When exploring the hip-hop scene of the greater Washington D.C. area, one cannot ignore the works of Shy Glizzy. Born Marquis Amonte King in 1992, this talented artist rose to the top of the charts in what seemed like a matter of weeks.
Glizzy grew up in Southeast D.C. in the Fort Dupont area with his grandmother, mother, and younger brother, as his father was shot and killed before his first birthday. Glizzy’s childhood was nothing short of hectic. Growing up, he had quite a few run-ins with the law. At age 14, the artist was arrested for petty larceny. Two years later he was arrested for robbery and spent 14 months in juvenile detention.
During his sentence, Glizzy earned his GED and upon release eventually found a distinct passion for music. However, he followed this new calling in quite an unusual way.
Glizzy credits his discovery of music to reading the Quran as a young Muslim teenager. He found himself deeply invested into the teachings of the Quran, biographies, and newspaper articles. After developing his affection for reading, Glizzy wrote a novel of his own.
He invested a substantial amount of time and effort into the project, but in the end, it turned out to be a song. Growing up, Glizzy didn’t listen to hip-hop music but rather “go-go” music. He attributes this to creating his unique sound. Once he discovered his unique style, things began to take off for the young artist.
The Pace to the Top
In 2011, Glizzy distributed his first project which beared the title No Brainer. After this January release, he was swift to continue working because the project was admired more than he had initially expected. On Halloween of the same year, he debuted his second mixtape, “Street’s Hottest Youngin,” a project that would ultimately shape the fate of his music career.
After “Street’s Hottest Youngin” blew up in D.C., Glizzy was featured on Complex magazine’s list of “10 New DMV Rappers To Watch Out For,” which provided him a monumental foot in the door. With the release of his third mixtape titled “Law,” Glizzy began to master his craft with, what is described as a “less polished, more frenetic droning” with catchy hooks. This establishment would allow him to land a major collaboration.
In the late months of 2012, Glizzy linked up with Jose Guapo, a well established artist at the time. Their 11-track collaboration titled “Fly Money” was unlike anything Glizzy had released to date, and he had yet another trick up his sleeve.
Determined to make it in the industry, Glizzy released his fifth mixtape, “Fxck Rap” with a major cameo from Trinidad James and production from the late Speaker Knockerz — arguably the hottest producer at the time. Despite releasing five mixtapes over the course of a single year, the young artist had not been scouted any major labels.
After an extensive tour for Fxck Rap, Complex Magazine caught wind of Glizzy’s works yet again, naming him one of “15 Unsigned Rappers Who Should Get a Deal After SXSW,” which is an acronym for the infamous music festival, South by Southwest, in Austin, Texas. Glizzy, effectively hatched his sixth mixtape, “Law 2,” featuring major artists such as Migos, Kevin Gates, Starlito, and Yo Gotti.
In February of 2014, Glizzy disclosed his seventh mixtape titled “Young Jefe.” It highlighted many artists such as Young Thug, PeeWee Longway, and Young Scooter at the pinnacle of the southern hip-hop movement occurring in the hotbed that is Atlanta. This mixtape included the song, “Awwsome,” which would eventually turn into one of the biggest hits of his career. In this same year, he released “Law 3,” which featured his knockout and one of my personal favorites, “Funeral.”
When 2015 rolled around, “Young Jefe’s” success would land Glizzy a position in the XXL Freshman Class list, which is arguably one of the greatest distinguishments a hip-hop artist can amass. In August of that year, Glizzy announced the release of his (sixth? If I’m counting right?) and more significant flagship mixtapes, “For Trappers Only.” The project’s uniqueness came from its production curated by the one and only Zaytoven. It guest-featured Boosie Badazz, Yo Gotti, and Ty Dolla $ign.
This Is Only The Beginning
Labels began to catch wind of Glizzy’s massive accomplishments which prompted him to sign to his first label, 300 Entertainment, in 2017. In the fall of 2018, Glizzy announced his first ever studio album, “Fully Loaded,” which included guest appearances from YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Lil Uzi Vert, Quando Rondo, Young Thug, Gunna, Lil Durk and Rick Ross, all of which are some of the biggest names in the industry. One of my personal favorites to appear on this album is “Problems” which features Quando Rondo and Lil Durk.
Glizzy released his second studio album “Covered N’ Blood” in mid-April of this year.
“It’s a really deep album,” Glizzy says about “Covered N’ Blood.” “A lot of my music is like a diary. This one is about what I’ve been going through the last few months.”
Shy Glizzy has built himself to be one of DMV’s most accomplished hip-hop artists. Despite labels taking almost forever to notice his work, he never backed down or gave up on his passion — a passion that originated within his love of literature and “go-go” music. He left casual listeners and die-hard fans alike with a meaningful quote during his interview with The Fader when asked about D.C.’s state of hip-hop.
“I’m trying to open up that lane so more youngsters can come through,” he says. “No one else ever opened that door for me… I got a whole culture — the D, the M, and the V — to put on for.”