2015 was the year of Young Thug. I’ve been following the young man’s career since I heard him on Gucci Mane’s 2013 banger “Chasen Paper” with Rich Gang cohort Rich Homie Quan. He broke onto the scene last year with Birdman’s Rich Gang project, showing off his unpredictability and versatility moving from harder trap beats to the poppier piano melodies of favorite producer LondonOnDaTrack on tracks like “Lifestyle“. In 2015 the evolution was complete, with Thugger diving further into his own weirdness in his major label debut, Barter 6, as well as two stellar mixtapes, Slime Season 1 & 2. Thug gets plenty of Future comparisons, which are apt, given a penchant for similar melodic trap beats and indescernible Auto-Tuned mumbling. But I would argue Future is a formula while Thug is chaos. Future is a great artist, but Thug is a movement.
I have two favorite explanations of Young Thug – the first, from a Pitchfork review of Barter 6: “everything here is a hook, from the ad-libs … to the individual bars to the empty spaces.” When you listen to a Young Thug song, rarely do you get verse-chorus. You get several different pieces with unique rhyming patterns and melodies that could each stand to be the hook of a great rap song. As an artist, you’re lucky if you have five or six great ideas across an album – Young Thug crams that many great ideas into a single 3-minute track.
My other favorite Young Thug explanation is this story from producer and collaborator Dun Deal:
Deal: “…and the way he [Young Thug] used to write his music was pretty crazy. He would just draw what he wanted to do on paper. That’s how he used to record; he would draw, like, a picture.”
Interviewer: “What kind of picture?”
Deal: “Weird signs and shapes. He’d be in the booth looking at the paper, and one day I went in there and looked at it and said, ‘You didn’t write any words down.’ He [Thug] looked at me and said: ‘I don’t need no words.'”
Reimagine this scene playing out in the studio when listening to any of these incredible songs from Thugger, Feed The Dog’s Top Ten favorites.
- Young Thug ft. Birdman – Constantly Hating
- Young Thug – Dream
- Jamie XX ft. Young Thug & Popcaan – I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)
- Young Thug – No Way
- Young Thug ft. Jacquees – Amazing
- Young Thug – Halftime
- Young Thug – Mine
- Young Thug ft. Young Ralph – Rarri
- Young Thug – Check
- Young Thug ft. Shad Da God – Don’t Know