Thursday, June 29, 2017

Young Thug - Beautiful Thugger Girls Review

Regardless of how much the Internet communities rant and rave about the idiosyncrasies of Young Thug, the rapper's popularity remains a glaring question mark. You'd think with the trove of music he releases, the influence he's already bestowed, and the names more than welcome to work with him, that the quiet ATL squeaker would be one of Trap's most popular artists. Alas, Beautiful Thugger Girls sold a mere 37,000 units in its first week, a whopping 9,000 less than Lil Yachty's Teenage Emotions, which itself was a disappointment. Something could be said about Young Thug's grating vocals that are shredded in syrup and slang, but that can easily be dismissed whilst witnessing the popularity of acts like Future and Migos. So what is it? The branded identity, vast output, trendy vocals, Trap instrumentation, all of it's there. The problem therein lies on Thugger's inability to write a good song. He has never, ever released a single that went on to reach the Billboard Top 40. There's never an identifiable standout, a go-to point for curious seekers. All those who borrowed his various oddities went on to define the Trap transition, leaving Young Thug a product of the Internet's need for a meme. Beautiful Thugger Girls is case and point.

Much like his idol Lil Wayne who, in 2010, tried to reinvent himself with the Rock-centric Rebirth, Young Thug decided to dawn a guitar, wallow in his relational quandaries, and inject a heavy dose of Southern Country charm into BTG. In a way, it seems like a desperate grasp for attention, like a 40-year old man dying his hair and altering his clothing style because he's hit his midlife crisis. All this quite a testament to our societies frantic pace, as just 15 months ago Young Thug was at his peak with the astounding Slime Season 3; a minuscule mixtape that embodied the all-consuming rise of Trap when 'With Them' played on loop at Kanye West's Yeezy Season 3. The disappointing Jeffrey, in retrospect, feels like the precise turning point between then and now. It was a tape that promised earnest introspection, a tearing away of the character to understand the creator. And yet, none of that revealed itself. It was more of the same ol' Thugger; nonsensical one-liners, trivial topics, and amateur beats. On Beautiful Thugger Girls, a healthy dose of agrarian affection can't offset the fact that it's more of the same.

On 'Family Don't Matter,' the album's intro and what will ultimately become its best song, Young Thug christened BTG by dispelling the astute line "I'm trying put my dick inside of your panties." Quite the opening remark, and one that accurately constitutes just how pitiful the album's content is. Within mere seconds a song with an inquisitive title like 'Family Don't Matter' gets ruined by something that bears no resemblance to the overall aim. Really, Young Thug's obsessive sexual gravitation only goes so far as to prove the rapper's near-vacant hole for critical thought and poignant commentary in anything other than erotic satisfaction. Even the love he implores on tracks like 'Do U Love Me' or 'Me Or Us' seem to merely service the endgame of sex. None of this, by the way, is hypocritical or even all that misogynistic, it's just simpleminded and vapid. And besides, even when relationships do become the focal point, like 'Relationship' or 'You Said,' they still exist in the void of music's most redundant subject. There's nothing Young Thug beseeches to his fans that couldn't also be heard on any Trap, R&B, Pop, or Country record released beforehand.

Now there's no denying the content of Young Thug has, and always will be, his biggest detriment. Both fans and cynics alike are aware of this. Whereas one expects greater things, the other has turned his one-liners into meme fodder for the easily amused. Those lines told through Young Thug's iconic voice, which has always been his true calling card. With time and limited growth though, repetition and carelessness has set in. What was once invigorating and outlandish has now, ironically, become trivial and repetitive. On BTG, nothing more needs to be said. His flows, truly stereotypical of his past catalogue, can't be called genius anymore when they're being used predominantly as a prop. What's laughable is that the only progression we've seen from him is further confounding dialogue, to the point where verses found on 'Get High' and 'Oh Yeah' are nearly unintelligible, taking the Mumble Rap totem pole to new heights. Thugger's inadequacies reveal themselves most discernibly on the few tracks where features are present; namely 'Relationship' with Future, and 'Get High' with Snoop Dogg and Lil Durk, all of whom vastly outperform Young Thug using his own material. When they're not around he's left to his own devices.

That's where the paltry production of BTG comes into play, something that fails to come through on its promise of being Trap and Country infused. The acoustics are wholeheartedly present on 'Family Don't Matter,' but by track two, 'She Wanna Party,' we're back to watery Trap, by track four, 'Do U Love Me,' the Dancehall of 'Pop Man.' The Country gleam does return though, but it typically results in the worst efforts, like the discordant 'You Said' or the innocuous 'Me Or Us.' By 'Take Care,' BTG's closing tour, whatever aesthetic Young Thug was attempting has been entirely scratched off, leaving us with a sterile Pop Rap bore. 2017 Thugger presents us with his worst case of unmarketable material yet. There's nothing, apart from 'Relationship,' which is likely the album's second best track, that could receive airplay, and even that's mostly due to Future's appearance. As each release goes by, Young Thug's knack for creating recognizable bangers dwindle, leaving listeners with nothing of interest to make note of. 'Family Don't Matter' excels because of the hook's interconnectivity to the production, 'Relationship' works because of Future, and 'Feel It's' a competently competitive Trap song. Other than that, Beautiful Thugger Girls has nothing of value. Embarrassing Rap cliches, shrill vocal accentuations, and inconsistent ideas harm what little chance Thugger's debut album had at proving doubters wrong.

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