Announcing deals with everyone and their mother's label
First Brick Squad, then Freebandz, then Cash Money and 300-- Young Thug has been linked to more record labels in the last year than most rappers are in their lifetimes. First signed by Gucci Mane around the time he dropped 1017 Thug, Thugger then announced that he was singing to Future's imprint in January 2014, only to follow it up by linking up with Birdman and Lyor Cohen by the end of last year. To this day, it's still unclear what his exact status is.
Why is this controversial? For his fans, his aqueous affiliations make new music harder to come by, especially in its official, non-leaked form. For neutral onlookers, the fact that he's changing teams every week has the potential to make him look like a turncoat, especially in the midst of all of this Lil Wayne/Birdman fallout. And for his vast legions of haters, especially those who make music themselves, it must sting to see a guy who you consider to be "untalented" being courted by the titans of Southern rap.
Refusing to adhere to fashion norms
One of the first photos that circulated of Thug when he was blowing up was one of him in a leopard-print dress (above). Since then, his fashion sense has remained adventurous, bringing nail polish and Princess Leia buns to late night TV, for example. This is controversial because... Well, I don't really know why this is controversial. I guess because it's against the norm?
This guy clearly thinks it's much worse than plastering an anonymous girl's bare ass on your Twitter background, so uh, cool. As Thugger says in "Halftime," "every time I dress myself it go motherfuckin' viral," so all that this Twitter user is doing is increasing Thug's visibility and notoriety. No press is bad press.
Throwing up a crip sign
In any era, it'd be weird to see a guy who has a song called "Forever Bloody" throwing up a crip sign. In typical Thugger fashion, this action came at the moment when it'd be deemed most contradictory: smack-dab in the middle of a music video for a Dej Loaf song called... "Blood."
Although it is very probable that Thug has blood ties, his response proved that he's a little more open to cross-gang friendships than most would be: "To all my crip Broda's it's all love to me bro. I'm just thinking about my motherfuckin' Crip partners. I don't want my niggas to feel a certain type of way because I love them, ya dig?"
I'll leave this one to Jay Z: "If you can't respect that, your whole perspective is wack."
Saying he doesn't buy Jay Z's music "because of his age"
Speaking of Hov, one of Thugger's most recent controversies dealt with a quote from his GQ interview that called out Jay. When asked why rap was a young man's game, he responded:
"If you're 30, 40 years old, you're not getting listened to by minors. Like, Jay Z has some of the sickest lyrics ever, but I would never buy his CD, just because of my age and because of his age. By the time I turn that old, I ain't gonna be doing what he's doing."
Really though, how many people actually liked Magna Carta Holy Grail?
The Photoshop job on "1017 Thug 2"
This one's just plain hilarious. As the story goes, a young graphic designer thought he could get away with photooshopping Thug's head on Wiz Khalifa's body, but he soon got called out by the entire internet. His reasoning is pretty sound though:
"I really didn’t know why people were making it such a big deal. Soulja Boy did it on the Young n Flexin’ cover over Nas’s body and Wiz Khalifa had done it on Kush & OJ when he put his head over David Ruffin’s body."
His "lamest kid I own" Instagram comment
This one may not have caused as much of a stir as others on this list, but it's pretty bad. Last week, Thug posted a picture of child graduating from some level of school with a caption that called him the "Lamest kid I own." As the boy really looks like Thug, we assume it's actually his son, in which case his comment rings out even more hurtful. Hopefully, it's just another instance of Thugger fooling around, because he seems like a pretty good dad in most of his other Instagram posts that feature his children.
Naming his new project "Carter VI"
Thug's been planning this one for a while, first announcing it about a year ago, but with the release date and artwork arriving yesterday, it's fresh in our minds. All of the Lil Wayne stans has come out of the woodwork to defend their hero's legacy, seemingly forgetting that Weezy once performed a similar leapfrog over one of his forebears. Coming up in the shadow of Juvenile in New Orleans, Wayne cheekily named his third album 500 Degreez in an attempt to one-up his predecessor. Nobody seemed to mind then.
As Wayne handily surpassed Juvie in the years that followed, we have to wonder if the same is in the cards for Thug. He has his work cut out for him, but right now, Thug's the same age as Wayne was when he released his first classic, Tha Carter II. The fact that we're getting Carter VI before Carter V might be a telling example of where we're headed.
His "Bitch Homie Quan" comment
For the past month or so, Thug has been on a tour with Travi$ Scott during which both headliners have seemingly dissed other rappers onstage multiple times. The most shocking of these came when Thugger called his Rich Gang bro ("same mother, different daddies") "Bitch Homie Quan." Again, the duo's ties with Birdman seemed to have caused some friction in recent months, and a divide between them would mean no Tha Tour, Pt. 2, which would be a travesty.
As Scott did after hating on Trey Songz and J. Cole, Thugger came back with an "I wasn't dissing RHQ!!!!!!" post the next day, which made things even more confusing. Perhaps it's another instance of Thug flip-flopping on his allegiances, perhaps it's part of his whole appropriation of traditionally feminine titles for men thing...
Trolling about his sexuality
What's the number-one way to infuriate rap fans in America? Suggest that you're not 100% straight. Wait, what is this, 1960? Nope, it's the present day, and that's just the sad reality of it. Thugger's done a number of things that Dame Dash would condemn, including (but certainly not limited to), wearing a dress, calling Quan his "hubbie," calling Birdman his "lover" and rapping the words "my blunt look like a dick" on "Friend of Scotty."
The hilarious part about this is that for each suggestion of queer or non-straight behavior, Thug counteracts it with a confirmation of his attraction to women, but nobody seems to remember that. He still says "no homo" quite a bit, which is not the most open-minded phrase, but it makes his actual orientation clear. Why does he contradict himself? As Rich Homie Quan said, “Everyone in Atlanta know me and Young Thug is not gay. With Thug it’s different, it’s just his slang.”
Unearthing Thug's true intentions is an impossible task, but it seems likely that he's just doing this to troll all of us. I imagine him scrolling through his IG comments, cackling at every lame who takes time out of their day to hurl homophobic threats at him. Call him whatever you want, he's still flourishing out here whether you're comfortable with it or not.