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In today’s age, signing to a major label seems like the move, but the real MVPs are the artists owning their masters and killing it independently. Insert Shy Glizzy, who puts on for the DMV area like no other.

Off the rip on “Volcano,” Shy spits, “Okay, shout out to them robbers and them motherf**kin’ shooters. I come from the bottom like the motherf**kin’ sewer.” The 27-year-old has had much success in the rap game, including a standout feature on GoldLink’s “Crew” alongside Brent Faiyaz, which earned Shy his first Grammy nomination.

Shy’s most recent single is titled “Lonely Vibes,” a three-minute track dedicated to the passing of one of his homies. Referencing G Herbo’s latest album PTSD, the rapper states, “PTSD is real.” It’s his unique sound that separates him from the rest — heavily influenced by go-go music, which originated in the DMV area.

REVOLT caught up with the self-described “big boss” to chat about the independent grind, Glizzy Gang, his favorite Lil Wayne Carter project, and more. Read below.

How’s quarantine life?

Pretty good. I don’t really care, it’s cool. I’m recording right now though, just chillin’ and vibing.

Being from the DMV, what was your household like growing up?

I had a good household. My mom always made sure me and my brother were straight, no matter what. I was going to my grandma’s house where my uncles were in the streets, it was a lifestyle that I was looking up to at the time. I come from the hood, so my household was firm, but my surroundings were loose. It was everywhere. I wanted to experience what all my friends and everyone else was experiencing. I liked going into that life.

At what point did you start taking music seriously?

When I went to jail for three years. I was 14. I was a bad kid.

Why was that the turning point?

I started writing and when I came home, I released two tracks on Myspace. They were fucking with it. YouTube came about, and I went to jail again. When I came home the second time, YouTube was around and I shot a video. Once I shot my first video, I became this exciting guy in D.C. Everybody loved me. It was this sound, I was coming heavy. They started fucking with me. Jail really gave me the discipline to sit down and execute this plan. “I want to do this. I don’t want to go back out here, robbing people.” That was the turning point. I executed my plan straight out the gate. Made something happen and never looked back since.

Did you envision yourself where you are now?

For sure. I envisioned it much, much bigger. We’re going to elevate from here. I see myself at least $100 million or better. This ain’t nothing where I’m at right now. I always envisioned a big life for myself.

You’ve been killing it independently though.

Yeah for sure, I plan to stay that way. I just got my first artist.

What was your decision to remain independent?

The freedom I have, the leadership I preach about and the ownership, as well. That’s really important to me. To be the leader of my own brand and have my own label, to coach the youths who are coming from my area and different parts of the struggle or wherever they may come from. Even if I come across the next Justin Bieber, I’m looking to expand my brand in those ways. It‘d take me much, much longer to execute my vision because I’ve already been on such a long journey. Now, it’s time to step it up. For me having so much freedom in this situation, there’s no way I could lose because I’m in control of my own destiny.

Bring us back to when you first had the idea for Glizzy Gang. What did you want the brand to represent?

Of course, everybody wants to be the next No Limit or Cash Money, but that’s what I saw for my brand. It was a big move. My area never had that light shared upon us, so we brought that to the industry globally. Every building we go in whether it’s L.A., Miami, they know the Glizzy Gang and them D.C. guys. That’s very important to me, a big vision for my brand is to be a great representation of what I come from. Building an empire out of there. That’s what we’re doing from 2020 on, building the brand up with these younger artists. Busting down the doors on the DMV and the D.C. sound.

What do you look for when you sign an artist?

I want it to be raw and genuine, of course. I want talent, but hard work out beats talent. I want talented artists, but I also want someone who’s working hard nonstop. I see them on they grind, see how their fans are reacting. Shit, superstar status, basically.

What were you going through when you recorded “Lonely Vibes”?

I’d just lost my homie, then I got in the studio with 1500 Or Nothin’. Rance and Swiff did the beat. They always seem to bring certain emotions out of artists. I’m a big fan of beats that sound soulful — that people can feel. I heard the beat, I’m like, “Damn, everything I have on my mind right now, this is the perfect time to relieve this.” I got in there and freestyled, [we] did our magic like that.

How are you coping right now, especially with hip hop experiencing losses from some of the greats?

I’m trying to stay healthy myself. It’s very tragic in those situations, but I face those situations in my real life — outside of hip hop regularly. When I heard [G Herbo’s] PTSD, that’s real. We’ve been experiencing that. I’ve been that way. I lost my dad at four months old. From that point, I always had the eye of death. People were dying and dying and dying that I knew, since I’ve been born. I’m numb to that at this point.

What do you do for self-care?

I go to the gym three to four times a week. I’m a pescatarian, I don’t eat any meat. Smoothies, juices. I try to eat well and work out, and good weed.

You’re a huge Wayne fan. What’s your favorite Carter project?

Carter I, II, and III [are] tied. It’s either II or III. It has to be II because I was in my zone on II. “Hustler Musik,” “Hit Em Up,” “Best Rapper Alive”… Carter II is easily my favorite. I love III though. “Mr. Carter” was crazy. Top three Wayne songs for sure.

You need a Wayne feature!

Man, I can’t wait. It’s going to happen.

What can we expect from Young Jefe 3?

Elevation. More flows, if I didn’t already give out enough. Good production of course, always. It’s a more universal sound. I have records for everybody — for people who are struggling, for girls, for the kids to turn up to, for TikToks, for the clubs. Whatever, I have all types of records.

Have you been on the TikTok wave?

I haven’t been on TikTok yet. I’m going to do it with my son… one day.