Shy Glizzy’s Law, Reviewed
It’s a weak move to forge clout by dissing an established voice.
With half-a-million YouTube views, Shy Glizzy is the local kid who went after Fat Trel through a terrifying reimagining of the latter's “Respect With the Tech” called “Disrespect the Tech.” (Shy is actually an acronym for “Street's Hottest Youngin’.” He seems quite extroverted.) The clip features cohorts in ski masks, an abundance of shimmering street weaponry, and Glizzy sipping lean—the iconic Texas cocktail of Sprite and Promethazine. The visuals make N.W.A. circa 1987 look like trick-or-treaters, while the attack hones in on Trel’s street credentials, and most poignantly aims at Trel’s oft-delayed album, persona, and slang with one brilliant line, “Bitch I think I’m Jeezy, my mixtape on the way.” There’s also a Hedu Turkoglu reference for bonus points.
Glizzy is a teenager until December; obtained his GED from jail; and his father was murdered at 19. The rash music is as logical as it is tragic. It’s tough not to invoke D.C.-born comedian Donnell Rawlings’ riffs about age in poverty-stricken black communities: “Black people get a party for graduating from high school because they survived…like, ‘Oh my god he made it to the tenth grade! He is so old.’”
Glizzy’s latest tape, Law, is full of that youthful wear-and tear-dichotomy (“Disrespect” dropped in November on his Street's Hottest Youngin’ tape). Recent additions to the canon like Joey Bada$$$ and Odd Future’s Hodgy Beats are old souls who harken to golden-era gods like ’94 Nas. Glizzy is more Roscoe Dash: He's less polished, and more frenetic, while his hooks are repetitive and droning but also hungry and catchy. He’s witty, but his punchlines are handfed. (Take the lyric “Got a white bitch named Suzy, with a black girl booty,” or when he rhymes Hannah Montana with Tony Montana).
Outlast the opening two tracks—a nasally coronation about running the game, and a noisy follow-up that features a crony named Jose Guapo who Autotune pitchshifts on the chorus and the rapping—you’re in for a post-mid-2000s-trap-music-boom gem of a tape. There’s bombast, drug-binge bombs about breakfast cereal and cutting class to shoot dice by the stairs (“Law”), and “Southside,” an anthem that borrows liberally from Lil Keke’s classic eponymous Houston ode, but also forges the killer nickname, Glizzy Strasburg.
The best high is “I Come From Nothing,” a Rich Kid-produced, freestyle-sounding, stream-of-consciousness-rapped song about surroundings. “I’m from where niggas don’t know they mother, they like fuck religion, brothers killin’ brothers/my cousin 12 years old and he will bust ya.” Glizzy goes on to detail his first gun.
The chorus is plain and circular: “My hood full of crackheads and hustlers/we was taught to be tougher than others.”
Law is a well-connected tape—Beat Billionaire produces, Wale and, most shockingly, 40-year-old Memphis legend Project Pat lend professional spice to a free work that lives on Livemixtapes.com. The aura of elders and handlers means Law sometimes feels like it wants to be a major-label-debut, even though Glizzy is still an exciting talent finding a voice.