Why We Must Give Young Thug His Roses NOW
The most genuine perceptions occur when you first put faith in whatever is to be premised, and first accept it as fact. That might seem like a bit of a dive into the philosophical, and surely too deep for an article concerning Jeffrey Williams. However, as those who have taken that leap of faith realizes, those who have recognized the designer-clad androgynous rapper as an emissary into an uncharted artistic territory, Young Thug is not only unique, he is invaluable.
Before I go much further, I want to mention a prerequisite that will give insight into the very emotional and personal criteria these statements originate. This evaluation only makes sense if you are sincerely open to new thoughts and different presentations of old conceptions. Innovation is historically met with initial discord. We all are die-hards of something we first found lame. It would seem to those who do not like to learn a lesson twice, that greeting misunderstanding with a defenseless attitude promotes a more efficient rate of appreciation.
Assurance comes with the fact that this opinion also stresses integrity and authenticity. There is no failure to notice that there is a spirit of phoniness curating within the industry and that this is perverting the minds of the population. However, this has always been so. Our current reality is ironically based on virtual processes. This has spread into the way we express ourselves, and the art we both consume and produce. One result is not knowing what is real and what is fake, but art is peculiar. It is only when we respect the artist’s wishes of taking their art as gospel and using it as a means of interpretation, can we begin to understand their more candid admissions.
Although it is commendable that at least part of the audience will eventually realize genius, the problem is that it often takes an extended amount of time. I bothered with a popular example to demonstrate the margin of error us fans exhibit when presented with art truly ahead of its time. It takes us too long. When Young Thug first burst on my news feed, I initially took my seat in the “nah” section. His exuberant personality and dress code was something I could not conceive as being bona fide. The constant allusions to homosexuality surely kept me from openly entertaining anything he released, lest I be judged myself for doing so. Keyword in that last statement being, “openly.” What is virtuous about the search for genius is that you find what you seek, no matter the societal pressures and stigmas against the subject of observation.
This article also assumes that we agree on mixtape-era Thugga being one of the most elite and unprecedented runs utilizing the informal format. The “I Came From Nothing” and “Slime Season” collections reminded us that when packaged correctly, mixtapes can still propel an artist from the singular awareness of their hometown to recognition from the industry’s top contemporaries. Some artists these days keep their projects an arm’s length away from any associations with mixtapes. It’s a generational artifact, and the potential for impact is not as large as it once was in today’s market. And maybe it was because he came so jarringly close to the format’s champion in Lil Wayne, that Birdman decided the young artist’s allotted five-minute tenure was turning prophetic. He had achieved in buzz what had taken Wayne, arguably, a whole separate career to achieve.
In any case, the following holds true for any scenario: Young Thug was able to transcend the medium of release in such a way that it reminded us of something we thought we were finished seeing. It didn’t matter if it was an EP, mixtape, or album. It didn’t even matter if most of the songs off the project had already been leaked, sometimes up to a year in advance. A cult following of a largely enigmatic figure that formulated within Traplanta itself had spread across the world, and they loved their 6’3’’ heartthrob, crop top and all.
So when your art is a product of a juxtaposition of your surroundings with the advanced knowledge of your internal self, how do you introduce your true intentions to your audience in a responsible manner? We see so many attempts at honest communication getting lost in translation that examples would serve redundant. There are two types of Young Thug fans: Pre- and Post- “Barter 6”. “Jeffery” is a suicide attempt on a career when any other rapper attempts an equivalent. Or it can be a cry for attention, the last resort at resuscitation of said career. But it would be a mistake to think this way, at least all the time.
My foray into Thug’s mixtape circuit was to demonstrate that although I admittedly group myself into the latter batch, I recognize what Thug achieved that the fans in the former use for explaining their following. His 2015 “debut” seems to be the cutoff because it wasn’t until we saw the cover for the release that true division became apparent. It became difficult for fans to defend their pioneer. With the rise in both his popularity and wealth, there was a deflating feeling that maybe he had gone AWOL. But there was also a marked excitement. “Barter 6” is one of the most satisfying debuts from a highly anticipated artist, in retrospect, but this was far from predictions beforehand. Instead of the hype jading him, Thug took his buzz and stretched it out into a project full of hits. Money in the wrong hands does bring disillusionment, especially in the Industry. It breeds a false sense of isolation, and this can be helpful or hurtful. But if we keep in mind Jeffrey’s background, how he has purchased pants in the Women’s department since he was 14 years old, how drugs have long since replaced traditional nutrition, the fact that he always referred to himself as a rockstar, perspective sharpens. “Jeffery”, the album, was the perfect name for his career’s renewal and simultaneous elevation.
The second group of Young Thug fans will have an easier time following the direction I’m taking. What’s funny is there wasn’t much of a difference in the music. The deft vocal performances were as defined and innovative as ever. Thug’s beat selection is a highly underrated aspect of his, and matched with the personal-idol themed presentation, there was much to be expected on this project. He changed virtually nothing in terms of infrastructure, but now acoustic guitars accompanied his melodies. His verses were filled with the same amusing wordplay he became known for, he was just screaming them at you at the top of his lungs. Like a rockstar. What seemed like a bailout effort witnessed so many times before, was actually the real deal. Thug succeeded in what inauthentic artists attempt for a bailout, and he did it the first opportunity he got.
It took me an entire article to introduce what was originally supposed to be a review of his latest project, “Beautiful Thugger Girls.” But in this instance, I find it beneficial to promote a more holistic view of the artist so that we as the audience can enjoy wrapping our minds around just what we are experiencing. That’s most of the fun associated with being a Young Thug fan. He points out the breadcrumbs he’s left. He’s a blatantly honest person who you still cannot stereotype or predict. And while “Jeffery” could have been seen as a freakish blip in the past, what he has in “BTG” affirms Young Thug’s dedication to elitism. Success has pruned away all, if any, insecurities stemming from releasing creation ahead of its time. The pool from which his influences flow from now do so without relent. His relinquishment of traditional song structure shines the brightest it has. Verses and hooks weave in and out the same fashion he is renowned for. Clearly remain are the irregular squeals and breaks into scratchy falsetto, only there is an explicit attention to detail to the supervision of his voice. If “Jeffrey” was Thug hurling paint on a wall, “BTG” is him placing custom stencils on his canvas before proceeding as before. There is still the unpredictability, which is often confused for incoherence, but that was his appeal all along.
Whether we comprehend it or not, this is a quantum reality we live. Society also suggest that we value security. But when it comes to art or the flow of life’s events in general, there needs to be a general realization that full comprehension is not only impossible, it’s illogical. Young Thug is gracious with his leadership into the unknown. Juxtaposition is a word often thrown around, but it is most appropriate in explaining Thug’s approach to artistry. The same way Kobe Bryant fused the specialties of Jordan, Olajuwon, and other masters, Thug has scoured the infinite field of inspiration. This combined with his subscription to greatness has produced a genre-less talent. If timelessness is the main ingredient behind a legend, Young Thug is a plug. We only need concede attempting to understand what we were not aware of in the first place, instead relying on the individuals that exhibit symptoms of a more adept cognition.