The “had to wear the dress ’cause I had a stick” icon takes on The Big Apple in the latest entry of his “So Much Fun” press tour.
Backed by “slatt” pendant and SPIDER-clad accomplices and Lil , moseyed into W 25 Street’s 40/40 Club, his features obscured by a dark pair of shades and Barriers hoodie. It was only after he had settled into his seat at the front of the venue that he allowed himself to look around, a clear satisfaction with the setting’s turnout eliciting rounds of applause from those perched at the bar and above in the VIP overhang. In the wake of his well-deserved and reviews that have been nothing short of sterling in their critique, Thug’s Tidal-sponsored anointment in front of an untouched column of Ace of Spades bottles seemed only fitting. His album is, after all, titled So Much Fun. The golden Jenga-like backdrop and lawn green haze that emanated from the screens above seemed to augment Thug’s mystifying presence, his unmistakable lilt drawing the conversation from Barter 6 to his early dream to pursue football to the first time his mom heard him rap (rather explicitly) in the living room of his childhood home.
And yet within the hour, he was out the door, emphatically bobbing his head to “Hot” as the mob swirled around his lanky frame, their camera lights flashing and fists clenched around splashing cups of cranberry cognac.
Here’s what stood out to us.
Given Thug’s workhorse reputation, it makes sense that he would have a deep vault of unreleased loosies dating back to the I Came From Nothing era. So when he prefaced his motivation for so-called “debut” So Much Fun with the disclaimer that it contains songs that are as old as two to three years, it wasn’t entirely unexpected for those in attendance. “This time I really focused on what people liked, instead of myself,” said Thug. “I was doing it for the fans.” Comprised of a sprawling 19 total tracks, the album’s unbothered sonic structure should have been a clear-cut clue as to its inception.
The dynamics of what takes place behind the closed doors of studios is rarely made public information for fear of leaks and the possibility of artistic mojo being snatched. Fortunately, Thug was an obliging interviewee, revealing some juicy tidbits as to how one of the album’s most bizarrely divisive cuts came together. As it turns out, “Sup Mate” was recorded using two mics in the same booth, with and Thug bouncing their frenetic (and accented) energy off one another for a full 20 minutes before taking to the boards to chop it up. With the added context behind this unruly Union Jack ditty, it’s not difficult to imagine the two veterans taking sips of English breakfast tea as the preamble to each “wipe his nose!” refrain. The foray into British slang wasn’t the first time that Thug has employed this unorthodox recording technique: “3 Headed Snake” off of ’s Drip or Drown 2 came together in a similarly synergistic fashion.
An esteemed emcee known for his way with words, remains a figurehead of the hip hop camp dedicated to putting pen to pad. Yet in the process of piecing together his verse for Thug’s hit single “London,” the Dreamville head honcho was forced to contend with the main event’s free-wheeling theatrics. Thug laughingly disclosed that Cole, who served as executive-producer on the album, struggled to keep pace with the otherworldly gear switches and off-the-cuff riffs that have made Jeffery Lamar Williams one of music’s most beloved (and imitated) characters. Still, he applauded Cole’s valiant stab at replication, and admitted that he believes it to be Cole’s best effort behind the mic to date. In any case, it certainly cost him a pretty penny, provided Cole didn’t offer a buddy-buddy discount on the steep “11 birds” asking price.
Surprise released in October 2017, Super Slimey showcased streamlined stylistic parallels between two of Atlanta’s most prolific rap deities. Now, it appears that and Thug are ready to wet their quills in the radioactive, viridescent inkwell once more, this time as conductors of a much larger ensemble. The rumored four-way collaboration uniting trap music’s aforementioned guardians with fresh-faced protégés and was all but confirmed, and is set to feature Thug’s sisters, his girlfriend Jerrika Karlae, Lil Keed, and Lil among others. “I like to put people on,” said Thug of his creative intuition. “I don’t put you on to make you a millionaire. I put you on so you can put somebody else on.” It’s an ideology that has already begun to play out with Gunna, one of Thug’s closest disciples, who in turn is now assembling his own umbrella of artists and producers that includes notables Lil Gotit and Turbo the Great.
“Pure” is more than just Thug’s choice adjective as of late in interviews with BigBoyTV and No Jumper’s Adam22; it’s directly tied to his next album, tentatively titled Punk. According to the YSL boss, “pure” is an acronym that stands for “people you rarely eye,” a nod to his vision for the upcoming project and his desire to peel back the layers of a story whose many chapters remain untold. When prompted by Wilson as to the autobiographical nature of the content, Thug adamantly replied in the affirmative: “Stories you can die with. Stories you supposed to go to the grave with.”