“I feel like there’s no such thing as gender.”
Before I ever listened to Young Thug, I admired him. It’s hard not to love him, whether he’s wearing a dress or making comments about equality and being whoever you are. He’s super lovable, and now I’ve had Jeffery on repeat for a bit and love him even more.
Even if you don’t know the lyrics, you love this for the hooks and the beats, and at a very slim 42 minutes, it is smooth and really easy to listen to. The beats aren’t genre-changing, but they’re wonderful for their subtlety, because there isn’t anything that’s in your face or show-stealing. They’re enablers, keeping the mood and helping the album flow from song to song, which is does spectacularly. The songs melt together, but they aren’t boring or forgettable, because Young Thug keeps it spicy with his huge presence.
He knows his strengths, and this is a supremely confident album. Maybe they’re all confident, but this is the first one I’m listening to. He spits and rhymes like an absolute master, and more than that, his delivery is so unique from song to song. He raps sweetly, wildly, in gasps, whatever fits the tone of the song. Swizz Beats is complimented by a lovely “la la la” and Guwop by a chipper “ya did ya did” while on Harambe he mimics Louis Armstrong and RiRi has him turning “work” and “earn it” into dog-like yips of pain. His voice isn’t just a method of delivering his lyrics but an instrument itself, contorting and flexible.
Even though the songs are all named after his idols and influences, none of the songs are really about them. I first became interested in him, because of Kanye West and Harambe, expecting them to be funny meme-songs, but what I got instead were thoughtful deconstructions of masculinity, love, and life. His lyrics are hard to decipher, and I am not the person to do that anyway, but unpacking them isn’t what needs to be done, because they’re as thoughtful because of their delivery and complexity of the hooks as they are the actual lyrics. On Kanye West, he sounds fragile and opened up, one of the hardest things you would expect someone called Young Thug to do, because here he’s not Young Thug. He’s not a woman, he’s not a man, he’s something you will never understand. He’s Jeffery.