Young Thug is creating an amazing legacy for himself. From starting his own label, YSL Records, and uplifting artists mainly from his hometown of Atlanta, as well as continuing to throw out bangers and fashion inspirations that are totally off-kilter in hip hop, he has blazed a unique trailer to the top of the musical world.
On the opening track of his truly spectacular second studio album, Thug and his friends jams around with gentle guitar strums and soft drums; it’s like a Disney Channel campfire jam. Yes: Thug does things differently. Yet he enjoys his real rockstar moment with ‘Stupid/Asking’, a track of two halves that features an outlandishly crude line about “taking an Instagram model down right on a dirty mattress”. Later, though, his voice cracks when he says, “You love me, that’s what you ‘posed to say”; it’s a level of vulnerability that marks a departure from his signature braggadocio .
His dials the latter back up ‘Rich N**** Shit’, an amazing posthumous feature with Juice Wrld. The duo bring their cocksure selves, decorated with post-apocalyptic 808s crashing into garbled synths produced by legendary rap producer and rising rap star, Pi’erre Bourne. The track proves to be the high-octane thrill we needed from Thug on ‘Punk’; the album’s slow moments are divine, but this adds to the catalogue of great Thugger tracks that can be played in a mosh pit.
Speaking of divine moments: ‘Punk”s closer is an emotional one. ‘Days Before’, featuring the late trendsetting rap maestro Mac Miller, ends the 20-track album in style. As a ukulele plays, Young Thug delivers a jumbled verse about his paranoia around others taking advantage of him: “S-N-double-O-P, I’m a dizz-op / Shit, he was talking brazy, I ain’t lie, I knocked the n**** off”. This beat was made for Mac Miller’s voice. With a slightly auto-tuned, gruff tone, Miller delivers a confident verse as if his chest was puffed out, retorting: “What the fuck you think I’m rich for? / Why you think I’m always talking shit, with my hand on my dick?”. The song is truly a masterpiece.
‘Punk’ was long-awaited, and, boy, did Young Thug live up to its hype. It’s so different from the rest of the music he has been putting out, and Young Thug shows that he can make hits can transcend the rap world. Many say Young Thug is one of the greatest musicians of the current generation, and with ‘Punk’, he’s proved that to be true.
Release date: October 15
Record label: 300 Entertainment/Young Stoner Life Records