Trap-rap’s increasing prevalence in hip-hop has lead to many copy cats flooding today’s music industry, where it seems like banging 808’s and complementary high-hats behind a mediocrely mumbled verse is all it takes to enter the spotlight.
Young Thug’s latest project “So Much Fun”, released Aug.16, marks his 13th official solo release and debut studio album. In it, he highlights his ability to not only stay relevant in the trap scene, but also his ability to elevate his prodigies and label mates to his level. This feature-packed, nineteen-song album encapsulates exactly what a fun and energetic summer party album should be.
The intro track “Just How It Is” doesn’t directly jump in to the happy-go-lucky attitude that is found later in the album. Rather, Young Thug raps over a soothing bass line while reflecting on his current stardom and how it affects his lifestyle. Young Thug, known as Thugger by some of his fans, also has lines that reference Colin Kaepernick, an ex-NFL quarterback who protested police brutality, and Nipsey Hussle, a rapper known for his community service who was murdered earlier this year. These two are people whose situations he wishes could have ended differently but must accept as a part of life.
“Sup Mate,” featuring Future, is where Young Thug begins the crescendo of the album’s energy. Both Future and Thugger push each other's vigor by bouncing back and forth every verse, seemingly conversing through rap, while playfully coming together in each refrain. The chemistry between the two friends is palpable, making the song a fun listen. This high energy track is what really sets the tone for the rest of the project.
Originally released as a solo track, “Ecstasy,” now featuring Machine Gun Kelly, presents a grocery list of what drugs they are currently into. From Young Thug praising “Molly, roxies, oxycontin” to MGK claiming the “inside of my house look like Colombia, I love it,” the two definitely have accustomed themselves to a certain lifestyle, one far from sobriety. Regardless of the showcase of questionable lifestyles, the callous lyricism from each rapper warrants at least a single relisten for this track.
Majestic horns and forceful 808’s make for a capturing intro to “Hot,” featuring YSL label-mate Gunna. Gunna takes the chorus and first verse, rapping about how much better life is for him now that his career has taken off and how he is finally starting to see the fruits of his labor. Once Thugger gets a hold of the mic, he goes on to criticize newer rappers who haven’t put in their time but act like they are just as deserving of fame and fortune. Young Thug has more to say about new rappers, remarking that, “Actin' like they the ones created this, and they get all the drip from my guys.”
Lil Baby’s feature on “Bad Bad Bad” gives listeners a taste of how Thugger and his crew spoil the women in their lives, be it with Cartier jewelry, Ferraris, or even “Rose gold seats on a f****n' helicopter.” A steady, but repetitive, beat gives Lil Baby and Young Thug a blank canvas to flex their wealth. The song doesn’t get too deep, lyrically, as “Bad Bad Bad” mainly describes the rappers’ quality of life on the streets and the women they choose to spend their time with. While not my favorite track on the album, it would have been a shock not to see at least one monotone feature from Thugger’s good friend on the project.
“I’m Scared” featuring both 21 Savage and Doe Boy elicits the more frightening aspects of being a famous rapper, and the fears they all have due to the amount of time they spend in the spotlight. However, their fears are not stemming from rival rappers or jealous hometown haters with a need for vengeance. Their fear is of law enforcement, who can now keep tabs on them easier due to the spotlight that comes with fame. Though he does not directly reference the occasion, 21 Savage’s verse is influenced by his detainment by ICE earlier this year, when he supposedly overstayed his visa. The last line of his verse makes a dig at law enforcement, saying “12 already know not to interrogate me if he got hit below the neck.”
The closing track “The London,” the lead single for the project, includes features from J. Cole and Travis Scott, arguably two of the most influential rappers in the game right now. Travis takes the chorus, with a soothing tone that is quickly contrasted by Thugger’s high-pitched, quickly delivered verse. Cole, Scott and Thug use this track to display how well they treat their significant others due to their success as artists as well as retired drug dealers. Even though I feel the album could have been tied up more neatly, the two monolithic features leave a strong impression in the ears of the listeners, which I can appreciate.
“So Much Fun” isn’t a project with many hidden meanings or complex ideas, but rather a collaboration of Young Thug’s closest friends, which is where he feels most comfortable. When Thugger is in his zone surrounded by people he trusts, he is at his peak. That’s what makes this album as enjoyable to listen to as it is because Young Thug isn’t focused on anything but having fun and rapping with his friends.