“You So Sweet and Nice”: Glorilla Meets SZA
MONDAY 10:30 PM MAY 1, 2023 ATLANTA
Glorilla is in Atlanta, waiting for SZA to join her on a call. The 23-year-old rapper is not far from Memphis, where she grew up, and yet she could not be further away. Since her debut single “F.N.F (Let’s Go)” made her an instant star, Glorilla’s life has become unrecognizable from the one she knew when she was Gloria Hallelujah Woods, a young girl getting into school fights and discovering an explosive talent that no one saw coming. When SZA, fresh off a ten-week run atop the Billboard charts, finally logs on, it’s just another surreal moment in a life that’s now full of them.
GLORILLA: Hey, SZA!
SZA: Hey, girl. How are you?
GLORILLA: I’m great. How you doing?
SZA: I’m good. I was like, “Did she want to talk to me? Or did they ask her to talk to me? Because I love her.” [Laughs]
GLORILLA: I love you, too. I can’t. You love me? What the fuck?
SZA: No, deadass. I was shocked that they asked me.
GLORILLA: I was shocked that you was going to be the one doing it. I was like, “Oh my god, I can’t believe she said yes.”
SZA: Of course! And congratulations on literally everything. You’re so amazing, and you deserve it all.
GLORILLA: Thank you, you too. I see you went number one, girl. Congratulations. Period.
SZA: Thank you. You have the best energy and the best attitude. You carry yourself super genuine and beautiful and bright. I was there at the Grammys and we were screaming when you came on.
GLORILLA: Oh, thank you. I’m so mad I ain’t see you in person.
SZA: It wasn’t nothing to see anyway. I was acting crazy.
SZA: By the time you got on, I was drunk and sweaty. I was like, “This is not a fucking club. Why was I wilding out?”
GLORILLA: I was so nervous up there.
SZA: It didn’t look like that at all. Is performing always nerve-wracking for you? I also want to know, were you mad that girl snatched your wig? And did it hurt—but first, sorry I’m a terrible interviewer. Are you always nervous?
GLORILLA: It depends on where I’m at. Because normally, performing, it’s a piece of cake. But the Grammys, I’m like, “Oh my god. I’m on TV. This is something that’s finna be online forever.”
SZA: Where does your love for performing and being an artist stem from? Were you just one of those kids that had hella personality and were like, “Damn, she’s special, she going to do something regardless,” and it just so happened to be music? Or were you like, “Nah, music is my shit and I know that from the rip.”
GLORILLA: I’ve always been an outspoken child, and I always wanted to be the center of attention. When I was in high school and it was time to figure out what I was going to do, I was like, “Let me see how I can get into acting or something.” But it be just too much. I’m like, “You know what? I’m going to try music.” I wasn’t serious in high school when I tried it. I just did the little challenges that used to pop up on Facebook. But my cousin used to rap for real and he was like, “You actually hard. I’m going to book a studio session.” And from that first time I recorded, I was like, “This is what I want to do forever.”
SZA: It felt good so you just went all the way.
GLORILLA: Yeah. When I used to be young, my mama used to have it in my head that I could be a famous gospel singer.
SZA: I was picking up the Gloria Hallelujah part [Glorilla’s birth name is Gloria Hallelujah Woods].
GLORILLA: Yeah. [Laughs]
SZA: I want to know where you are spiritually, because you seem so grounded in god and gratitude. You walk with that energy in everything you do.
GLORILLA: I grew up in church so I’ve always kept god in everything I do. I used to be in a lot of situations where some shit happened and I’d be like, “That was nothing but god.” When I blew up, I really figured that. But I had a lot of faith and I used to manifest it all the time. When I was talking to my friends I’d be like, “When I blow up we going to be in these type of cars.” I never used to say ‘if.’ I knew what was going to happen, I just didn’t know when.
SZA: I believe that. Okay. I wrote this question and I laughed at it. Is your juke walk or your gangsta walk colder?
GLORILLA: [Laughs] I think it’s the juking.
