Last summer when I first stumbled across D.C’s Shy Glizzy, I wasn’t convinced. He’d just released his first tape with all original material in Law, was still deep into his beef with Fat Trel and his song construction left a lot to be desired. Still, there was some sort of cosmic connection I had to his music, or maybe just him as an individual. After all, if there’s nothing else you can give Glizzy credit for, it’s the conviction in his words. I know he’d did some time as a teenager for robbery, got stabbed in a club not too long after and seemed to have a legit reputation as a street dude in D.C. so he had every right to talk big boy shit as much as he wanted to in his music. In ways, he slipped into a personal void that I needed filled after Boosie Boo had been in prison: A small dude in size, with big personality and the yelpy street narration to top it off. I’d gotten through his diss songs (“3 Milli” for Chief Keef and “Disrespect The Tech” for Fat Trel) and while they were both entertaining, I wasn’t moved.
Law started to sway me a bit. Glizzy was still spitting like he was in his diss tracks but the recklessness was a bit more concentrated. His message was clear, though: he was a young street dude translating his reputation through music. Most of the tracks are about the money he’d made, being D.C. through and through, and having no reservations about turning to the gun. “Law” was the tape’s standout with his hilarious, yet effective ad libs like gun-sound “Bloom Bloom” and “OH”. Overall, the tape was subpar though and like most internet rap, I processed it as such: Enjoy it for the moment and for the experience, no matter how small it may be. What I hadn’t taken into consideration is that Shy Glizzy isn’t much of an internet rapper. Even with a rap star like Wale featured on both Law and his Fxck Rap project, he’s just getting to people outside of the DMV area with help from Fader’s Gen F column and last year’s short-lived beef with Chief Keef. But mostly Glizzy is somewhat of a hometown hero for D.C.’s youth. Most of the YouTube comments on his videos are praise from kids in the District and in the aforementioned Fader feature he confessed: “Even if I don’t ever blow, Imma always be remembered here.”
That was a perfect precursor to “I Am DC”, the lead-off from his latest project Law 2. The airy chant of “I run my city, I run my city” throughout the song translates an emotion that can’t be fabricated for youtube views and download stats; it’s authentic. The most impressive thing about Law 2 is that, in content, Shy Glizzy has shown no growth yet he’s still made leaps and bounds as an artist. Just like everything else he’s done, you're gonna get guns here, you’re gonna get drugs and you’re gonna get money. But he’s never made those things sound so amazing. He’s finally come around to using that Cow from "Cow & Chicken" voice to his advantage. Take “Free The Gang” for example, a song about friends being locked up (The millionth rap song of the same topic), where his sing-song method does wonders with the hook “You threw your life away, threw your life away/ Man I hope and pray the streets don’t take my life away.” “Guns & Roses” does the same as he goes through a guide of street rules: “Police took away my friends, or they life came to an end/ These niggas ain’t my friends, they just want some of my ends.” His curatorial prowess sticks out on this tape too. He grabs a couple beats from rising trap producer Metro Boomin, recruits Kevin Gates (another sing-song street rapper) for “Gudda” and on the tape’s most entertaining and club-ready track “Wassaname” (fucking banger!!! OMG) he brings Migos along.
Law 2 also finds Shy in a more introspective, matured state. Where he was quick to draw on the tape’s prequel, here he’s cognizant of his position and is at least a little smarter with pulling the gun as he says in “Free The Gang”: “Man we this damn close, you wait ‘til now to start killing?/ Why the fuck you stealing cars when we riding ‘round in foreigns?/ Music shoulda been your job, boy I’m ‘bout to start touring/ Every club we scorin’, kept the Rose´ pourin’/Yeah I shoot shit up too, but I’m smart when I’m doing it.” Moments like this where he’s sitting his friends down and giving them a heart-to-heart is how he maintains the “I’m not really a rapper” thing that Jeezy held onto so dearly when he was a new artist. He actually dedicates the hook for “The N Word” to that stance too: “Rap niggas is rap niggas and trap niggas is trap niggas/ I’m still in the trap nigga.” “I’m not your favorite rapper, I just wanna motivate you” is what he says in “I Am DC” and in the Yo Gotti-assisted “Money Problems” he talks about his absence of funds causing him to get into arguments with his right hand man, who’s in a better financial position. Really, Law 2 is the stories that old head on your block tells you while you chill on the stoop about the people he’s shot up, the crazy club nights, women he’s had sex with and how he could’ve made it big. Glizzy’s that dude and seems to welcome that role.
From me first discovering him, like Migos, Glizzy has had an element to his music that’s inexplicably enjoyable; Neither are offering foreign subject matter and most of their hooks are painfully repetitive but they’ve both developed an audible aesthetic that can’t be duplicated.The craziest part about this is how much better he’s gotten since the first Law tape—It’s a bit scary And for that reason, Law 2 hasn’t gone a day without play on my iTunes or in my car since it dropped. Whether Shy Glizzy is really a rapper, or a trapper who’s just trying to drop gems for people from a similar background, his incantatory street tales are great in this tape.