Duke's Zion Williamson Leaves FSU Game With Freak Eye Injury

Duke followers and NBA GMs are collectively holding within the wake a freak accident which resulted in Zion Williamson exiting Saturday’s contest in opposition to FSU. The following describes does the damage justice as an outline. As you’ll be able to see, the FSU defender Trent Forrest varieties a claw together with his fingers, poking Williamson straight within the eye. 

As a end result Forrest’s mandible claw, Zion fell flat to the exhausting floor, with FSU assuming possession with Duke’s undermanned for a number of seconds. Once the play stopped, Williamson sought the assistance a Duke coach to convey him to his ft. Zion was then carted f to the locker room, by no means to return.

After the sport, Duke issued an announcement regarding Zion’s damage. Team ficials cited “double imaginative and prescient” because the worst symptom to come up from the incident in query. Otherwise, Duke appeared chipper with regard to Zion’s “bettering” situation. They nonetheless prevented him from chatting with the press post-game, as a formality. RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish, and the opposite Duke Blue Devils have been compelled to undertake a lunch pale mentality the remaining the way in which. In the tip, a Cam Reddish three would give Duke the slim 80-78 victory over FSU. And thus, Zion Williamson walks away realizing he did not must endure in useless.

Young Thug's "Slime Language" Review

The night  Slime Language‘s release, Young Thug was relentlessly posting on Instagram Live. We saw him and his crew boarding a private jet en route to the Dave & Buster’s-based listening party in L.A., various scenes revelry, and one fleeting still a black screen with text. I didn’t screenshot it at the time, and although I’ve relentlessly Googled with its relevant keywords, I haven’t been able to find evidence it since. It boiled down to something like, “This feels like the way it used to be,” or “I feel how I used to,” or something along those lines. As fan theories about the notoriously private Thug always abound— especially in the wake  Slime Language, as go-to engineer Alex Tumay recently suggested— I’m almost glad I don’t have the actual screenshot to overanalyze. But suffice it to say that Thug’s in a great mood across his new YSL compilation album, and the energy is infectious. 

Less eclectic, experimental, and monumental than last year’s Beautiful Thugger GirlsSlime Language is more on par with Future collab tape Super Slimey and Jeffery in terms ambition and structure. Thug’s on every song, usually as the focal point, but right from the start it’s clear he’s out to highlight the talents others, dedicating the hook opener “Tsunami” to his longtime producer Wheezy. YSL’s Gunna, having something a breakout year, is a major player throughout. Other YSL artists, previous Thug collaborators, family members, and even his (ex?) girlfriend fill out the tracklist, making the whole project feel like a tight-knit birthday party. 

Thugger’s never released a project with zero features, which isn’t exactly rare (especially Atlanta’s heavily fraternal scene), but his enthusiasm for collaboration has always dwarfed that his peers. This is someone who clearly values interpersonal relationships— you don’t start calling your bros “lover” unless you mean it, and you don’t add your sisters on your label’s artist roster unless you truly believe in them. Thug’s brotherly zeal is impossible to miss in videos, whether he’s toting guns in an overcrowded house with PeeWee Longway, hanging out by the pool with mentor Gucci Mane the day after he got out prison, or doing the David Lynch two-step with Lil Uzi Vert in the Black Lodge. It’s out in fuller force than ever on Slime Language, and as a result, Thug sounds like he’s having the most fun he’s had since his Rich Gang days.

Grins are almost audible when Thug slyly delivers lines like, “Finally rich and it’s showing… and I’m letting it” and “I had my dick inside her mouth and still had the chopper out,” the latter coming on “Gain Clout,” a solo cut that Tumay aptly described as “‘Halftime’ on meth.” He yelps, snarls, and coos his way around more staid guest verses, showing his ever-present vocal versatility while still staying in more a lane than he did on Thugger Girls. When Thug bookends each line in the “Audemar” hook with energetic exclamations, or turns Wire character Clay Davis’ famed catchphrase (“Sheeeeeeit”) into an ad-lib on “It’s A Slime,” you can’t help but smile along with him.

