By Lee Mcintosh

It has been nearly six years since Young Thug emerged into the spectrum of the masses, and not too many artists can say that they have had a career quite like his. Coming onto the scene sounding much different than everyone else, Thug received a lot of criticism for his style of rap, his actions, and his overall persona. As the years passed, his notoriety in the rap game is like no other–proving he was way ahead of his time. After teasing fans with his official debut album Hy!£UN35 (Hi Tunes), it eventually became nothing but a myth. Will we still get it?–the world may never know. However, here we are in the year 2019 and Thugger has finally blessed his fans with the release of his debut album So Much Fun.

This project could not have come at a better time in his career. He has achieved a new level or stardom–much bigger than he would have had if he originally released a debut album in 2016. The success of his YSL compilation album Slime Language and birthing the talents of Gunna, Lil Keed and Lil Duke, proves his talents as not only an executive, but a tastemaker. Nonetheless, the fans have been waiting anxiously and the time has finally come.

The Background

In an interview with No Jumper’s Adam22, Young Thug announced that he would be releasing a new album “in about 3 more weeks or a month” which would be called Gold Mouth Dog, but stated that he may change the name to So Much Fun. The background behind the album doesn’t have much thought, the title is super simple and straight to the point, but that was the plan all along. Yong Thug states;

“It’s not even a point to the songs. All of the songs are like turn up, club, radio, fucking parade music. It ain’t no story lines to it. I ain’t wanna have some crazy, revengy type of name and then people listen to it and it’s OK. So I just wanted to name it So Much Fun because I want you to take it as it is.”

 

 

At the point he’s at in his career, he has proven he could do it all. He can sing, he can rap about real life situations, he can make country music, all of the above. The fact that he wants to make an album and have fun with it, there’s no problem with that at all. A lot of artists receive lots of criticism when their album reaches for something and doesn’t live up to it’s name. So plan to have a simple title, simple album structure and simple song layouts, seems to work really well for Thug.

Thug’s simplistic approach to the creation of this album should not take away from its credibility though. Seeing that it’s his debut album, he still approaches it with some heavy names behind it. This project was entirely executive produced by J.Cole. That may seem a bit random, but due to the fact that Young Thug joined Cole in his 2018 KOD tour, this isn’t surprising at all. Cole has always been a fan of Thug and always has been very vocal about Thug’s artistry as a whole. In his interview with Angie Martinez, Cole had this to say about Thug;

“If you know skills, you call him a mumble rapper all you want, but if you know skills and you know the art of rapping, that dude is a genius.”

The fact that he has Cole behind him executive producing the entire thing adds to the credibility of the whole project. This has been one of the more cohesive projects that Thug has dropped in a long time–probably since his 2016 release of Slime Season 3. It hasn’t been noted exactly what Cole’s involvement in the project was, if he was present in every studio session or just helped select the final track list, but it’s not a coincidence that the one project that he had his hands on turned out to be one of the better listens of Thug’s catalogue.

Speaking of Cole, he is featured on the leading single “The London” which features Travis Scott as well. The release of the song seemed random, dropping at the end of May as a standalone single. At this point there was no announcement that Thug was dropping an album due to the fact that he drops single songs all the time, and many believed this to be another one of those cases. However, this would be the first time Thug would collaborate with Cole and the overall structure of the song with Travis on the hook, sounds like an album single. Little did we know, he had an album in the works already and would release a couple months later.

The Album

Following the theme of So Much Fun, each song on this album sounds exactly what the album title alludes to. Coming in at 19 tracks long, Thug keeps it pretty consistent throughout the entire project. Many people who may not be a fan of Thug may miss the fact that he can really be a lyricist whenever he chooses to be. Artists who have the ability to turn it on and off at any given time is a major talent and really shows off an artists diversity. Now that’s not a knock to Thug at all to say that he isn’t really showcasing his lyrical capabilities, or assuming this album is dumbed down because of the title. Thug has an entire catalogue and well over 100 features for anyone who may be questioning his lyrical capabilities.  Without a doubt, the vibe of this album hits instantly and does not end until the end of track 19.