SZA: Okay. Because I be fake juking at home. I will never do it in public.
GLORILLA: [Laughs] I want to see.
SZA: I’ll send it to you and you alone.
SZA: But if anybody says, “I seen that shit you did,” I’m going to know that it’s—
GLORILLA: Nah, I ain’t going to show nobody.
SZA: Okay. I have another embarrassing question, as a person that’s also proud of her pussy. Do you feel like big dick energy is comparable to fat pussy energy? Or do you feel like fat pussy energy is way more powerful, because it controls all the things?
GLORILLA: We control more than the niggas do, but it’s only if we know that. A lot of females don’t know that they really run shit with what they got. Girls run the world.
SZA: It’s really true.
GLORILLA: Pussy power.
SZA: Your style and tone of voice immediately makes me feel like I could both fuck and fight a nigga at the same time. I feel empowered and I feel fly and I feel a little bit violent. How do you keep that energy when you record? What’s your process?
GLORILLA: Back before I got famous I ain’t have the money I got now. I used to have to be careful with my studio time. I had to write my raps at home before I went to the studio so I could conserve all my time and shit. I used to get real high, sip me some little Taylor Port, and then just sit there and listen to beats. Then when that one beat catch my attention, I get to writing. Now, I come to the studio and listen to the beat, I smoke, I drink, until I find a beat that I like. When I get that beat, I play it like 100,000 times. I ain’t going to lie, it could take me a whole day to make one verse.
SZA: It be taking me forever, as well. Are you dancing through it? Is it because you’re trying to find the bop in your body?
GLORILLA: Yeah, I don’t just rap and say the words, I got to actually feel it and want to move. My head got to be bobbing while I’m writing and rapping it back to myself. I got to get the feeling that it’s hard. If the feeling not there, I’m not going to record it. I’ll write probably ten verses to one song, and use one. By the time I get in the studio, I have to cut all the lights off. I don’t be liking people looking at me while I record, because I be making some crazy faces.
SZA: [Laughs] I don’t like to be around nobody, because I be looking fucking crazy and I be screaming. Sometimes them hand movements just have you looking like possession or some shit.
GLORILLA: [Laughs] I rap so hard sometimes I got to grab my head and say this shit. I will not record in the studio that got the mic where the engineer is. It got to be the booth.
SZA: I record next to my engineer, because in the booth I can’t tell who in the engineering room, and I don’t want niggas walking in there looking at me.
GLORILLA: [Laughs] Nah, I don’t want nobody looking at me, period. But you sing though, so it’s different.
SZA: It’s way more embarrassing, because I’m in there just trying to hit them notes and it’s like, “Damn, nigga. Why you in there with the auto-tune off? Because you know I’m trying to find my soul, bitch.”
GLORILLA: [Laughs] I’m really trying to get into auto-tune, but I be sounding a mess, girl.
SZA: It’s just fun to play around with. I be pretending I’m Travis Scott. I just be turning that shit all the way to the maximum.
SZA: What’s your driving force?
GLORILLA: I do it for my folks, so all of us won’t have to go through what we went through in Memphis. But at the same time it’s a passion, and if my passion is helping me feed my family, then that’s super lit.
SZA: Were you popular in high school?
GLORILLA: Yeah, but I didn’t dress cool. [Laughs] I was a class clown.
SZA: I can see that. You seem like the type of girl that everybody fuck with, because you hella funny and confident.
GLORILLA: I ain’t going to lie, I was kind of bad in school. I used to get in trouble a whole lot. I used to get into fights. I didn’t have it all in high school. But my personality used to suffice for it.
SZA: How does it feel to have millions of fans connecting with you and having people feel like, “Damn, Glo is fucking liberating me and I feel empowered”?
GLORILLA: It’s super insane. When I go to my shows and they be going crazy, I’ll be like, “Dang, people really like me like this?”
SZA: So Memphis has a lot of culture. I dated someone from Memphis for a long time, and I feel like—
GLORILLA: Ooh, it was horrible, wasn’t it?
