Young Thug is easily one of, if not the most, interesting artist in hip-hop at this moment. The Atlanta born rapper has been all over the hip-hop headlines these past 12 months, for a variety of reasons; some good and some not so good. The latter referring to his oddly constructed "beefs" with the likes of Lil Wayne, The Game, Rich Homie Quan and most recently Plies. It has come to a point in which Thug is more known for trolling rappers on the regular than actually promoting music.
However, despite his many qualms in the industry, Thug has managed to fire off some fairly impressive music over the past year. Singles like "Lifestyle", "About The Money" and "Throw Sum Mo" all did numbers on the charts and gradually built him a fan base as loyal as any. Cult following or not, the hip-hop world saw what Thugger could do on a full length solo project with the release of Barter 6 back in April. Sure, he has put out/collaborated on 10-ish mixtapes since 2011 but 'Barter 6' was out first real look at what a full length Young Thug album would sound like - and it was, well, mediocre at best.
Now, Thug is back with a brand new tape entitled 'Slime Season' which is very clearly his attempt at proving to the rap world that he can make a concise body of work. As you start to listen to the tape, keep in mind that this isn't meant to be the illmatic of our generation. Thugger isn't trying to give us some intricate, in-depth, work of art so you can't be looking for those qualities as you listen. If you look for a deep meaning in songs like "Udiggwhatimsayin", "Rarri" or any of them for that matter, you are going to be disappointed. You need to take this tape for exactly what it is.
Thug's most notable feud this past year was indirectly with his self proclaimed "idol" Lil Wayne. After the smoke semi-settled in the Cash Money crisis, we found Birdman and Thug on one side and Wayne on the other. This is all to preface how strange it is that on the opening track of this mixtape there lies a Wayne feature from months ago. "Take Kare" was initially released back in October and was part of another project entirely. Perhaps this is Thugger's way of apologizing to Wayne but it is more likely another trolling tactic to generate a little more steam.
Thug also does a deceptive job of front loading this 18 track mixtape with the best songs. "Quarterback" with Quavo, Offset and PeeWee Longway is surprisingly good and showcase the fact that sometimes when it comes to clever lines, Thugger can get sometimes get some wood on the ball. "Spent a sixty on the bracelet, call it old news" counts as one of the more quotable lines from the project and maybe from Thug's entire catalogue. However on this track, it is primarily the Sonny Digital produced beat that steals the show. In fact, the highlight of this entire mixtape doesn't come in the form of Thug's vocal performance or lyrical content but instead from the arsenal of flaming hot instrumentals. Producers like Metro Boomin, Sonny Digital, Southside, Goose and London On Da Track all bless Thugger with what seem to be some of their best beats this year.
After about four or five songs in the wheels really start to come off. Songs blur together and despite the flawless production, Thug shows nearly zero variance from track to track. He has never been rap's most multidimensional artist by any means but has an obvious talent for crafting perfect hooks and hits - that strength isn't shown here. There is no real standout track or memorable moments. Every song comes off as "just okay". Nothing is an outright skip but the replay value isn't high either. It isn't until the second last track entitled "Wood Would" where Thug shines again. If it weren't for the beats giving the mixtape some exciting peaks and valleys, you could pass the entire thing for a single 70 minute song.
In a world where we look to Young Thug for our summer anthems and winter turn ups, this tape doesn't provide us either. The problem here isn't that Thug's unique style is getting played out, in fact, he doesn't stray very far at all from his usual subject matter, flow, production or all around vibe. The problem is that his attempted hits just fall flat. Perhaps this is what needs to happen for Thugger to find a balance between crafting crazy singles and making listenable full length projects but I think most of us can agree that a 5-8 song mixtape with hit after hit would have been preferable.
Listen for yourself here and let us know what you think of the mixtape in the comments below!