Speaking of vibes, the mood on So Much Fun really flourishes with Thugs choice of production. Frequent collaborator Wheezy shows out on this album with handling the production on four songs on the album. He produced the stand out track “Hot” which Thugger later stated in an interview with Big Boy that the song originally belonged to Gunna. Pi’erre Bourne really showed out as well, also having produced four songs on the album. The rest of the production was handled by DY, Nick Mira, Southside, Pyrex and many more. Although these are a majority of the producers that he always collaborates with that doesn’t remove any of the impact that these producers brung to this album. Treating this album like an actual album rather than a mixtape, that puts a little bit of competitive pressure on the producers to make sure that whatever beat they introduce to Thug, it has to hit hard, it has to be memorable, and most importantly–it has to be FUN.

When it comes to Young Thug’s content of the album, a majority of people who are nothing more than casual fans would expect him to come even harder than he has been before. The stress of putting together a full length album, a debut album at that, comes with a lot more responsibility and hard work. Normally, you have a lot more to prove when it’s your first album. You have to tell a story. You have to make sure you have a big rollout full of music videos and appearances. In this case, I’m not sure if Thug has to do all of this due to the fact that his stance in the rap game has been solidified already.

When it comes to the features, more than half the album has songs with features on them. This may be a bit overwhelming to some, but considering that these are all features that are very close to Thug, it only makes sense that he would include them on his debut album. Of course, Future shows up on the album for the DY and ATL Jacob produced track “Sup Mate”, Uzi shows up on “What’s the Move”, and 21 Savage & Doe Boy do their thing on “I’m Scared”. The remaining features include Machine Gun Kelly (who’s verse was not on the album on release night due to an engineering error), Nav, Juice Wrld, Lil Baby, Quavo, J. Cole, Travis Scott, and none other than the YSL rising star Lil Keed.

Thug shows up on So Much Fun with his usual witty bars, clever punchlines, and over-the-top vocal tones. The fact that this is what we all know Thug to flourish his best at, we always look out for it whenever we receive a new project from him. In the last year alone, it seems as if Thug has been featured on over one hundred songs, and not too many songs by himself. That being said, some of the tracks on this album where it’s Thug and only Thug is where we get to see some of his ability. On the opening track “Just How It Is”, Thug raps;

“Cash on the delivery/G.O.A.T. talk of the century/No time for gibberish, all the critics hearin’ this”

This is a line where he doesn’t want to overdo his part and just keep it simple. Not only that, but addressing the fact that all the critics are now listening, due to the fact that this is now his debut album. The soothing acoustic guitar and the simple 808 & snare pattern allows Thug to just glide over the beat and talk his talk. His ability to listen to any beat and match his vocals to the vibe of the beat is an ability that most rappers aren’t able to achieve. A typical rapper may have one or two distinctive flows, normally a melodic flow and a hard flow. Thug can do it all, from the melodies, to the fast-paced double time flow. It all depends on the beat. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if the whole album was freestyle. It comes off that way, but not in a way that discredits him. More so a compliment–to the fact that he can get on any beat and do his thing regardless.

The Verdict

Overall, this is a very solid approach to a debut album. Again, not too many rappers have that luxury of being able to approach their first album this way. Most people have a huge expectation and big shoes to fill. To be able to approach your first album so casually, with your usual features, along with your usual producers, in your natural habitat with no entities blocking your creativity, is a major blessing to have. This album sounded like it was a lot of fun to make. Thug sounds happier and more audible than before. He’s at a great space in his life, in his career, and in the rap game as a whole. When you spent the last six years of your career thriving, you have every right to feel this way creating your album.

The fact that he placed “The London”, the lead single from the album at the end of the album signifies a lot. This shows that he doesn’t want to be defined or marginalized by that song. It proves that he doesn’t want that song to be the base and the outline for the album. Despite it being his highest-charting song ever, debuting at number 12 on the Hot 100 Billboard Charts, he still strategically places it at the end of his project. He has prepared 18 other songs for his fans, and potentially new fans, to enjoy and to love. He doesn’t care about sales, he doesn’t care about charts, he doesn’t care about first week numbers–all he cares about is providing the world with his art and being able to create as freely as he pleases.

This project gives off major Slime Season 1-3 vibes. Many people attribute that to the theory of the blonde dreads–saying that whenever a rapper dyes their dreads blonde, some classic music is coming. If we’re applying that theory to the creation of this project, that wouldn’t be a far off assumption whatsoever.

Post By: Lee Mcintosh