D.C. rapper Shy Glizzy grew out of strutting early street singles and raw mixtapes into more refined material as the years went on. He began building an audience with the infectious, youthful arrogance of 2014′s “Awwsome,” and from there went on to chart success and worldwide fame with albums like 2018′s atmospherically trappy Fully Loaded.
Shy Glizzy was born Marquis Amonte King in 1992 and grew up in the greater Washington, D.C. area. His father died when he was an infant, and King was involved with petty street crime early on, doing time for robbery charges when he was 16. After serving time in a juvenile detention center, King began rapping. He released his first mixtape, No Brainer, in early 2011, and issued a second mixtape, Streets Hottest Youngin, before the end of that year. After indulging in some very public beefs with more established rappers (Glizzy made waves by taking aim at Fat Trel, playing off Trel’s song “Respect with the Tech” in his own diss track “Disrespect the Tech”), he continued releasing mixtapes in 2012 including Law and Fxck Rap, while also forming his own Glizzy Gang, an A$AP Mob-styled crew of like-named rappers including Snipe Glizzy and Ant Glizzy. Law 2 arrived in 2013, featuring appearances by Migos, Yo Gotti, Kevin Gates, and producer Metro Boomin. In 2014, Shy Glizzy issued the Young Jefe mixtape, which not only produced his first big hit with the slurring and infectious “Awwsome” but would also hint at a future name change for the rapper. A remix of “Awwsome” with 2 Chainz and A$AP Rocky followed, and the song peaked in the Top 50 of the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
After releasing three subsequent mixtapes, Glizzy changed his stage name to Jefe at the close of 2016 for the EP The World Is Yours. In 2017, he returned to the Shy Glizzy moniker for the album Quiet Storm, which featured production by Zaytoven and appearances by Trey Songz, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, and more. Following a handful of 2018 singles including the Gunna and Tory Lanez collaboration “Do You Understand?,” Glizzy released the full-length Fully Loaded. Technically his first proper studio album after years of mixtapes, Fully Loaded was a success, breaking into the Billboard Top 50 chart. He returned in the spring of 2019 with Covered N Blood, an album featuring guest spots from NBA YoungBoy and 3Glizzy. After kicking 2020 off with the singles “Lonely Vibes” and “Right or Wrong,” the rapper issued his 14th mixtape, Young Jefe 3, in September, with featured appearances from Lil Uzi Vert, Meek Mill, and Ty Dolla $ign. ~ David Jeffries & Neil Z. Yeung