27 October 2021-
Young Thug is back with his sophomore effort, Punk. Which skyrocketed to the top of the album charts upon release, a sign that we should indeed pay attention to this young man...
Young Thug has been young for a while now. Put differently, we have been hearing about the artist for years at this point, as his profile kept on growing to stratospheric levels. His story is a bit of a fairytale — of the hip hop variety: growing up in a large working class Atlanta family, Young Thug navigated dropping out of school and going to juvenile prison (for breaking a teacher’s arm) all the way to building a musical career. Which started quick, and got notice quick: Gucci Mane first signed Thug way back when in 2013, after a first series of promising self-released mixtapes. It only grew from there: after a total of 18 mixtapes, label-backed or not, the singer finally released his first album in 2019, So Much Fun. Which went straight to the top of the charts.
So far, you might wanna say that this story is downright incredible. And you would be right: very few ever achieve such success, let alone on their first try. Then again, 18 mixtapes will do that to an artist: practice does make perfect… What is interesting, though, is that this is merely a stepping stone on Young Thug’s path: piling up a number of high profile featurings, including 2017’s “Havana” with Camila Cabello (his first #1 single), the man just kept going. A new mixtape in his now famed Slime series, Slime & B, came out in 2020. Then Slime Language 2 this year, his second record (as the name suggests) showcasing collaborative works. And now album #2…
While many trap artists of his generation have been known to release an awful lot of original material (see: Lil Durk, the late Pop Smoke and Juice WRLD, the latter actually making an appearance on this album, the aforementioned Gucci Mane…), Thug still ranks among the most prolific. With a remarkably high success ratio too: Punk, the new album, shot straight to #1. Again. Drake comes at #2: that’s how rarefied that air is. Thug actually featured on Drake’s monumental single “Way 2 Sexy”, which famously topped the singles charts a little while back. Speaking of guest appearances, Punk is chock-full of them: J. Cole, Future, Post Malone, A$ap Rocky, Travis Scott, Doja Cat, Mac Miller, Drake of course… Put simply, this album may formally be a solo effort, he’s getting quite a bit of help from his many friends!
Which is absolutely fine by us: this 20-track collection reads like a very cohesive, extremely stylish piece of work. No matter how productive Young Thug is, he still maintains strict quality control on everything that comes out of the studio: tracks like “Stupid/Asking”, “Peeping Out the Window” or “Scoliosis”, which may not all end up as singles, are still extremely interesting and highly appealing. Quite varied too: you get the more acoustic and intimate vibe on “Recognize Real”, the more anthemic tune with “Bubbly”, the more artsy “Livin It Up”… To be fair, the only artist whose latest album is as comprehensive may very well be… Drake.
Is that a good enough compliment?