By: Thomas Rodriguez
So Much Fun is more than just a return to form for Young Thug; it’s a damn fun time.
These are all words used to describe Jeffery Lamar Williams, aka Young Thug. It’s rare that a man can live up to so many titles, but it’s easy to see why with Thugger; his voice has a color and distinctness that transcends any genre. As far as the culture of trap music goes, Thugger may be the Zone 3 version of Prince with his fashion sense, creative energy in the booth, and influence in the industry.
So Much Fun, the latest album from Young Thug, is an encapsulation of all that he has offered to 2010s hip hop. It places a marker for what he has created in the music business sonically and collaboratively, and is a wild ride from front to back.
On a surface level, not too much has changed in Thugger’s music. The instrumentals are deeply rooted in punchy 808s, woozy melodies, and occasionally extravagant embellishments of guitar or horns, with the Gunna assisted “Hot” being a key moment on the record with its bombastic sound. The features remain within Thug’s wheelhouse: the aforementioned Gunna appears twice, 21 Savage offers a cool verse on the sinister “I’m Scared”, and Lil Uzi Vert brings his usual spunk on the tropical “What’s The Move”. What separates these batch of Thug collaborations from the likes of those found on Slime Language and On the Run EP are more idealized conditions for each artist. Everyone matches Thug’s energy bar for bar, leading to some truly wonderful banter. The prodigal son Lil Keed mirrors Thugger’s unique drawl on “Big Tipper”, and Lil Duke’s cool lyrical veneer on “I Bought Her” and “Cartier Gucci Scarf” is a solid contrast Thug’s apeshit vocal changeups over their hard hitting beats.
J. Cole’s work as the executive producer of So Much Fun must be highlighted. Cole has a great ear for quality beat makers and fitting features throughout the album; he forgoes his letting his personal taste run the album’s race, deciding to let others manage the boards while giving direction to tracks. Lil Baby, for example, steals the show on “Bad Bad Bad”, and Travis Scott makes for a moody, hypnotizing voice on closer “The London”, where Thug and Cole exchange equally fiery verses…
And speaking of fire, Young Thug is the torchbearer that sets So Much Fun ablaze.
Young Thug’s greatest appeal since his early mixtape days has been his sense of fluidity and flow on the mic. The way he can rap as smooth as silk and change his voice to that of a gun-toting menace is electrifying. Every new Thug album brings the chance to hear a new flow and accent, and So Much Fun is no different. The casual use of quirky singing and mind bending rapping on So Much Fun evokes a night out with Thug as he hits the club, freestyling and moving the crowd with bottles of henny while dissing the lames outside with absurd punchlines. It quite literally embodies the concept of having fun; on a song as bizarrely venomous as “Pussy”, only Thugger could turn it into an immensely joyous moment on wax. His singing has considerably improved as well, with the guitar-licked opener “Just How It Is” being a surprisingly introspective and hilarious look into the Young Thug mentality. The song sounds sad, but it still puts a smile on my face as he sings about having to wear a dress because he had to hide a stick (gun).
Thugger is well into his career now, and as the 2010s close out, it seems that the Atlanta crooner found the brazen hunger present on Barter 6 and Slime Season. For many tracks, he experiments with what sounds nice, and balances it out with some absolute craziness. “Ecstasy” features one of his best hooks in years, as he yelps the title like a drunken alien, and “Jumped Out the Window” is a whirlwind of fury, complete with cash machines and evil aesthetics. Even beyond aesthetic, Thugger’s lyrics and songwriting are more watertight than normal, bringing hilarity and catchiness to every track that isn’t touched by Nav. The replay value that was missing from several past Thug albums was all due to a lack of energy and brazenness brought by the Atlanta rapper. Now, our old friend has returned and brought the charismatic hype we love so much to a welcome home rager.
So Much Fun is Young Thug’s highest selling album by a wide margin. Music analysts can point to several reasons why this is, but the honest truth is all in the title. So Much Fun is so much fun to listen to. It’s a confirmation of why Young Thug is so influential and enjoyable as an artist. Whether it be the light hearted “Surf” or trunk-knocking “Mannequin Challenge” Thug has shown to the mass public what he brings to the party: good times, good tunes, and a whole lot of excitement.
Tracks to Save: “Just How It Is”, ” Ecstasy”, “Hot”, “Bad Bad Bad”, “What’s The Move?”, “Jumped Out the Window”, “I’m Scared”, “Pussy”, “The London”
Tracks to Skip: “Boy Back” (ft. NAV)
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