Slime Language detractors will probably use the phrase “low stakes” to describe it. There’s no country songs, Bright Eyes interpolations, or dancehall beats, and everything’s very in-line with prevailing trends in Atlanta rap. It’s not as game-changing as previous Thug albums. However, I think “carefree” is the better descriptor. Despite the fact that this is not the project that was originally billed as “easy, breezy, beautiful,” Slime Language is as easygoing as trap albums come, and that’s thanks to a near-spotless, well-curated, gorgeous collection beats. Nothing’s in your face— it’s not until “Scoliosis” that we get anything that could be deemed remotely aggressive— instead, everything’s cushy, pillowy, wooshy. Even the more menacing melodies, such as on “Audemar,” are played with airy tones. Cloud-weight synths, lilting guitar licks, and humid atmospheres form a featherweight bedrock while weird, slightly atonal flourishes are subtly sprinkled in here and there. With a revolving door guests, it’s the downright lovely music that holds this thing together. Slime Language is the most cohesive-sounding rap album this side Slimeball 3 this year, which is saying something for a compilation.

Not every guest can hang with Thug as a vocalist, but for the most part everyone plays to their strengths. I didn’t even know Karlae rapped, but she forms the backbone “U Ain’t Slime Enough” with a memorable hook; HiDoraah’s verse on “Oh Yeah” retains the melodic DNA Thug’s intro while subtly adding to it; Lil Baby sounds effortless as ever on “Chanel (Go Get It),” even managing to slip in a reference to a very underrated Plies/T-Pain single; Gunna is stellar throughout. This isn’t quite a The Dynasty: Roc La Familia-style showcase a god-tier cadre talent, but doesn’t have to be. Slime Language is a blast as a familial cookout. 

Earlier this year, Thug snuck an absolute bomb a line into his verse on Lil Baby’s “Right Now,” appearing so soon after a line about a Lambo that you might’ve missed it: “My last two years were the worst ones in my career, but I’m still rich as you.” Again, you have to resist the urge to read too far into anything he says, but something must’ve been f around the time  Jeffery and BTG— either faltering sales numbers, his relationship with Karlae, or some other unknown plight. Those two albums didn’t seem to suffer at all, but perhaps Thug was while making them. “I’m drainin’ and strainin’ my voice until it get right,” he raps on “STS,” giving perhaps the most self-aware lyric his career, granting us a window into a creative process that’s ten depicted as innate. Thug repeats lines, flows, and even song titles on Slime Language, but it seems intentional and even self-referential— a quest for the way it “used to be.” The compilation makes me, a longtime Thug fan, happy every time I hear it. More importantly though, I think it makes Thug happy, too. 

Top 5 Collaborations On Young Thug's "Slime Language"

Young Thug has had his fans fiends foaming at the mouth (almost literally) for his latest release. Well, really, ANY release would have done for this thirsty a fanbase. I mean, maybe there would have been even more foaming at the mouth were this the release the near-mythical HiTunes, but we’re not a picky lot, Slime Language definitely does the trick. It may be early in the game, but upon our first or rather, second, third, fourth listen we’re picking out the top five best collaborations from the 15-track release. That, too (!) — in a day and age when this could have been a 20+ song release, Thug cut it at the rather reasonable 15 — even that somehow feels “long” for the King Slime, but the listening session itself proves otherwise. As eccentric as ever, and with plenty new or lesser-known voices to introduce us, the ride was always engaging, from the intro song, a solo endeavour that is as wavy as its title, “Tsunami,” to the closer with next-up Nechie, “Slimed In.” It wasn’t necessarily an easy task, but here’s our top five.

What’s on your top five f Slime Language? Let us know in the comments. We decided not to consider the two Thug solo songs (“Gain Clout” and “Tsunami” respectively– don’t discount their dopeness, though) for this particular list, because, collabs. Presented in no particular order, mind you.


“Audemar” feat. Tracy T (Produced by Keyyz)

This song is the weirdest one the project, probably, but for Thug, that means greatness. You know it’s gunna be strange as soon as it starts: a series screech-like “slatts” make up the intro, and then proceed to occupy ad-lib status through out Thug’s own sporadic verse. The beat is screeching and ticking, but what makes this collaboration so amazing is the “Harambe”-like explorative flows that Thug uses. From squeaky, to raspy, to growl-like, Thug’s voice knows no bounds. Tracy T doesn’t falter either, giving us gruff bars to juxtapose Thug’s melodic hook. However his verse is short, and Thug remains the highlight this collab.

