Review: Young Thug, ‘On the Rvn’

Young Thug’s confusing 2018 continues with a satisfactory EP.

August’s YSL compilation release, Slime Language, confirmed that Young Thug is all over the place this year. The project, alongside the Hear No Evil EP, failed to paint a picture for what direction the rapper is heading in, littered with the weakest material of Thug’s career. Another impulsive announcement re-fueled excitement, only to reach an anticlimax once the project was released as another EP. Considering Thug’s erratic project classifications (he still hasn’t released a full-length studio album), it is difficult to believe he will take an EP seriously to warrant his best foot forward.

At a mere 6 tracks, On the Rvn does not slot into any particular era of Young Thug’s career. Instead, it floats in oblivion, lacking any identity as a project. However, Thug ensures he packets a couple standout tracks and nothing unbearably generic.

The song stealing headlines is the closing track, “High”, Thug’s rendition of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” which originally leaked earlier last month. It is the closest to the experimentation Young Thug is known for, certifying a collaboration that shouldn’t make sense but is ultimately pulled off.

“Sin” is reminiscent of Thug’s magnum opus Barter 6, and even closer to 2016’s “Floyd Mayweather”. The minimalist beat leaves plenty of room for Young Thug and Jaden Smith to trade verses, although the latter’s vocal contributions sound awkwardly placed. The song could have unlocked its potential structurally in the way “Floyd Mayweather” achieves through further guest appearances; exchanging verses with Gunna would have elevated the song significantly.

When considering production, “Climax” is the EP’s standout cut. The skeletal guitars and beatboxing sets it apart from the surrounding songs that are rooted in Thug’s conventional trap production. “Real In My Veins” may follow the typical trap template but grants replay thanks to its memorable hook.

Little remains outside these tracks that are worth inclusion. The opening title track is forgettable and twice the length it deserves to be. It is followed by “Icey”, which is nothing exceptional nor erroneous but summons numerous eyerolls thanks to its horoscope reference (“My bitch is a Virgo but she actin’ like a Pisces”).

For Thug fans, On the Rvn is nothing groundbreaking; it reaches the conventional standards of Young Thug’s trap tunes. There is no shelf life for On the Rvn, but is acceptable coming from Thug’s creative stream of consciousness until he figures out his next big move. On the Rvn calls for direction and strict focus on taking Young Thug’s career to where it deserves.

Rating: 6 / 10

Best tracks: “Sin”, “High”, “Climax”, “Real in My Veins”