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Sheesh! Trap guru Young Thugs returns with more new music in 2018. Following his previous compilation, I didn’t know what to expect. Despite its delays On the Rvn felt like it would be a better effort overall. And I’m happy to say that this is a big improvement. Normally compilations feature various artists displaying their talents. However, YSL’s Slime Language lacked chemistry. Artists on the rise such as Gunna and Lil Baby hardly received enough shine. The project was 90% Thug. While I am a huge Thugger fan, I wanted more from the rest of the group. He seemed to hog the limelight due to his lack of a follow-up studio album. Nevertheless, the material here more than makes up for it. Like I said, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I knew it would reference his recent run-in with the law. I love a good concept.

Yet there isn’t much of one here. That’s alright, though. Most EPs have too brief of runtimes to carry an intricate storyline. Besides, Young Thug simply writes what he feels. Off the rip, we hear the project’s title track. This one took me a few listens to savor. At first the vocal rhythm went in one ear and out the other. I wanted more direct references to what happened the night the police stopped him and his crew. Although this lack of detail holds back its potential, “On the Run” indeed slaps. Thug’s bouncy vocals kick off this EP the right way. The next two tracks make less of an impression however. Honestly, I enjoy “Icey” quite a bit. But for Young Thug, both it and “Climax” featuring 6LACK sound fairly typical. They are not bad tracks whatsoever. Though they don’t offer much in terms of memorable songwriting either.

Thugger’s “Climax” hook is raw nonetheless. The lyrics themselves convey vulnerability after an ex-girlfriend leaves him for another man. This is the type of substance missing in most trap offerings. Conversely, the song as a whole ends up being sonic wallpaper. The hook is memorable to me personally because I approve of his openness. Yet Thug’s delivery is a tad sleepy. Emotional material deserves an emotional performance, if you ask me. But I also must point out the vocal mixing here. Despite an impressive production palette, On the Rvn suffers from over-saturated soundscapes. The bass is clean and powerful. And each instrumental differs enough not to sloppily blend together. However, they tend to muffle the impact of the artists’ bars. This applies to “Sin” featuring Jaden Smith as well, though that doesn’t stop me from loving the song. Not gonna lie, man, Jaden Smith sounds great on here.

Be that as it may, I still wish he varied his tone during his verse to keep things fresh for the entirety of the record. I’ll keep my nitpicking to a minimum, though, because I thoroughly dig his performance. The most polished efforts are the final two tracks. “Real in My Veins” sees Thug reflecting on his status in the game. And “High” pays homage to one of pop music’s all-time icons. The latter underwhelmed me at first. In a way, it still does. But the more I hear it, the more I like it. Although a rehash of Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” Thug’s additions mesh well. Nevertheless, he doesn’t put his usual, unique perspective on the track, in my opinion. Jeffery’s potential remains limitless despite his reluctance to drop an official album. I have faith he’ll drop a trap classic. Regardless, On the Rvn will hold me over temporarily.

 

EP Review: Young Thug - On the Rvn
Infectious MelodiesCohesive InstrumentalsSome Transparent Lyricism
Some Forgettable MaterialVocal Mixing HiccupsLack of Centerpiece
6.8POSITIVE
Production7.9
Songwriting6.5
Substance5.9