Deep in the Heart of Texas: Young Thug Regroups

Young Thug and 300 try again for the hit single.
By    May 2, 2016

In 2004 Paul Thompson was screaming “Everything Gucci, no Big Cat”

Rapping about fucking a girl and popping molly while showing footage of floods? Wtf was the director thinking lmao

cause thugger get that pussy flooded
— ELO1

Young Thug opens “Texas Love” with the notion that he has more hoes than Kanye West has clothes. A lot of hoes. Kanye’s “Diamonds From Sierra Leone” was written and recorded before he knew or cared about diamond mining practices in West Africa, but by the time he shot the video–in Prague, of course–he was, as they say, for the cause. The clip for “Texas Love” is the same sort of disorienting half-charity, flexing in the face of tragedy.

Thug and director Be El Be set the thumbnail to be the rapper splashed with a wall of water. Remember Twitter when the Metro Thuggin’ title was announced?

HiTunes was supposed to come out last September. “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” was nominated for a Grammy. Barter 6 and the first two Slime Seasons were some of the best-reviewed rap records of the year; “Best Friend” was a minor hit. But what was supposed to be the big summer single–the Mike Will-produced “Pacifier,” maybe the best song in Thug’s catalog–did less than nothing at radio. Couple that with legal problems and an apparent unwillingness to slow his torrid recording process, it’s no wonder there’s friction between artist and label.

March’s Slime Season 3 was a collection of eight songs that had been teased on Snapchat and Instagram for more than a year as potential singles. Lyor helped walk a branded casket through Austin during SXSW. The idea was that the project was being buried, the vaults emptied for whatever comes next. A nice idea, but how do you throw away “With Them” and “Digits”?

You do it if you know you have “Texas Love” on deck. Produced by “Best Friend” architect Ricky Racks, it sounds fresh and foreign compared to the reliable but familiar fare from SS3. As usual, Thug cycles through four flows, three different hooks, and at least that many Molly capsules.

The creative analogue might still be Wayne, but the structure and pace of Thug’s output is a lot more like that of his first mentor, Gucci. But Guwop made a handful of cadences part of his DNA, to the point where they’re still being aped today. On “Texas,” Thug is still finding new ways to shuffle and re-shuffle his vocal takes to sound like the alien from Zone 51.

There’s a Bankroll Fresh tribute, a Blues Clues reference; Thug calls all the girls in his phone from a booth at Popeyes, fires his stylists, talks about Pat Riley while eating pussy. Don’t you?

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