Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Young Thug

  • I Came From Nothing [self-released download, 2011] **
  • I Came From Nothing 2 [self-released download, 2011] *
  • I Came From Nothing 3 [self-released download, 2012] B+
  • 1017 Thug [self-released download, 2013] B+
  • The Barter 6 [300 Entertainment/Atlantic, 2015] **
  • Slime Season 3 [300 Entertainment/Atlantic, 2016] **
  • I'm Up [300 Entertainment/Atlantic, 2016] **
  • Jeffery [300 Entertainment/Atlantic, 2016] A-

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

I Came From Nothing [self-released download, 2011]
Cheerful zurped-up trap-rap deepens up if you listen up ("Rip," "Achieve") **

I Came From Nothing 2 [self-released download, 2011]
Youngblood makes so many funny noises he can't convince me he's a "Neiman Marcus shopper"--which is a good thing ("#Twitter Song," "I Know") *

I Came From Nothing 3 [self-released download, 2012]
The moralist in me scoffs at the rationalization that trap-rap "street" tropes are merely conventions--a song called "Molly Workin'" has to hook harder than this one to make me forget that molly generates more fellatio providers than normally occur in nature. But the hedonist in me won't deny that gangsters grok pop's Saturday night hustle in a way moralists cannot. The turning point on this freewheeling get-together is the "birthday bash" Thug announces midway through on "I'm Paid," after which tracks that were already coming thick and fast pick up speed as the party gets wilder and louder. One skittering synthbeat accelerates off another, "Angry Sex" straight on to "I Like What Ya Doin'." You want to know Jeffrey Williams's principles? How 'bout "No homo/We party though/We get gnarly though/We smoke dro/We fuck our hoes/We rock shows/That's what we here fo'"? "Time of Ya Life," that one's called, and given how much time he can count on, it should be. B+

1017 Thug [self-released download, 2013]
Midway in, the sonic breakout "Picachu" begins a five-out-of-six run interrupted only by a song from a Gucci Mane not yet put safely away--chorus fans may actually prefer the lubricious "Miss U" or the sanguinary "Trigger Finger" to "Picachu" itself. But don't let whatever noxious potion you're vicariously sipping cloud your judgment, because otherwise this is just a quality mixtape. However much you enjoy the bombed recipe for disaster "2 Cups Stuffed" or the stoned geography lesson "Nigeria," it's a road to no place special with a lot of signposts on it. B+

The Barter 6 [300 Entertainment/Atlantic, 2015]
Running one of his inscrutable jokes on the major label ("Can't Tell," "Halftime") **

Slime Season 3 [300 Entertainment/Atlantic, 2016]
Best line is "Why not risk life when it's gon' keep goin'," which means pretty much what you think it means even if he doesn't mean it only we're not in this for the meanings--I hope ("With Them," "Drippin'") **

I'm Up [300 Entertainment/Atlantic, 2016]
That "germ in it"/"worm in it" rhyme graces a Latinish number pledging his readiness to die for his "people," who we'll know when we see them ("F Cancer," "Family") **

Jeffery [300 Entertainment/Atlantic, 2016]
The one wan joke I noticed must have been so beside the point it slipped between the cracks, because now I can't find it. But here as never before, Black Portland included, the former Jeffery Lamar Williams makes black comedy out of irrepressible sound, cutting the fool with such delight that I found myself not just engaged but agape. Nude or digital, speaking or chanting, narrating or bragging, exclaiming or explaining, sobbing or gasping or chuckling or cackling, his hoohoos and melismas and blahs and mwas and frogcroaks and put-puts are the message. The nearest he comes to thematic embellishment is when he barks the keywords "work" and "earn" in the Rihanna song "RiRi," which in other respects is no more about the superstar than "Harambe" is about the gorilla. The main ostensible subjects are sex and luxury goods, and admit it--they both beat opioid addiction and killing people. A-