DMV Beats: Shy Glizzy, Uptown XO, The White Mandingos, Yung Gleesh, Alli the Abstract
We know that Southeast catchphrase-provider Shy Glizzy can handle a hook, but what happens when he basically sings all the way through a song? On the memorable new cut "I Am D.C.," the results have some of Cee-Lo's ease and some of Eazy-E's sneer, but Glizzy's voice is unique in how it expresses hunger. He'll sometimes deliver a word with a little gulp, as if he's choking back some impatience. There are punchlines, too, of course: "I just started this rap shit, so please don’t get it twisted/These niggas been rapping they whole life, so how the fuck they live it?/And y'all supporting anything, I just don't fuckin' get it/My shootas is real Wizards/You niggas is Mystics."
The song is part of his upcoming Law 2 mixtape, which arrives Aug. 1. In the meantime, he's hosting this year's version of the Glizzy Day party on Saturday along 37th Street SE. ("EVERYONE WELCOME ... SECURE ENVIRONMENT, POLICE WILL BE ON PREMISES," says the poster.) Revisit our review of the first Law mixtape here, and see a recap of last year's Glizzy Day here. He's also on the bill for the Trillectro festival, Aug. 17. —Joe Warminsky
XO the Tour Guide
Uptown XO says it all at the beginning of "Finding My Way," a standout from his recent album, Colour de Grey: "I'd be lying if I didn't claim the District/I live where you heard about, where you only pay to visit." Accordingly, the video for "Finding My Way" tours the National Mall with quick black-and-white clips. The second half finds the Diamond District rapper sporting a retro-fade and suit, spitting bars along the Reflecting Pool and in front of Union Station. XO's videos are always remarkably D.C., no matter if he's cruising through the city or whoopin' ass with books. —-Marcus J. Moore
Warn A Brotha
The latest video from The White Mandingos is a cool ode to skateboarding. The hooligans smoke weed and cruise through the streets of New York. They lace their joints with cough medicine and rob a convenience store. While this is going on, MURS—who, like his bandmates Sacha Jenkins and Darryl Jenifer, doesn’t appear in the video—is rapping about his life as a rock star. If you dig this vid, you'll probably dig this, too. Long live The Bronx. —MJM
It’s All the Same for Yung Gleesh
Close followers of Fader might already know Yung Gleesh, whose hilariously off-kilter video for "Skrong" cropped up on the site last year. Earlier this month, the Fat Trel associate released Ain't Shit Changed.
Yung Gleesh is a comedian, and Ain't Shit Changed succeeds when his comedic timing is on point. On the Zaytoven-produced "Lazyness," he rhymes "40" several times over, while dropping humor that lampoons old winos in the process ("You damn near 50 years old and you're still drinkin' 40s). On “Celibate”, he channels Gucci Mane, from cadence to rhyme scheme ("Ignorant intelligent/But she say she celibate/Heaven sent malevolent/Heavy set is heavenly"). The standout tracks are "Drama" and "Loadin Ratchets," both of which feature Trel. The former is 100 percent Chicago drill music thanks to the presence of Chief Keef affiliate Fredo Santana, and the latter is Atlanta strip-club ready.
At 21 tracks, the album is a little too long, and tracks with similar beats blend together. But when Gleesh rhymes with purpose and over different production, he's a comedian, goon, and rapper—a triple threat. You can purchase the album here. —Julian Kimble
Alli the Abstract's Aspirations
Alli the Abstract has quietly built anticipation for his mixtape, The Middle Class Album, with a series of intelligent music videos for songs packed with clever lyrics. He sets the new project’s tone with "Middle Class Values," which features more of the latter: "I'm middle class, trying not to finish last/Like a nice guy, but that's me—Jay Gatsby." On the KiDD-assisted "Gov't Cheese," Abstract exhibits a mature self-awareness over a bouncy soul sample: "Mixed feelings, interracial emotions/According to history I would've been history/Thankfully my college application ain’t get looked over for Brittany or Tiffany/Just had an epiphany, I swear the government ain’t gettin’ shit from me." He has an affinity for the concept track that he flexes on "Internsh*t," and finishes the project strong with the aggressive "Bleached Tongue," where he boldly proclaims "I could've went to Brown but would've been mistaken for the mascot."
The 10-track mixtape is a breezy 31 minutes, and the youngster mixes cerebral lyrics with stellar production. Still, there's room for improvement: At times, he tries to be too lyrical, but that may pass with experience. His is just regular, smart kid rap. Nothing wrong with that. —JK
Due to a reporting error, the original version of this post misquoted lyrics from Shy Glizzy's "I Am D.C." The lyrics have been corrected.