Harold Stallworth admires Shy Glizzy’s beard.
Earlier this summer, despite a sweltering 97-degree forecast, hundreds of teenagers convened on the 200th block of 37th Street—just two miles east of the Redskins’ old stomping grounds, RFK Stadium—in honor of Shy Glizzy’s 2nd annual Glizzy Day. The term Glizzy is as malleable as a damp pretzel. It can be a suffix or prefix, firearm or narcotic, phalanx or phallus. But in this particular instance, it was used to describe Shy Glizzy leaning on an SUV, entertaining freestyles from 12-year-olds and striking an occasional pose for the one photographer brave—or savvy—enough to forfeit his Saturday afternoon to a Southeast D.C. housing project. The flyer circulated weeks beforehand promised a block party with food, music, games and surprise celebrity guests, none of which were made readily available for Glizzy Day. But if you buy into the idea that a rapper’s mere presence is inherently philanthropic, Glizzy Gang is due for massive charitable write-offs come tax season.
In the context of Shy Glizzy’s music, everyday is Glizzy Day. On Law 2, his third street album in less than 18 months, 37th Street is shouted out upward of a dozen times. Though, the strongest efforts surface when he takes a break from rapping about his old neighborhood like a treasured landmark, and sets out to convey the plight of his neighbors therein. “Some Ones” is the bravest record featured on the album. It’s a shrewd hybrid between “Brenda’s Got a Baby” and “No Hands” that’s too depressing for the strippers employed by Club Stadium, yet too edgy for the D.C. Loves Dilla cult. It’s performances like this—empathetic narratives rich in detail and devoid of finger wagging—that almost justify his self-legislated holiday.
ZIP: Shy Glizzy – Laws 2 (Left-Click)