Young Thug Experiments Freely on ‘Beautiful Thugger Girls’ Album
There is no denying that Young Thug has steadily been pushing rap’s envelope over the past five years, making as many boundary-breaking statements as he has music. So when he deems himself to be the “#newPac” and claims to be “the thug Pac didn't get to become”, the feeling doesn’t seem to be all that outlandish, especially with releases like Beautiful Thugger Girls, his acoustically-driven and self-described "singing album.”
All rappers that withstand the test of time have, at one point or another, switched up their winning formula in the name of artistic expression. For Lil Wayne in 2009, it was his rock-inspired album Rebirth, for Kanye West it was 2013’s electric warehouse crash course Yeezus and now for Young Thug it's Beautiful Thugger Girls. The difference between those other artists' aforementioned releases and BTG is that they were sonically abrasive at first listen whereas Thug sounds the best he’s ever sounded, despite some of the songs begin fairly far removed from his proverbial comfort zone; although there doesn’t appear to be much Thug isn’t comfortable with. Dresses included.
“Family Don’t Matter” is perhaps the most obvious example of Thug’s experimentation with flashes of traditional country music fused with acoustic pop. His lyrical content hasn’t changed a whole lot with lines like “Smokin' Backwoods in northern bay/I was getting protected by my savages/Yellow school buses that's a Xanny/Causing me to sleep and I ain't plan it” still making it to the forefront as they have on previous projects. However, it’s new for Thug to end his line with a “yee-haw!” ad-lib. The music leans much more towards rap and pop than country but the increasingly formal singing style paired with banjo strings make this one basically hoedown appropriate.
Country flow aside, the album is rich, colorful and clearly well-executed at nearly every level. For starters, the entire project is executive produced by Drake, Wheezy and London on Da Track, which is just about as musically well-rounded as humanely possible. After the country vibes at the beginning, pitch-perfect trap tendencies pop up throughout the album’s core, starting with “Tomorrow Til Infinity.” Ben Billions and Rex Kudo serve Thug up a very snappy yet melodic beat to which the rapper's vocals then manipulate it to the nth degree. The crooning really kicks in on “Daddy's Birthday,” where he makes a viable case for himself as one of the genre’s most infectiously pacifying voices. If it wasn’t confirmed before this release, it is now: Young Thug is officially millennial rap’s generational songbird.
Caribbean riddims pop up on “Do U Love Me,” enchanted Spanish guitars flow freely on “You Said,” campfire acoustics drive “Me or Us” and dreamy electronics pulse through “Take Care.” With all this wide-ranging musicality, the instrumental version of this album would sound wildly unorganized but it's Thug’s twisted tempos and fluidity that ties all 14 tracks together seamlessly. He also doesn’t mind employing other artists’ talents to add to the vision with Jacquees, Snoop Dogg, Lil Durk, Future, Gunna and Millie Go Lightly all gracing the project.
Most impressive and outright significant however is the latter, Millie Go Lightly. The 23-year-old British singer sounds incredibly complementary alongside Thugger’s poetic mumblings. They harmonize effortlessly on “She Wanna Party,” which actually renders itself one of the album’s strongest cuts. Thug’s innate ability to tap into the very real human love and lust dichotomy is uncanny here, as he switches between gentleman and degenerate on the turn of a dime. In one instance he’s claiming, “I love her so you know I got her flossin” and the next he’s asking said female to “Sit on my face, that pussy wet like she fresh out the lake.”
Beautiful Thugger Girls is less of a total Auto-Tuned trap-a-thon and way more of an incongruously honest oral love letter to women who adore Young Thug. There aren’t many songs here to bump in the club but clearly that isn’t the goal Thug is trying to achieve. This project seems to be the music Thug has wanted to make for a while but didn't quite develop the skill set to do so until now. But in 2017, with his seat firmly set atop music’s creative top tier, Young Thug has all the expertise he needs to pull off a singing album without a hitch.
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