Review: Young Thug & YSL Records, ‘Slime Language’

From start to finish, Slime Language is evidently an album of Young Thug throwaways.

Young Thug may just be the most perplexing man in hip hop. Whether it’s the messy rollouts or the fact he has not put out an official studio album, Thug’s next move is unpredictable. He began 2018 by stating he would not release any music for the whole year, only to put out an EP a couple months later. With no promotion gone into any of his commercial releases, it is no surprise none have sold more than 80,000 units in their first week. A culmination of these flaws is what has prevented Young Thug from progressing to the next level, while products of his craft have surpassed the mumble rap mentor (Lil Uzi Vert, Travis Scott). For his first full-length project of the year, Young Thug gathers the YSL family for a label compilation – a detail that was not confessed in the build-up to the tangled release. However, if I’m Up has anything to say – the closest of Thug’s work to a YSL project – is that a compilation album can thrive if every artist puts their best foot forward.

Slime Language was billed as a show-stopping release, endorsing a title that alluded famously to the Slime Season series. However, the album is luring only in name. For an artist dripping in creativity, Slime Language is Young Thug’s least ambitious project to date. Often cosy in his avant-garde trap blanket, Slime Language dons a thinly-sewed replacement which sweeps Thug’s impersonators and stale production under its worthy label; a compilation album plagued by poor hooks, throwaway beats and unnecessary features.

For its entirety, Slime Language serves as a 15-track elementary lesson on how to make average trap music. When every trap album in 2018 is being composed by the landfill of ‘type-beat’ producers, it is no surprise the same copy-paste drum, 808 and snare patterns become detectable. The rattlings of the opener “Tsunami” coldly greet the ears like an old friend engaging in small talk, accompanied by a mess of a hook, its only purpose to shout out the track’s producer (“Young Wheezy the wave, young Wheezy the wave”). Young Thug and his producers are ordinarily conscious of matching the stale snares with some sort of accompanying melody. These melodies are absent all throughout Slime Language, whether that is on the forgettable “Goin Up” or the undeserving closer “Slimed In”. It’s clear no care was put into production when tracks like “Scoliosis” are built off outdated Lex Luger packs from 2010.

When the beats are not bringing the project down, it is the features. Guest appearances by Young Thug’s girlfriend and sisters halt any slight momentum the tracks possessed (“U Ain’t Slime Enough”), or possessed no momentum to begin with (“Oh Yeah”, “Expensive”). Other guest appearances act as mere placeholders for ‘insert-16-bar-here’ verses, lacking any unique qualities to even notice their entry on a track (Nechie, Lil Keed, Strick, Duke).

When Thug resorts to capable artists, the songs prove they really are speaking the same language. The standout cut, “Chains Choking Me” with Gunna, finally offers melody in both hook and production, its smooth guitar twangs effortlessly welcoming Thug’s and Gunna’s chemistry. Jacquees’ vocals are another breath of fresh air from the team of YSL impressionists, expertly leading the memorable hook of “January 1st” (“I’m number one, my birthday should’ve been January the First”).

Elsewhere, the quality of Slime Language is narrowly acceptable. The criminally-short “It’s a Slime” is no masterpiece, though its bubbly beat and Lil Uzi Vert’s voice brings a necessary spark to the project. “Audemar” is an echo of Thug’s earlier work, which would be forgettable if not for Thug’s zany vocal delivery guiding the entertaining chorus. Thug’s eccentric flair is also present on “Gain Clout” thanks to his double-time flow, though is evidently a playful freestyle that neglects the ingredients of a complete song.

Once the album ends, there is no doubt that Slime Language is nothing but Young Thug’s throwaway material. The intention is to blast fire into the Young Stoner Life brand but the project barely generates a spark. Considering Thug is one of the many rappers who claim to record fifty songs a day, Slime Language is the product of a rapper who has consistently been plagued by a lack of quality control. To Young Thug, family clearly does matter, though family doesn’t always muster into quality music.

Rating: 4 / 10

Best tracks: “Chains Choking Me”, “It’s a Slime”, “January 1st”