Glockianna Is Taking Over – And She’s Doing It Glockianna’s Way

By Katie Kelly

You wouldn’t know it at all from looking at her, but Glockianna is nervous. It’s September 2022 and the rapper is backstage at Rolling Loud waiting to perform alongside her new labelmate Duke Deuce during his set. From her viewpoint, she can see the crowd: a pulsating mass of excitement and energy that seems to grow stronger and bigger by the second. It’s an intimidating situation for even the most seasoned performers, but especially for Glockianna, because she’s about to take the stage and perform for hundreds of thousands of fans, and she’s only 15 years old.

So how did a teenager from Memphis end up performing at the world’s largest hip-hop festival? Unlike what most kids her age would say, Glockianna’s reason for rapping isn’t for fame and money. Instead, it’s something much more intimate and personal to her, but something that also makes her art that much more relatable. Glockianna uses music as a coping mechanism, a therapeutic roadmap for how to deal with life. She tackles issues in her lyrics that extend well beyond her age, yet she approaches them with an impressive maturity and honesty. Her delivery is an explosion of confidence and charisma. At such a young age, she is unapologetically herself and if you don’t vibe with that, she truthfully doesn’t give a fuck.

Glockianna was born and raised in Riverside, South Memphis by her grandma and grandpa. It’s here where her journey into music starts. “I was exposed to a lot of violence, fighting, and stuff like that,” Glockianna tells me. “My family tried to protect me, but I was still somehow seeing people fighting or hearing gunshots, so I used to be violent a lot myself. I fought a lot and my grandmomma told me I had to stop and find something else to do instead.” 

At first, Glockianna tried channeling her feelings into playing various sports. She played basketball, volleyball, and ran track, but regardless of what she did, the behavior consisted. Then, she found music. “Once I found music, everything became peaceful. My music is how I cope. I can put all my anger and whatever I’m going through into my music. I ain’t gonna lie.. before the music, I was making some choices and decisions that could’ve taken me from this world. I could’ve lost my life doing what I was doing. Once music happened to me, everything changed. It’s like I just got blessed.” 

Like most contemporary artists, Glockianna first began sharing her music on social media. She posted videos of her songs and freestyles on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok and they quickly blew up. To date, her Famous Animal TV freestyle has over 75,000 views and 216 comments – all of which are some version of “WOW she bodied that” or “yea she’s next up for sure.” 

It didn’t take long for more and more people to start paying attention to what she was doing. One of these people was fellow Memphis rapper Duke Deuce. “I saw a notification that popped up on my phone that said, ‘Duke Deuce liked your post’ and at first, I thought it was a fake page. Then I realized it was really him and I was so excited. Two days later he inboxed me and was like, ‘You trying to work? I’m trying to get you on this song. I see so much in you. Send me your number and we’ll make something happen.’”

She sent him her number and within two weeks, Glockianna was in a meeting with Deuce and his team. “I was so starstruck when I met him,” she says laughing. “I kept it cool the whole time, even when we signed the paperwork. But when we left? We were cutting up in the car! We were so live in the car!” An extremely appropriate reaction, but one that also reminds us that despite how grown she may present herself, Glockianna is still very much a teenager.

When we talk about what it’s like to be both in high school and a rising star, Glockianna gets vulnerable. “I struggle with anything your average teenager struggles with. I struggle with temptations, I struggle with a lot of hate,” she discloses. “People started saying I was walking around like I thought I was better than other people or I wasn’t humble.” I ask her how she deals with that because honestly, I can’t imagine the weight of it during such an impressionable period of your life. “I used to care about what they were saying. I used to come home and tell my grandmomma how I felt and I used to get into a lot of stuff because I cared about what they said about me,” Glockianna explains. She then pauses, thinks for a second, and continues on. “Then I realized there ain’t no point. I mean, people talked about Jesus, they’re gonna talk about you.” Amen. 

Listening to Glockianna’s music, there are certain influences or comparisons you can pick out. She draws from other powerful female rappers like Gangsta Boo, La Chat, GloRilla, TiaCorine, Rico Nasty, and Cardi B, but if you listen closely to her songs, there’s more. Much like Glockianna as a person, her music is layered and multi-dimensional. She often uses samples from older soul or blues artists she was introduced to by her Grandpa. 

“I love Jay Morris Group. I like J Wonn, Pokey Bear,” Glockianna stops and starts singing some of their songs. “I like blues music. If I was on my deathbed and someone was asking me what my final wish was, no offense grandmomma and grandaddy, but it would be to see a Jay Morris Group concert,” she says laughing. “It’s just something about their spirit I relate to so much! You can feel where they’re coming from.” It’s clear this is an ideology that fuels Glockianna’s own music as well.

Towards the end of our time together, I ask Glockianna where she sees herself in five years expecting a detailed plan of how she’s going to be music’s next superstar. Instead, she shakes her head and says defiantly “I ain’t rapping in 5 years. I’m not trying to be rapping my whole life. Rapping was a gift God gave me. I wanna go to school for social work.” It was a statement that at first caught me off guard, but the more I thought about Glockianna’s music it makes sense. She found an outlet to help her heal or cope and she only wants to be able to give that same gift to others in whatever medium presents itself. 

She’s quick to clarify one thing though. “The reason I wanna make my money is for my grandmomma and my grandad. When I was coming up, they always made a way for me. So, I just wanna pay the way back. My mindset at 16 years old is different from my peers. They’re thinking about what they’re going to do this weekend. I’m thinking about how I can become a millionaire before I’m 18. I’m thinking about how I can get my Grandmomma and my Grandaddy out the hood before I’m 17. That’s how I think. I’m seeing the huge picture and they’re seeing the little picture and that makes me different.”

Different may feel uncomfortable to some, but for Glockianna, it’s what’s natural. She’s a teenager who one second is performing in front of sold out crowds and the next needs to make sure she’s home by curfew (yes, she still has a curfew). She’s releasing music videos but also maintaining an honor roll status at school. She doesn’t adhere to this world or that world, she adheres to Glockianna’s world and Glockianna’s world only. We’re just lucky to get to visit through her songs.

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