Gloss Up Opens The Book On Who She Is With New Album “Before the Gloss Up”

Quality Control's female rapper, Gloss Up shares her personal story on this new album, "Before The Gloss Up."

Memphis born, GloRilla associate, Gloss Up made her debut in 2019 with 3 singles and a 13 track album entitled, Different Shades of Gloss. The question is if she’ll be able to make her mark this year.

(Source: YouTube)

The previously independent rapper was signed to Quality Control Music (QCM) in July of 2022, who recognized her for her genuine personality and vulnerable, yet hardcore bars. Her latest album, Before the Gloss Up, was released on January 20, 2023, and, despite the 13-song tracklist, the album is just 7 seconds shy of being 30-minutes long.

The album, which is her official QCM debut, has an old-school, 90’s vibe without feeling outdated, reminding me of the classic album Straight Outta Compton by N.W.A. Staying true to the “instant classic” theme, the album cover is in black and white, portraying the raw and real image of Gloss Up sitting with her eldest boy on a chair next to her, and her baby boy in her lap while she’s trying to record. Before the music even begins, the listener should know that this album is not about the glossy and glitzy parts of Gloss Up’s life. 

We get to learn who she is as a human being. Gloss Up is not afraid to pour her heart into her lyrics as she discusses how difficult her life has been, assumptions made about her by the common people around her, and how that contributes to her ambitions.

The Album Review

The album opens with “Pussycat”, a track reminiscent of “Rich Sex” by Nicki Minaj featuring Lil’ Wayne from the 2018 album Queen. “Pussycat” is a hard and powerful song which simultaneously sets firm boundaries around Gloss’s personal magic and the tone for the whole album. 

Gloss Up stays in this pocket of knowing her worth as she gracefully flows from setting boundaries around the types of men who get to chase her in “Pussycat” and “Lemon Peppa”, to being on her queen tingz and spitting about how much better she is than the scrubs that she had mentioned at the beginning of the album. 

Track 3, “Gymnastics”, is a song that, at first glance, appears to be about her bedroom antics; but upon further listening, proves to be about Gloss Up’s overall prowess – sexual, lyrical, personal, financial, etc. Surprisingly a song that, just by title alone, may shy away new listeners who may have become accustomed to intimately shocking lyrics, is truly a track about standing in your power and applying that to all aspects of your life. 

Track 4, “From Cross Da Way,” is the first of the collab tracks, and features QCM signed rapper Icewear Vezzo. “From Cross Da Way” helps to convey the types of situations that Gloss grew up in, describing the heavy, dog-eat-dog world she originated in from the very start of the song with an intro of:

I feel like jumpin’

I really feel like whoopin’ somebody ass

The chorus of the song serves to remind the listeners why we are here (because Gloss “really feel like whoopin’ somebody ass”) and cleverly leads into each verse with:

I’m from cross the way, woke up like a boss today

GLE my Benz, I just might by my man a house today

I been in my sack, I’m feelin just like Santa Claus today

I can’t wait to catch them ho-ho-hoes who ran they mouth today

(And beat they ass)

These catchy bars also effortlessly lead into the first single on the album – “Bestfrenn” featuring GloRilla. Produced by G-Styles on the Track, Bestfrenn was released as a single on January 18, 2023 – a mere two days before the album’s release. But please do not be fooled by the title!

Unlike the song “Best Friend” by Saweetie featuring Doja Cat, released on January 7, 2021, “Bestfrenn” is not about celebrating each other for being rich and sexy, no no, this song is about how they will beat people up for each other. Very similar name, incredibly different song.

The chorus of track 5 opens with the very clear statement of:

Ay, what the fuck is one-on-one? We all go and jumpin’ in

Who the fuck she talkin to? Speak up, ho, come again

Gloss continues with the chorus, setting the situation straight:

Try them other hoes, you better not try shit with my friend (bitch)

In a true show of sisterhood, this song is about standing by your best friend through every situation, presenting a genuine “ride or die” narrative as the chorus even closes with:

Give a fuck who right or wrong, bitch, don’t try my best friend

And that message is the backbone of the song. GloRilla carries that torch throughout her whole verse, but it is especially noticeable midway through with the line:

I can’t watch my bestie fight, ‘cause shit goin be a bad look

The next song, track 6, is a track produced by Twysted Genius entitled “Eeny Meeny Miney Moe” (“EMMM”) which has an old-school “crew rap” vibe about it as Gloss shares the track with independent Memphis rappers K Carbon and Slimeroni, as well as independent Mississippi rapper Aleza. 

“EMMM” goes really well with the album’s cover, as the song has a nursery rhyme theme while somehow maintaining the gritty, hood vibe that the album has presented us so far. Each woman steps up to the plate with bars about picking out men, surrounding the well known, sing-song phrase, “Eeny Meeny Miney Moe.”

