Shy Glizzy’s Best Loosies and Deep Cuts
Ever since Shy Glizzy came onto the DMV rap scene in early 2011, he's been one of the most distinct voices in rap. There hasn't been a tone as nasal in hip-hop since Eazy-E. Just as Eazy's gangster raps had a cartoonish twist to them thanks to his delivery, so do Glizzy's raps -- even if sorrowful. His rhymes have a youth-tinged exuberance that gives his songs both levity and ironic weight.
His music has always walked that tight rope between jubilance and sadness, as demonstrated by his two most popular songs; "Awwsome" is pure celebration of self, swish gestures and all, while "Funeral" is a lighthearted reflection on who he wants to see stick around when he dies. But his music is much more than a dichotomy of emotional poles, as his grasp on melody and ability to capture a scene in as few bars as possible has improved vastly over the past five years.
He just released Young Jefe 2, the sequel to one of his strongest tapes from 2014, and it might be the most well-rounded project he's ever dropped. He released a tape with Zaytoven called For Trappers Only earlier this year, but it didn't have the same punch that Law 3 did. And while everyone slobbered on "Funeral," the rest of that latter tape didn't get the shine it deserved, with other standouts like "Cocky" and "Better Days" falling by the wayside.
"Rounds" is the only single that Shy released ahead of Young Jefe 2, and it got us thinking. Glizzy's got a bunch of deep cuts and loosies that don't get as much love as his popular singles do. So to celebrate his excellent new project, we take a look back at some of the D.C. rapper's best random songs.
Glizzy's first tape, No Brainer, in 2011 was an exercise more than a coherent project, but towards the end, a short track called "Gator" produced by Nard & B hints at what was to come from the DMV spitter.
Glizzy's second tape, Streets Hottest Youngin', was his proper coming out party with improved wit and a lack of the beat-jacking freestyles that engulfed his debut tape that same year. The last song, "Angels Come Get Me," catches Glizzy as he smiles despite having a heart full of pain, finally laying bare the tension he carries across most of the project. It was also his best hook to date.
While so many rappers are cocksure to a fault, Glizzy puts his wishes out there on this cut from Fxck Rap, one of his best tapes that came during a string of strong releases for Glizzy in 2012 (Law) and 2013 (Law 2).
Law 2 is another contender for Glizzy's best tape, and though it contained an important record for him with "Money Problems," the back half has records like "Guns N Roses," where he flaunts one of a handful of signature flows, and "The N Word," a mellow collab with the esteemed Starlito.
Young Jefe is one of the best rap tapes in recent years, so there's a host of slept-on cuts there, but "Medellin" sticks out as such an instantly infectious record, especially because the whole Pablo Escobar/Colombia thing can be tired when it's not done right. Glizzy knows how to breathe life into just one word.
In the months after Law 3, Glizzy threw this loosie out there randomly, and even though it got little fanfare, his "he shoot, he score!" hook is one of the strongest of his career, falling in line with the "Awwsome" basketball imagery.
"I got my pistol on cock, if you run up you get shot," raps Glizzy on this effervescent Zaytiggy beat. "Off the Block" is the clear highlight on For Trappers Only, and it illustrates how much Glizzy has developed his melodic songwriting, as he's sing-rapping his verses too.
This Cassis Jay-produced cut racked up over a million plays on YouTube so we can't say it's necessarily slept on, but he threw it out earlier this year and it was eclipsed by his monster "Cut It" remix that he dropped in December of 2015.
Glizzy took Curren$y's "Champagne Reign" beat and outshined the N.O. MC with this mid-2015 loosie. He sounds great over these type of sparse, piano-laden beats, which made the mediocrity of For Trappers Only that much more disappointing -- especially because Shy usually sounds tremendous over Zay production.