Gloss Up - Before the Gloss Up Music Album Reviews

In spite of a few obligatory major label maneuvers, the Memphis rapper’s debut mixtape preserves her charisma with a rush of shit-talking and warning shots.

In 2021, Memphis rappers Aleza, Glorilla, K Carbon, Slimeroni, and Gloss Up dropped a string of Hitkidd-produced posse cuts that were sparks for the already thriving local rap circuit. They were addictive and electric, like trying to hang with that one tight-knit crew of women who have so many inside jokes and references that they might as well speak their own language—you know, an authentic shit-talking Southern clique that also happens to be one of the coldest rap crews out right now. In reality, it isn’t quite as organic as that (as individuals, they’re still trying to figure it out), but the chemistry is real. The one who has got it down for sure is Glorilla, who dropped two of the great rap singles of last year with “F.N.F. (Let’s Go)” and “Tomorrow.” Fellow Memphis rap darling Gloss Up is almost there as well. Unlike Glorilla’s mean-mugging gut-punches, Gloss has a Young Dolph-inspired way of laughing in the face of problems. “Wanna be an opp so bad, damn hoe get out the way,” she raps on last year’s “Sorry Not Sorry,” shooing away a potential rival like a gnat. (In the video, she even says this with her baby on her hip.) Gloss hands out dismissive tongue-lashings with a sweetly Southern smile on her face; this naturally unbothered attitude is what boosts her new mixtape Before the Gloss Up above the formulaic beats of a major label debut. 

When it comes to molding new rap stars, the Atlanta-based imprint Quality Control, who signed Gloss Up last year, has got it down to a science. In Joe Coscarelli’s 2022 book Rap Capital: An Atlanta Story, the label’s co-founder Coach K talks about the process of star-making tactically, sometimes uncomfortably so. Prior to Before the Gloss Up, her freewheeling sensibility made it seem as if her songs were recorded on a whim, on days when she was in the mood to break a few spirits. That isn’t lost here, but the behind-the-scenes factors are apparent. From the obligatory piano-driven motivation rap outro that appears on mixtapes from every region to a sanitized version of the increasingly popular Detroit sound on “From Cross the Way,” record executives were clearly ticking boxes. 

But label constraints don’t drown out her charisma. Even when certain songs are familiar, they don’t coast on it. For example, Babyface Ray’s “Sincerely Face” seemingly inspired “Lemon Peppa,” but the breezy sound becomes Gloss’ own with a flood of disrespectful takedowns. When they leave her mouth, they come across as feel-good barbs: “Yeah that’s my nigga, I still put him in the friend zone.” The ride-or-die anthem “Hold Me Down” feels like it would have fit on Peezy’s Only Built 4 Diamond Links; her booming voice has a warm edge, perfect for a little sentimentality. She even manages to do the impossible, elevating the generic Moneybagg Yo-core of “Revenge” with forceful and inspired jawing. The second time she snaps “Smackin’ bitches ’bout that nigga” in a pitch-shifted twist, it’s like the thought just makes her day. 

Before the Gloss Up hits a stride when Quality Control’s involvement is muted; not cocincidentally, that’s when her troop and Hitkidd are in the orbit. On “Mad 304,” the Memphis producer’s roaring instrumental inspires Gloss Up to bring out a short burst of Gangsta Boo and La Chat-style smack talk. Aleza, K Carbon, and Slimeroni join Gloss in stomping on a couple playthings’ feelings on “Eeny Meeny Miny Moe.” And on “Bestfrenn,” Gloss and Glorilla throw warning shots at all grannies, cousins, and aunties with slick tongues. “Bestfrenn” is an ode to their friendship, one wild enough that the bank robbing (and ribbing) friends of the classic 1996 crime film Set It Off can probably relate. Despite some major label interference, at least Before the Gloss Up hangs onto the most important thing: Gloss Up talking shit with her friends. 

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Gloss Up - Before the Gloss Up Music Album Reviews Gloss Up - Before the Gloss Up Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on February 02, 2023 Rating: 5


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