Album Review: Young Thug—“Slime Season”

By Adam Piotrowicz

Young Thug is the most interesting voice in hip-hop in 2015. There, I said it. I have never been so continuously baffled, intrigued and amazed by his incredibly original butchering of pop hooks and language, screwing up and tossing every syllable into a vocal delivery that is part chirped (in a birdlike manner), groaned, belted, squealed, sung, and sometimes rapped (really well even, I’ll say!). He’s flamboyant, ridiculous and fearless in both his words and his garb (Thugger sports the best outfits ever worn by a rapper, ever – and I dare you to disagree). Love him or hate him, there is truly nothing that sounds like a good Young Thug verse in 2015, because Young Thug’s flow is not from this planet.

The eccentric Atlanta rapper has certainly made the headlines as well, building up quite the reputation for himself since the release of his debut mixtape, I Came From Nothing, in 2011. He’s recorded tracks with Kanye West, released music with Metro Boomin, Sonny Digital and London on da Track, three of Atlanta’s hottest rising producers in hip-hop, was offered $1.5 million to sign with Future’s Freebandz record label in 2014 (which resulted in him reportedly establishing a “big, special deal with Atlantic,” according to Thugger himself), and was recently linked to a plot to murder Lil Wayne, when the Hollygrove legend’s tour bus was shot up in a drive-by (carried out by none other than Thugger’s energetic hypeman PeeWee Longway), and was arrested this year for terrorist threat charges stemming from an altercation with a mall security guard. He’s crazy and unhinged, and it shines through every facet of his being.

Album art for Slime Season

Album art for Slime Season

The highly-anticipated Barter 6, meant to be Thugger’s debut album but released instead as a mixtape, is no doubt his most mature work to date, and Slime Season follows directly in its footsteps, but is more of a collection of songs, rather than a cohesive work like B6, that showcase a similar style, both in terms of Thugger’s delivery and the production choices. Atlanta producer London on da Track was responsible for Barter 6’s uniquely wounded and melancholic atmosphere and there is definitely a lot of overlap in sound, but this is a good thing if you liked Barter 6. Opener “Take Kare” (which features the godfather to Thugger’s style – the mighty Lil Wayne) and “Best Friend”, both produced by London on da Track, feature the same sad piano melodies that made most of the memorable moments on B6 that much more amazing.

But there are some sorta-new tricks on Slime Season; “Quarterback” features rapid fire verses from rappers Quavo and Takeoff, as well as a beat by Sonny Digital that is equally full-throttle, and tracks “Udiggwhatimsaying” and ‘That’s All’ are a clear throwback to the playful lewdness of the I Came From Nothing and 1017 Thug mixtape trilogies. The London on da Track-produced bonus track “Wanna Be Me” easily has some of my favorite vocal and lyrical moments, with Thugger slurring every syllable and ripping it up with the Autotune in that very special Young Thug way. It may not be as focused as Barter 6, but there is definitely more candy to choose from. And with Young Thug, candy is everything in the world, because he’s made of it.

Overall, Slime Season is a great summary of where Thugger is at right now, and is sure to turn the ears of both old and new fans alike (and perhaps bring a few new converts). His voice is weird as hell – yes, get over it – but that’s all part of the charm. Picture a phoenix catching fire at the peak of its ascent, but letting out one final, glorious shrill before perishing in a majestic fashion – this is the voice of Young Thug. He hangs onto the edge of hip-hop, poised to fall completely off the rails and results in consistent aural magic. (self-released)

Listen: “Again”

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