Atlanta recording artist Young Thug is a master of hip-hop unorthodoxy. The rapper-turned-crooner has continued to reinvent himself with each new release. Beautiful Thugger Girls is Thug’s seventh commercial project since April 2015. His studio work ethic and eccentricity make Thugger hip-hop’s most interesting man. Originally titled “Easy Breezy Beautiful Thugger Girls,” this album marks Young Thug’s official crossover. Many of today’s biggest rap stars have utilized a dual-threat approach to making music. Drake (an executive producer here), Future, Kanye, Childish Gambino and others have blurred the line between rapper and singer. While singing is nothing new to Young Thug fans, Beautiful Thugger Girls adds him to this resourceful group as one of the genre’s most consistent innovators.
Those previously mentioned artists can only be compared to Young Thug on a basic stylistic level. Vocally and sonically no other rapper, or any artist for that matter, sounds like Thug. This album is not confined to a single genre. However, Young Thug is an ambassador for hip-hop no matter what kind of album he drops. He has pushed the boundaries of rap norms for years and has done it once again here. Thug takes risks. That’s one of the reasons I love listening to his music. Just when you think you’ve figured him out, his unpredictability takes a new form. This album is highly experimental. It dabbles in various sounds including groovy horns, slick acoustic guitar, and animated synths. Thanks to Wheezy, London on da Track, Charlie Handsome, Young Chop, Post Malone and more, this release is an easy listening experience.
Thug’s voice across these beats is sharper than ever. He pulls vocal elements from his former mixtapes (for example, 2015’s Barter 6 and last year’s JEFFERY) to create something completely fresh. He yelps, croons, and serenades like never before, expanding his already fast-growing mainstream appeal. Listed as his debut studio album, EBBTG makes quite a statement. Despite lacking a sure-fire hit, where this album succeeds is in its steady fun-loving vibe. The lyricism here is nothing out of the ordinary for Thug. Irreverent and vulgar vernacular suits his wacky vocal delivery more times than not. There are times, though, when I wished he would tone down some of these unpalatable lines. The overzealous sexualization heard throughout these lyrics limits the songs’ potential. I believe rappers have the tendency to misinterpret the purpose of balladry.
Many rap artists nowadays use singing to communicate to a female audience. My question is: why is that they equate singing to women to singing about sex? I thought this was executed well on “You Said”. It is meant to be wildly sexual thus boasts relevance. Also, it clearly focuses on the topic of sex consistently from start to finish. However, numerous other tracks express heavy and purposeless sexual undertones. This notion is overlooked most of the time on a rap album. But on a melodic project such as Beautiful Thugger Girls, I expect more wit in his songwriting. Young Thug has never been a fully eloquent lyricist. Nevertheless, on a “singing album” like this his one-dimensional penmanship becomes brutally exposed. Gripes aside, EBBTG is a pleasantly polished sing-along affair that is playable from beginning to end.