SZA: [Laughs] It’s been rough and I’m fucking tired. But that’s neither here nor there.
SZA: But Memphis has amazing food, beautiful people. The women are lovely.
GLORILLA: Them hoes is ghetto. [Laughs]
SZA: They cook, though. Everybody that comes from Memphis has a beautiful personality, but there’s so much violence and death going on.
GLORILLA: I’m not saying this just to say it, but I’m working on trying to make it a better place. When I was in Memphis, I didn’t see nothing outside of it. Before I blew up, I never went anywhere besides Atlanta, so I never knew it was so much more to the world. Now that I’m seeing it, I’m like, “Dang, it’s a lot of people in Memphis that still with their mindset, ‘Ima grow old here.’” There’s nothing to do there, that’s why everybody be acting crazy.
SZA: What kind of energy do you want to bring there?
GLORILLA: I want to see us be more positive. I dropped “F.N.F. (Let’s Go)” on April 29 last year so I’m trying to make that “F.N.F.” day. I’m throwing a barbeque. I’m going to have the bouncer for the kids, free food everywhere.
SZA: That sounds amazing. You want to bring activities and energy and opportunities for people to fucking be happy and distracted from whatever nonsense is happening. Speaking of service, and being so vulnerable and available, how do you create time for yourself ? What makes Glo feel like she’s glowing and ready to take on the next audience in the next city and lead the army of women?
GLORILLA: I pray. I get high. [Laughs] I love getting high.
SZA: You like indica or sativa? I had to stop smoking for a year. I just started smoking again and I feel insane. [Laughs]
GLORILLA: I don’t like indica because it be making me sleepy and shit. I be smoking sativa now. But I really like all weed, honestly.
SZA: Do you like Backwoods, fronto, or what?
GLORILLA: Raw papers.
SZA: You don’t put no fronto or tobacco or grabba in your papers?
GLORILLA: No tobacco.
SZA: Period! I had a Backwoods phase and I was addicted to that shit.
GLORILLA: Yeah, I used to smoke weed out them. I stopped this year when I was like, “If I’m still gonna smoke I want to start being a little bit more healthy,” so I’m going the paper route.
SZA: I’m proud of you, shit. I didn’t figure that out until I was already two tours deep. Okay, what’s your go-to prayer?
GLORILLA: You got to thank god first. Then I ask him to forgive all my sins, past, present, future. Then I ask him for everything I need to ask him for.
SZA: What did you ask for when you dropped “F.N.F.” and everything blew up?
GLORILLA: Around that point in time I was asking god to break ties with anything and anyone that was holding me back, because I had just ended a relationship and it was hard to let it go. I was asking him to lead me down the path.
SZA: That’s beautiful. And was it painful? Did you have to do the cutting off ?
GLORILLA: Yes. It hurt real bad, because it wasn’t just about the relationship, it was friendships, a couple family members, too. I had to let go of people that I really loved. I cut so many people off, then I just blew up. I was like, “Maybe god had to get them out the way first.”
SZA: That’s real. I’m damn near dealing with the same thing. And speaking of relationships, who do these songs be about, child?
GLORILLA: [Laughs] Actually, I’m just talking about niggas as a whole. You had a Memphis nigga before, they all act alike. Memphis niggas are toxic as fuck.
SZA: I just wanted to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for getting my lick back for all of us.
GLORILLA: You don’t play that either. You be talking your shit. I be like, “I wonder who the fuck made her feel like that?”
SZA: Every time he hear, he know, and that’s what’s important.
GLORILLA: The last dude I talked to, he was sick when I dropped “F.N.F.” and it blew up. Which is so crazy, because the song ain’t just about him. At the time I went on a 60-day cleanse, where I said no dudes, no alcohol, no going out drinking. I was drinking water every day, exercising every day. I just felt like, “Fuck nigga free.” That’s how the song came about for real.
SZA: I just blocked my Memphis nigga about a week ago.
GLORILLA: [Laughs] A week ago?
