Shy Glizzy is using his new music to deal with a tragedy.

On Sept. 7, the rapper's friend 30 Glizzy was killed. Once news about his death spread, the hip-hop community came together to offer condolences, from Boosie BadAzz to A$AP nast. 30, also a rapper, was a prominent member of Shy's Glizzy Gang over the years, appearing on songs like “Anywhere” and “Going Down,” as well as the clique's 2015 mixtape, Be Careful.

But, 30's legacy doesn't end with his death. Shy Glizzy will carry his name across the world through his new music. "30's still living, just through me now," Shy Glizzy tells XXL.

Most recently, Shy released the new single “Take Me Away,” produced by TM88. The song appears to be a tribute to 30, however, the Law 3 rapper made the record for himself.

"I made the song specifically about myself," the former XXL Freshman explains about "Take Me Away." "The plan was already to drop the song. I want my fans to feel the energy, whether good or bad. I want them to soak it in and understand every word. It's genuine and that's all I want them to see it as."

The record is genuine because even though Shy has accomplished a lot as a rapper—he was part of the 2015 XXL Freshman Class, signed to 300 Entertainment, his 2014 single "Awwsome" peaked at No. 45 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and was remixed with A$AP Rocky and 2 Chainz and Beyoncé even danced to it during her performance at the Global Citizen Festival in New York City in 2015—his life is still intertwined with the streets of Washington D.C.

Shy grew up in Southeast D.C., a place many consider to be the city's roughest area. That's his home. When most rappers get the success Shy Glizzy has accomplished, they usually move out West to L.A. to palm trees and beautiful weather. Not Shy; his home is the DMV. Even though he's not living in the same house he grew up in, his close proximity to the streets and his enemies make him a target.

"I'm just speaking on reality of my lifestyle," he details about his new music. "A lot of artists don't go through the situations I go through or have to face the challenges I have to on a daily basis. Most of them say things that they think are cool or that people wants to hear versus someone who really lives that life and in this [rap] for the better.

He's long been one of the best MCs to emerge from the DMV in recent years. 2014's Young Jefe was a local hit in the DMV but Law 3 proved Shy Glizzy was one of the hottest rappers going into 2015. Young Jefe 2 earned an accolade as one of best rap projects in 2016 and in 2017, he changed his name to Jefe—which he says was for rebranding—and released his The World Is Yours EP. Now, back to his original rap moniker Shy Glizzy, he's gearing up to release his new EP, Quiet Storm, this year. "Take Me Away" is the first appetizer to the main course.

"The World Is Yours was created to see if there was any elevation; to test the growth in my music and fans," Jefe explains. "Even with my back against the wall I know my fans and how authentic they are. I changed my whole name on that tape and they still went and found it. That was a EP strictly for my fans. 'Take Me Away' is for the world. That's Glizzy times 10. My mind was in a place that it's never been before. The sky is the limit with that one."

The raspy-voiced rhyme-slinger is oozing with enthusiasm for the music he's about to put out this year. He adds, "Definitely a new project this year, Quiet Storm very soon. I'm excited, probably the most excited I ever been in my life. I'm back on my bullshit."

Before that project arrives, he's already experienced great success this year. His standout verse on GoldLink’s hit song “Crew” has kept him in the public’s eye. The record peaked at No. 46 on the Billboard Hot 100. Even though they are both from the same city and landed in the same XXL Freshman class, ’Link and Shy Glizzy are on opposite sounds of the hip-hop spectrum, yet, their collaboration is perfect symmetry.

"I expected it to take off," says Glizzy. "I knew it was a banger when I did it. I felt like it was a different audience that needed to know Young Jefe."

It's officially Glizzy season.

Lauren Gesswein
Lauren Gesswein

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