Shy Glizzy and Zaytoven For Trappers Only review

Corporate-run publications and people who still buy Timberlands or khaki suits (or Timberlands and khaki suits) might try to tell you otherwise, but Atlanta is the center of the rap world and has been for some time now. From Future and Young Thug back through Gucci Mane and all the way to the Dungeon, Georgia has consistently stayed ahead of hip-hop’s various curves and bent many of them to its will. How else could a city’s strip clubs become the testing grounds for which songs might break nationally?

Washington, D.C., enjoys no such luxury. Where some cities—Baton Rouge, Oakland—have rap scenes that are remarkably self-contained, the Capital’s local music skews away from hip-hop, toward go-go and other genres. There are Wale's and Oddisee's and there were Fat Trel's, but on the whole, not much to speak of in the way of a signature presence on the national scale.

Enter For Trappers Only. Behind the boards is Zaytoven, the producer who made his name during Gucci’s inhumanly prolific late-2000s run and has since played godfather to the Migos and to Future Hendrix, among others. (Zay's tape with Future, Beast Mode, was the second tape in the latter’s run of critical and commercial dominance when it dropped this January.) And in the booth is Shy Glizzy, the preternaturally talented 2015 XXL Freshman poised to be the biggest thing out of D.C. since Bryce Harper and Alex Ovechkin.

Glizzy broke through last February with Young Jefe, a smart set that imported trap maximalism—and some of its chief practitioners—from Atlanta. He followed it in December with the even tighter Law 3. Each tape came with a smattering of Zaytoven beats; in both cases, those were among the standouts.

Now on For Trappers Only, instead of doubling down on one trick, Glizzy and Zaytoven hit nearly every iteration of their shared sound one could imagine. Take the opening three-track run: “First 48” is the kind of foreboding, night-before-Halloween procession that you’d expect at the top of the next Burrrprint; “Out The Block” is a bittersweet celebration, a Labor Day barbecue with funeral t-shirts; “No Sleep” is entirely kinetic. Ten minutes in, For Trappers Only has covered its own corner and is coming for yours.

Though his writing might not be quite as developed, Glizzy aims for the same hyper-realist veins Boosie BadAzz has made his own. The latter shows up on two tracks here, and both times he steals the show—particularly on “Hunnit Hunnit,” where he follows Glizzy and Yo Gotti with a vicious verse that peaks with, “I’m eating, this is band talk/My Jesus piece 100, this a Baton Rouge landmark!”

There probably isn’t an “Awwsome” or a “Funeral” here; the Ty Dolla $ign-featuring “Lil Mama” is a solid, bottom-heavy album cut, but isn’t likely to pop at radio. If anything, “Out The Block,” “Winning” and a few others might make their way into club rotation, and one could imagine “Going Thru It,” the other Boosie collaboration, catching the tail end of your summer spins.

Beyond the aforementioned appearances—and a predictably colorful turn from Sauce Walka—the most notable guest spot on the tape is from Dex Osama, the Detroit rapper who was tragically shot and killed last month in his hometown. Glizzy and Dex share the closing track, the stern, defiant “Take a While.” It’s everything fans in Washington have come to expect: mean, yet fun; thoughtful, but never sentimental. In other words, it’s just the kind of thing that might get the word out. —Paul Thompson