saying? Put other people on. Put my folks on, take care of my family. I really feel like I helped break a door down for my people.
Who do you listen to the most to draw inspiration from?
Who would you like to work with or collaborate with next?
Oh I’d say, Beyonce, Lil Wayne, what else? Who else? And Durk!
Lastly, what do you want fans to know about GloRilla as it pertains to your music?
That I’m really versatile. They’re going to see a lot of that as time goes by!