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I Made a Shy Glizzy Madness Bracket Because No One Else Is Brave Enough To

You've seen Kanye Madness and Drake Madness, but I decided to put the Southeast DC rapper's best songs to the test—from "Awwsome," to "Funeral,' to "3Milli".

by Lawrence Burney
Mar 15 2018, 7:36pm

Where were you when you first heard Shy Glizzy's 2012 track "3Milli"? Perusing Twitter in its earlier, much more savage days? In the homie's whip? At home, watching videos of a 17-year-old Chief Keef before he defined an entire generation? Maybe you've never heard it, but you should. It's the song that put the Southeast DC rapper on the national stage. On it, Glizzy dissed Chief Keef on his own "3Hunna" beat after the two exchanged words on Twitter. The most popular theory behind this fued's genesis is that by Keef being close to Fat Trel—the Northeast DC native and Glizzy's long time rival—he went at Glizzy to show solidarity. But the move ended up helping Shy make an impression on a national audience, due to his nasal squawk and pure embodiment of DC culture, from his accent, to rocking New Balance 993's in the song's video.

Within a year of the 2012 diss, Shy Glizzy positioned himself as DC's most promising act, after Wale broke the market open for the city in the late 2000s and Fat Trel started off the decade on fire. Some question whether or not Shy would have gone on to any success had he not dissed Keef and Trel within months of each other, but even two wildly entertaining jabs at popular rappers can't sustain someone for over five years. Since those tracks, he's gone on to drop eight solo projects, garnering a loyal following in the DC Area, up to Baltimore, and down to Atlanta.

In 2014, Glizzy's single "Awwsome" became the closest thing he's ever had to a solo smash hit. It peaked at 45 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, got a remix featuring 2 Chainz and A$AP Rocky, and even got incorporated into Beyoncè's set at the 2015 Global Citizen Festival. Just last year, he was the star of GoldLink's ubiquitous "Crew", a platinum single that resulted in him getting a Grammy nomination. It's a milestone that any street artist dreams of, especially one from a city not widely recognized as a destination for rap. But in between those mainstream accomplishments, Shy Glizzy has consistently fed his fan base since stepping onto the scene. And considering that this week has been the week of dropping rapper-themed brackets fashioned after NCAA Basketball's March Madness, the right thing to do is to make one featuring Glizzy's best tunes both for devoted fans, and those who aren't hip to his tireless output.

It is with great pleasure that I present Glizzy Madness (full size here), a bracket comprised of 64 Shy Glizzy standouts, deep cuts, and likely unheard bangers. You might ask, "Shy Glizzy actually has 64 songs???" Yes, he does, and there's more where they came from. The bracket is broken down into four Glizzy-specific regions: Jefe (his self-appointed nickname and brief artist name), Tre-7 (37th St. where he's from), LL30 (the hashtag used to honor his slain friend and rapper, 30 Glizzy), and Soufease (a more accurate pronunciation of his native Southeast quadrant of DC).

Considering that Shy has also been known to bring some of his most spirited bars on other people's tracks, there are a few of his featured verses included here. Without him, GoldLink's "Crew" would have likely not sniffed any of the success that it did last year, earning it a 2 seed in the Tre-7 region. His contribution to Meek Mill's "Chiraq" remix in 2014 is one that many people missed and it comes in as a 13 seed in the Jefe region. His fellow Southeast DC native Lightshow's "I'm In Love" dropped in 2012, and it's one of Glizzy's most overlooked guest verses. That one is a 10 seed in the LL30 region. And in the Soufease region, his guest verse on late Baltimore rapper Lor Scoota's "Ain't Too Many" comes in as a 13 seed.

There are also a good deal of songs from an 18-year-old Glizzy that many may not have heard before. Most people think that Shy sparked his career with "3Milli" and his Fat Trel diss, "Disrespect the Tech." But in 2011, an even more squeaky-voiced teen Glizzy released his debut No Brainer in January and Streets Hottest Youngin' in October. The overall production quality—and his rapping skill—weren't quite as developed as they are now, but there were moments when he showed capabilities that rarely show up in his current music. One song in particular, The Soufease region's 9 seed "Real As They Come" from No Brainer, is awe-inspiring. The track finds Shy professing that he is chosen for greatness over production that sounds like a young mixtape J. Cole would have given it a try. You'd be hard pressed to find another song of his like it.

