After a string of delays, a minor Twitter beef with 9th Wonder over a beat, and a few singles, Young Gliss has released The Glimmer EP. The follow-up to last year’s Dealing with The Pressure 2 features impressive cameos from rap legends Prodigy and Killer Mike, as well as local Roots Crew affiliates STS and Dice Raw.
The tape starts off with the a cappella track “Intro Song” by R&B vocalist Shane Chris, singing about the dreams of an up-and-coming rapper to living in the fantasy world of a rap superstar, while also acknowledging the problems such success brings. Gliss is at war with the contrasting themes of the opener’s lyrics, “Fancy cars, fancy clothes, movies no one knows, candy canes in their nose, they’re not happy, sold their soul for a check, money, power, respect, platinum chains round their neck and a Grammy” throughout the mixtape.
Title track, “Glimmer” is one of the album’s standouts, putting the struggles of a rising rapper into perspective. The lyrics, “Success is what I vision, some shoes I can’t yet fit in,” speak to the fact that Gliss has not yet reached his goal of being a rap star, and his rhymes explain why he feels that he hasn’t received wide-spread attention for his work. Young Gliss sums up the lyrical themes touched on in this track with his motto, “It’s easy to be Gucci Mane; it’s harder to be Nas.” Many emcees choose to “work on their image making whack dance tracks” or “grab a down South beat and slowly ride the tide” to success, but the Philly native is going to keep doing hip hop his way and stay independent from current hit trends or avoid watering down his music for mainstream success.
On the track “Charles Bradley,” named after the soul singer whom the sample is borrowed from, Young Gliss takes a time-out from his personal dreams of making it as a rapper to discuss social issues of the world over one of the most soulful beats on the album courtesy of Les Professionels. This track was released back around the holiday season as a single to promote The Glimmer EP, but it still remains one of the best songs on the tape.
On the seven minute posse cut, “No One Can Stop Us Now,” Gliss returns to the EP’s themes of making it in the music industry and being a successful rapper. Feature verses from rap legends Prodigy of Mobb Deep and Killer Mike give a different perspective to the track because they have already reached critical success in the rap game. In his verse, Prodigy states, “I reside with the stars, I belong right where I am/these n****s don’t deserve to be where I am,” warning other emcees and their critics that Gliss and his crew deserve to be on top of the rap world and won’t let anyone take it from them once they have it. Gliss also addresses his independent mindset and “it’s easy to be Gucci Mane; it’s harder to be Nas” motto in his lyrics, “I’m on a mission to get rich quick and reaching it all up on our own.”
The EP closes with “Midnight Sonata,” featuring a sample of M83’s massive hit “Midnight City” from his album Hurry Up We’re Dreaming, which ties the themes about the dream of being a successful emcees together perfectly. The lyrics on this track find Young Gliss at his most inspiring, rapping, “They say the sky is the limit, but it’s really just as far as you can see/So believe in yourself out here and you can be anything that you want to be.” The track closes on the repeated phrase of “one day,” signaling that, although success is just a dream now, Gliss has his eyes set on the prize in the not-so-distant future.
You can download The Glimmer EP for free HERE, and look for Young Gliss and the rest of The Roots Crew at this summer’s annual Roots Picnic. - Dan Brightcliffe