With the chorus setting up the pins for each woman to knock down in the following verse:

Eeny Meeny Miney Moe

Think that I’ma pass on him

Eeny Meeny Miney Moe

Baby got an ass on her

Eeny Meeny make a nigga spend it (moe)

Cost a Richard Millie (yeah)

Eeny Meeny yeah this shit expensive

Gloss goin keep it pimpin’

The way each verse uniquely plays off the stylistic rhyme that we all know is especially catchy.

“EMMM” is a powerful, girl-power anthem as it showcases talented, unsigned rappers in a way that immediately gets stuck in your head. And I have to mention that it really feels like we are being ushered into a new era of rap sisterhood like the Hip-Hop community experienced at the dawn of the genre and culture. 

Track 7, “Revenge”, is surprisingly the only track on this new album that had been released before Gloss Up had signed with QCM. “Revenge”, the single, was produced by Ant Chamberlain and released independently by Gloss on December 8, 2021. The track got a slight update for the 2023 release as the beat has changed to one produced by Pseudo, and is now extended a bit, giving it a Nicki Minaj “Run and Hide” vibe.

“Head, Shoulders, Knees, Toes” (track 8) is another song that plays on the thug nursery-rhyme theme. With a clever spin on the classic “head, shoulders, knees, and toes” rhyme, Gloss presents another story about having to watch her back, and defending herself from her ops (and those who pretend they are, who are actually nothing to her – which is something I find to be truly fascinating. It happens a lot, but Gloss is the first rapper I’ve heard call out this crowd by name.)

About midway through the album, Gloss starts to soften up as she talks about why she works as hard as she does, and why she will never give up on her vision.

“Don’t Worry About It” (track 10; produced by BanBwoi, KayotheWizard, and Sean Da Firzt), and “Good Days, Bad Days” (track 12; produced by SK and Musik MajorX) are two stand out tracks that showcase Gloss’s versatility as an artist. 

“Don’t Worry About It” is an anthem to how strong Gloss is as a woman and a mom, boasting of her accomplishments and ability to keep her ship afloat with lyrics such as:

If you need it, then you got it

That’s some shit, we don’t gotta talk about 

You workin’, then I got you

Don’t give a fuck if it’s at Waffle House

Got off my ass and got a bag, so I’ma talk about it

I do it for my kids ‘cause without them, I couldn’t live without ‘em

Forever do my part, don’t give a fuck about they daddies

Niggas take care of your kids, ‘cause why you worried ‘bout a bad bitch?

I keep my boys happy, never gave a fuck about no taxes

That’s why when they get grown, they gon’ know mom made it happen…

(verse 1)

Seeing the realest parts of Gloss in the later part of the album is endearing while adding an important depth to the rapper. She has very specific reasons for what she’s doing, and she is not afraid to share those reasons in her bars. 

“Good Days, Bad Days” serves as a sweet reminder from the universe that sometimes you just gotta roll with the punches and make the most of the cards you have been dealt. The song instantly gets stuck in your head with the memorable chorus of:

Good days, bad days, it don’t matter

We gon’ push through the pain

Good days, bad days, if we together

We gon’ make it through the rain

(You ‘bout to have)

Good days, bad days, it don’t matter

We gon’ push through the pain

Good days, bad days, if we together

We gon’ make it through the rain (Ayy)

And really makes its mark with unforgettable lines such as:

Stayed down, it wasn’t always good days

Remember walkin’ to the store, them EBT hood days

Hard work beat talent when the talent doesn’t work hard

Never got no vacay time, I had to work for it

(verse 1)

As well as:

Gotta take the bad with the good days

House paid for, I remember them late on rent days.

(verse 2)

This is another fabulously raw and real track that not only shows where Gloss came from, but also where she is headed in all aspects of her life. Needless to say, it is bewilderingly inspiring to come across an artist who is this genuine in her expression. This level of vulnerability has become a lost art, and I hope that we see a resurgence of it. 

To wrap up the album with a bow, lucky number track 13 is aptly titled “Point to Prove”, which stays true to Gloss’s “vulnerable yet hardcore” brand with lyrics like:

Give ‘em my feet, I bet they couldn’t walk a mile in my shoes


What they said? I’m bein’ everything they said I couldn’t be

I got this far ‘cause I made sure the “I”s meant we

Never said I made it, always said we did

This shit forever if you’re rockin’ with me

It wouldn’t be right if I ain’t take my kids to the top with me

(verse 1)


Never been in competition, I’ma always come first

Remember you might hit hard, but my hits hurt worse

Generational curse, that shit be the worst

But it’s cool, my kids gon’ break it

I’d give my last breath to see my kids make it

(verse 2)

This album takes you on a very authentic, and sometimes exposed, roller coaster ride in a shockingly short amount of time, making it an absolute Hip-Hop gem. 

Overall, I believe that Gloss Up is one to keep your eye on this year, and beyond. She’s already making powerful moves, and it’s only February!

Listen to Gloss Up’s “Before The Gloss Up” album here.

(Source: Spotify)

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