SZA: Yeah. I’ve been walking on my treadmill and drinking water and smoking weed and a bitch does feel wonderful, I’m not going to lie.
GLORILLA: What part of Memphis he from?
SZA: Oh no, don’t make me start.When I send you my little fake juke, I’m going to send you where he from in Memphis, too. [Laughs]
SZA: Niggas really talk so crazy. I feel like the moves they making not even as crazy as the moves that us as women be bussin’.
SZA: And I appreciate that you remind them every time.
GLORILLA: You got the R&B side, you be on they ass, talking that shit. Then here come me with the harder rap side. And we just got to let they ass know.
SZA: I feel like we should do something together. I have an idea. We’ll talk about it separate.
GLORILLA: Okay. I got something, too.
SZA: We could say terrible things.
SZA: What’s your wildest dream? Like, five years from now if you had no limitations, no ceilings, what you going to god about?
GLORILLA: I want to have made a mark. I still got a point to prove. I want to be billionaire status. I got some shit I want to do, but I don’t want to put it out there.
SZA: I respect that. Protect your energy. Where do you find yourself within that Memphis history of musicians and rappers?
GLORILLA: When you mention Memphis, you have to mention my name. I done made my spot there.
SZA: That’s a given. But within that lineage, who do you connect yourself to?
GLORILLA: Damn. Yo Gotti and Juicy J and Three 6 Mafia, they top dogs of Memphis. Them the OGs, for real, for real.
SZA: Do you feel like a girl in the game of all of this? I still don’t really feel like a girl, because in my mind, I want to kill everything moving. I don’t really care if it’s a girl or a boy, or whatever the fuck going on. I want it. [Laughs] Music-wise, I don’t put up a ceiling. Do you feel like, “I’m a female rapper,” or, “I’m just a cold-ass rapper, and it is what it is”?
GLORILLA: Nah, I ain’t going to say I’m a female rapper. I’m a rapper, period.
SZA: Period. You have this super androgynous energy. You’re beautiful and the energy is infectious and that’s feminine. But the content and the confidence, that’s some real boss nigga shit. Okay, where in the world are you most excited to go?
GLORILLA: I really want to go to Egypt. That’s my number one. That comes from me growing up in church, too. Egypt in the Bible a lot.
SZA: Interesting. I was scared to go to Egypt, because of all the history. It was spooky to me. What makes you the most homesick for Memphis?
GLORILLA: The food.
GLORILLA: Food be nasty everywhere else, especially L.A. I actually have my cook from Memphis come cook for me when I’m in L.A. or Florida.
SZA: What’s on Glo’s menu?
GLORILLA: My favorite dish is fried fish and spaghetti. You ate that before, right?
SZA: Because I’m Black, yes.
GLORILLA: [Laughs] A lot of people look at me crazy when I say it.
SZA: Are they white?
GLORILLA: No, it be Black people saying it, too.
SZA: They don’t have a Southern family or something?
GLORILLA: I’m guessing that’s what it is because in Cali when I even speak of fish and spaghetti they be like, “Together? Those are two separate dishes.” I be like, “No the fuck it ain’t.”
SZA: You got to have parents from Virginia and below to understand.
GLORILLA: Yeah. I love turkey necks. I love soul food. I’ve been eating chicken tenders a lot lately.
SZA: My Memphis nigga loves chicken tenders, too.
GLORILLA: You on this Memphis nigga bad.
SZA: I know, it’s terrible. Call the police. I almost didn’t even want to talk to you, because you reminded me of this whole thing that I’m going through. But we’re here. It’s fine.
GLORILLA: I’m so happy that you wanted to talk to me, because I love you.
SZA: I love you, too. I think you’re really special. You have a lot of bright energy about you and you uplifted the fuck out of me personally. Thank you for being that light for all of us. We going to keep riding for you. And we got to do something together.
GLORILLA: Most definitely. You so sweet and nice.
SZA: You’re sweet. I’ll give you my number. Should I do it over the open airways?
GLORILLA: No. Get someone to text it to me.