Review: Young Thug, ‘Beautiful Thugger Girls’

Young Thug continues to flex his diversity on Beautiful Thugger Girls.

Thugger emerged as the most notorious and incomprehensible mumble rapper but has now go on to become one of the most creative trap artists in the game. Outside of his music, Thug is a mysterious figure. He never gets involved in promotion, nor do you see him taking interviews. He pops up by surprise, drops the music, then vanishes. As a result, the music needs to speak for himself and represent him accurately. He’s continued to evolve and experiment across his messy catalogue – from the hypnotic Slime Season tapes, to the miscellaneous I’m Up and his most pop-friendly offering JEFFERY … till Thugger Girls.

The main strength of Beautiful Thugger Girls is Thug’s vocal performance. Thug be singing on this shit. For real. The absurdity in his voice which pops up on every track is so weird yet uniquely tinged that only he is able to pull it off – but that’s nothing new, he’s just getting better at it. On acoustic tracks like “You Said”, Thug yodels, growls and strains his vocals, which we heard glimpses of on JEFFERY on tracks like “Harambe”. The absurdity and wildness in his vocals is a quality that makes his music so enjoyable (“Country Billy made a couple milli”). It doesn’t come off more weird as JEFFERY (cause let’s not forget Thug was impersonating a seal on “RiRi”), just more inventive.

On BTG, Young Thug successfully explores new stylistic territories. His quirkiness and personality enables him to pull off styles like acoustic, country-trap, R&B and pop-rap. While Lil Wayne failed to make a rock album (Rebirth), Thug takes influences (e.g. the cover) but succeeds in his own experimentation with merging country and pop with trap. It takes a certain level of artistry to pull that off ’cause not everyone is able to pull it off. Don’t be fooled though, this isn’t a full-on pre-2012 Taylor Swift album. The strongest cases are “Family Don’t Matter”, on which Millie Go Lightly provides silky vocals whose voice blends brilliantly with Thug’s wailing (as on “She Wanna Party”, the most pop offering of the lot). “Me or Us” and “You Said” fit the natural ‘country’ style the most, where the production is led by guitar instrumentation. Those tracks aside, there’s no notable presence of typical trap Thug besides the usual 808s, which we’ve heard dominate on his most recent tracks like “Floyd Mayweather”. The closest songs to full-on trap are “Tomorrow Til Infinity”, which is still dominated by singing, and the more forgettable “Get High”. The drastic disposal is a brave yet necessary move if Thug wanted to create a stylistically focused project.

Sonically, Thugger Girls follows a mellow sound at a consistent pace, doing its best to stick to its intended sound. The production merges trap 808s with country instrumentation or pop synths and creates a balance between upbeat tunes and smooth, moderate-paced songs. “Relationship” with Future fits the latter description well, demonstrating great chemistry between the two. “Oh Yeah” is the most sombre track of the album, driven by the melancholic piano instrumentation. “For Y’all” and “You Said” are the sonic anomalies as they possess more South American sounds. The only track that doesn’t hit home for its sound is the closer “Take Care”, some progressive EDM song which I’ll be cutting off the tracklist entirely.

Another strength of Thugger Girls are the hooks and melodies. Nearly every song comes through with a very memorable melody. “Do U Love Me” comes across as the most bubbly out the lot, probably Thug’s attempt at capitalising on the dancehall trend. That said, it’s incredibly infectious (“Hop out the Benz couuppe”) where Thug’s stupid delivery continues to pop up (“I turned up her closet, now she look like a Barbie / Now my drinks are clean I fill ’em up with that oil”)

Of course, you don’t listen to Young Thug for his lyricism. His content doesn’t go further than singing about sex, pussy (like blatantly wailing that he wants a threesome) and his “brand new ‘Rari”. But he says some introspective things from time to time, such as not seeing his kids enough on “Daddy’s Birthday”. As you’d expect, he doesn’t stick to the topic for the whole song, but the light piano melody makes it a pleasant listen nonetheless while Thug opts for a more normal delivery. The lyrical concept around “Relationship” is entertaining for the fact that Thug and Future wanna cut some side hoes off in an attempt to become more loyal; “I’m in a relationship with all my bitches / I need to cut some of ’em off, I need help.” Of course you don’t believe them, but it’s funny to think they’re actually trying to sound genuine. More entertainingly stupid one-liners are scattered across the album; they’re just not noticeable at first because Thug’s performance overshadows his lyrics (“Let’s get freaky deeky”) / (“Her booty big as a Sudan”) … and the pussy never not wet.

Individually the songs on JEFFERY are much more stronger, but that doesn’t take anything away from the consistency of Beautiful Thugger Girls. There’s never a seriously dull moment on the tracklist, but I question the longevity of some of the songs. Nevertheless, Thug continues his quest to push boundaries as an artist. It’s secured it’s own spot in Thug’s quirky catalogue.

Rating: 8.5 / 10

Best tracks: “For Y’all”, “Family Don’t Matter”, “You Said”, “Relationship”, “Do U Love Me”, “Oh Yeah”, “Feel It”