08 10

Young Thug Slime Season Self-Released

During a recent interview in France, Young Thug insisted that he’s from another planet. “And I’m ready to go back to it,” he said. “This shit petty. Like, earth. Close-minded people”. His frustration is understandable. While his outsider perspective has allowed him to create a unique style, his rise has been met with panic and suspicion from his many haters.

Young Thug broke through with his 2013 mixtape 1017 Thug. The then 21 year old ATLien and Gucci Mane protégé pierced through the saturated trap market by paying zero attention to the genre’s rulebook. Aesthetically, he made a striking contrast to his Brick Squad peers too. His lanky figure was wrapped in tight-fitted, often feminine clothing and his tattooed face was decorated with septum and lip piercings. There have been many artists who’ve marketed themselves by subverting the hyper-masculine norms of gangster clichés in recent years, but they’ve often found themselves relegated to an alternative fanbase. Atlanta trap often portrays an intense, cold-hearted world – one in which deviations from masculinity risk costing you money, power or your life. Much of the fascination around Young Thug, therefore, has been based on the fact that his eccentricity seems radical, rebellious and uncontrived.

 Slime Season is the delayed pre-album mixtape in the run up to Young Thug’s (also delayed) first ‘official’ LP HY!£UN35. As his recent music videos prove, Thug is now acutely aware of the content-generating potential of his weirdness. He’s become a full-blown style icon and he’s slipped inside the stronghold of mainstream hip-hop.

To unfamiliar or ignorant ears, Young Thug’s vocals might sound like total gibberish, but close listenings of Slime Season reveal his technical prowess. Rarri and Stunna see him reprise the aggressive splutter that he perfected on the 1017 Thug classic 2 Cups Stuffed, while on the more restrained London On Da Track-produced songs he skillfully weaves the kind of off-key melodies explored on his recent Barter 6 release.

Slime Season’s highlights are That’s AllWanna Be Me and Calling Your Name (which with its chipmunk vocals, EDM synths and Ellie Goulding sample, could be a radio hit if the vocal performance wasn’t so bizarre), where the sweet sound palettes encourage his unlikely romantic side, exposing undertones of love beneath his libido and glimmers of poetry in his unblinking vulgarity. Because for all Young Thug’s surrealism, he’s best when he’s dealing with emotions that are very human, and among Slime Season’s many incomprehensible squeals, there’s a bold confession to be dug out: “Im’ma earthling in disguise.”