By Jimmy Ness and originally written for Passionweiss
It’s cool to be weird in 2013. Danny Brown is Yakuza dope boy chic, Future’s an astronaut, Lil Wayne wears leopard print jeggings and Lil B’s cat has recorded more songs than you. Nostalgic fans see the ‘90s as the zenith of rap and I’m not inclined to argue, but there’s also something to be said for this era in which artists are free to experiment.
Washington D.C.’s Shy Glizzy isn’t the most innovative or strange, but there’s something oddly fascinating about his raggedly long sideburns, high pitch and sometimes boyish persona. The 20 year old, whose name is an acronym of ‘Street’s Hottest Youngin’ and a slang term for a glock, is a relative newcomer with less than five official mixtapes under his name. There’s only a few interviews with him online, and it takes a deep Google search to reveal his supposed government name: Marquis King.
Glizzy claims to have spent much of his youth robbing people and discovered he had a talent for rap after trying to write a book during a stay in a youth detention center. While third rate crack rappers from the front page of Datpiff trade phony coke stories and clamber over each other for the next big trap single, the Southeast DC rookie distinguishes himself with tales of the underclass, a nasally twang and simple, yet effective hooks. But is he just a poor man’s Lil Boosie?
Wale nearly signed the 20 year old to his BOA label, and MMG also courted him briefly. Everyone’s favorite felon Gunplay even appeared in the video for “Busters,” but not everyone is convinced. Chief Keef and Fat Trel had him banned from their DC show last year over some convoluted Twitter beef, which is probably Mr Folarin’s fault. Glizzy, of course, used this as an opportunity to gain some shine and released several tracks including a mediocre Keef diss called “3 Milli.” Shy flashes a piece in the video, says the O Blocker sounds like he’s 40 and spits the terribad line “I’mma catch your grandmother and shoot her in her titties.”
Despite the uninspired granny diss, Glizzy is a pretty unique character and the wiry rapper occasionally avoids the ultra-masculine bravado of the traditional MC. Shy references being raised by his grandmother and mother in various songs, sometimes calling the latter “mommy.” On “I came from nothing” off the mixtape Law, he also mentions his lack of athleticism. “Lord have mercy on me. Uhh, I wasn’t blessed to be LeBron. I wasn’t blessed to have a Michael Vick arm.”
Glizzy’s latest mixtape, Fxck Rap, is also an interesting listen. There’s personal tales about getting kicked out of multiple high schools, trying PCP and the murder of his father. But Shy’s true strength lies in catchy song writing.
“Swish” and “Pilot” are pretty solid singles and the album’s production is decent. “Swish” thumps like a trap anthem should and Glizzy uses the line “Pop a model, pop a bottle,” which could be a hook in itself. He also mentions groupies who are willing to do anything for a Twitter follow, and my hope for the human race decreases.
Glizzy’s appearance on newcomer AR-ab’s track “Shoot Gunz” further demonstrates his unique presence. Though the track is AR-ab’s, it belongs to Shy. He nasally raps the hook, switches his flow and calls himself “a glock connoisseur” before his co-star intrudes with forgettable thug raps.
However, Shy’s vocabulary is limited and he relies on rapping the same word multiple times. Some of his metaphors break the barrier between funny a la 2 Chainz and straight embarrassing. Lines like “I told her I’m the shit, she say you don’t even stink,” are lazy at best and should be kept for post-jail Lil Wayne. On Fxck Rap, Glizzy admits he’s only been rapping for two years, and it often shows.
If I were a rap soothsayer, I’d say Shy has three career paths. He will improve and put out a solid project that will win him mass appeal. He could fade into obscurity or get big quickly off a gimmicky single. Being a pessimist, I’m going to assume it’s one of the last two and an early collaboration with Trinidad James might mean he’s already looking for a trend or “hot artist” to piggyback him. But Shy Glizzy shows promise, and I’d be happy to be proven wrong.