The four number 1 seeds are some of Shy's most celebrated. Heading the Jefe region is "Funeral," a song that contrasts eerily specific plans for his homegoing with glorious production, which has made it a consensus favorite with both critics and fans. "White Girl" from 2014's Young Jefe—Glizzy's best tape (not up for debate)—leads the Tre-7 region. "Awwsome" heads LL30 and his "Cut It" freestyle, in which he passionately addressed having his chain snatched in Memphis, heads the Soufease region.

As a die hard Shy Glizzy fan, this has been one of my most challenging undertakings, but below is my filled-in Glizzy Madness bracket (To see a full-size version of the bracket click here).

Let's discuss my Final Four which features "Funeral," "Crew," Law 2's "Legend," and Young Jefe's "Prey For Me." Having "Funeral" going head on with "Crew" is particularly trying because while both songs are great, they convey two completely different messages. "Crew" is a feel good song about feeling good, but since Shy only appears for one, albeit great, verse it's hard to place it past "Funeral," one of the most complete songs of his career. So, "Funeral" pushes to the championship. On the bracket's other side, we have "Legend" vs "Prey For Me." Again, here are two songs that inspire opposite feelings. "Legend" is Glizzy at his shit-talking apex. On it, he makes the valid case for his status as a figure etched in stone, at least in his hometown. Those claims are supported by grand-sounding production, that if you bump in the car, will have you feeling like the greatest human to ever walk this Earth. "Prey For Me," on the other hand, is one of his most menacing tracks and while he spends plenty of time boosting himself up, Shy gets a bit more autobiographical and clever with his lyricism. The second verse starts with, "Never been to the White House, just the house with the white," to depict the reality that many people from his side on the nation's capital face. For that, it edges past "Legend."

Unfortunately for "Prey For Me," it is the strongest song from a relatively weaker side of the bracket than "Funeral," which makes the championship decision a lot easier than expected. "Funeral" is considerably more memorable and poignant than "Prey For Me," which is why it comes out on top as the best song Shy Glizzy has ever made on my bracket. If this were to go to personal favorites, songs like "I Am DC," "Mula," and "Shank" would have all been in the conversation.

No one on the entire planet asked for this bracket. But that's why Glizzy Madness is as important as it is. The best things in life comes when you least expect them and when you didn't know you needed them. So, with that in mind, you all are welcome.

Glizzy Madness bracket by region:

JEFE:

Funeral - 1
Oh My Gosh-16

Rounds- 8
Haters Anthem- 9

Catch A Body- 5
Get Well Soon- 12

Coca Loca- 4
Chiraq w/ Meek Mill & Lil Durk- 13

I’m On Fire- 6
New Crack- 11

Shank- 3
Thank You- 14

Cocky- 7
Ride 4 U- 10

I Am DC- 2
Hunnit Hunnit- 15

TRE-7:

White Girl- 1
4 My Town-16

Think About It- 8
You Know What- 9

Guns & Roses- 5
Going Thru It- 12

First 48- 4
From the Get Go- 13

Get Jiggy- 6
Lor Scoota- Bird Flu (guest)- 11

Disrespect the Tech- 3
Snow Angel- 14

Celebration- 7
Too Far- 10

GoldLink- Crew (guest) -2
I Did It- 15

LL30:

Awwsome- 1
Dirty Game-16

Money- 8
Checklist w/ Fat Trel- 9

Law- 5
Tru Story- 12

Mula-4
Take A While- 13

Free The Gang- 6
Bodies- 11

More Clips- 3
Anywhere- 14

One Day- 7
Lightshow- I’m In Love (guest)- 10

Legend- 2
Fuck Rap- 15

SOUFEASE:

Cut It (Freestyle)- 1
Swish- 16

Take Me Away- 8
Real As They Come- 9

Bankroll- 5
Money Problems- 12

3Milli- 4
Lor Scoota- Ain’t Too Many (guest)- 13

How It Go- 6
Keep It Goin- 11

Or Nah-3
Congratulations- 14

Prey For Me- 7
Ridin- 10

No Sleep- 2
John Wall- 15

Lawrence Burney has barely slept this week because of this bracket. Please fill one out and follow him on Twitter.

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Glizzy Madness