“Expensive” feat. HiDoraah & Dolly (Produced by Billboard Hitmakers)

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard from Thug’s two sisters, Dorah and Dolly, and liked what we heard. Although Dorah appears to have updated her name slightly, it’s the same two siblings that dropped Family Ties in 2016, with the stand-out (Thug) collaboration “Serving the Plug.” With fond memories that release in mind, I was curious/excited to see what they’d do on this Slime Language family release. Although HiDoraah’s own feature on “Oh Yeah” was a little more underwhelming, when the sisters were paired up together once more, later in the project — this time without brother in tow — the result is fire. “Expensive” is a catchy, jumpy look at what these two sisters can do together. Dolly handles the hook and takes a cue from Thug when she stretches her voice into unlikely contortions, while HiDoraah fares much better in her verse sans-auto-tune here, moving from a syncopated to an elongated flow.

“Slimed In” feat. Nechie (Produced by Turbo)

“Slimed In” will act as the first listen Nechie for most us, and he gives us a Gunna-like flow over the dark, piano-driven beat from Turbo. It’s a hard ending to the project, and while this is Nechie’s sole appearance on the compilation, he keeps the spotlight on lock for the collaboration. Thug pops up for a drippy second verse, with sharp pronunciations his words, referencing that abortion he made his baby mama get. Nechie is clearly gang though, from vocals to flow, he fits in the Slime landscape perfectly. 

 “Chanel (Go Get It)” feat. Lil Baby & Gunna (Produced by Wheezy, SinGrinch and Psymun)

This one was an easy addition, almost necessary. The trifecta, as it were, Slime-approved ATLiens. We’ve seen their chemistry on wax before, and as artists that appear to be genuine in friendship, it translates to their studio sessions. It’s not exactly a groundbreaking record, but it’s a tried and true formula we welcome, with talk easily-attainable luxury items due to their current status, while the inclusion wayward horns adds to the whole vibe.

“Dirty Shoes” feat. Gunna (Produced by Wheezy and Charlie Handsome)

Gunna gets the most time as a featured artist on Slime Language, perhaps plucked by Thugger himself as the shining star his many proteges, at least for the moment. “Dirty Shoes” in particular seems to be the song that his camp is attempting to highlight the most f the album, placing it in wide view on streaming services and press releases alike. For good reason, though. The song takes on that country trap twang that Thug first dabbled in with Beautiful Thugger Girls— not just for the guitar buried in the background, but later, the song is stripped down even more to its acoustic roots, while Thug murmurs about getting his bitches to have a two-way before he makes his entrance, rounding it out with a good ol’ “hey!”. For all the songs that bring Gunna along, this one is definitely the most engaging.

Young Thug Reveals "Slime Language" Tracklist Ft. Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Baby & More

It’s finally coming. Young Thug’s upcoming project Slime Language is just around the corner and fans have been eagerly waiting for the rapper to drop the project. Over the past few weeks, he’s unveiled details surrounding the project in a unique manner. The rapper shared several the features on the project with notable hip hop publications and bloggers as well as gifting them a pet snake. With the project just around the corner, Young Thug decided to share the ficial tracklist.

Young Thug already revealed that there will be a slew features on the project. The Slime Language tracklist only includes two solo tracks from Thugger, “Tsunami” and “Gain Clout.” Every other track features at least one guest appearance. Gunna holds down the most features as he appears on four tracks including “Dirty Shoes,” “Chanel (Go Get It)” alongside Lil Baby, “Chains Choking Me” and “Scoliosis” with Duke. Gunna, Hidoraah and Duke all have more than one appearance on the project. Additionally, Karlae, also appears on the tracklist as well as Tracy T, Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Keed, Jacquees, Trapboy Freddie, Strick, Dolly and Nechie. Peewee Roscoe is also on the project, although Thug did not reveal which song he’s on.

Slime Language is due out tomorrow. Peep the tracklist below.

1. Tsunami
2. U Ain’t Slime Enough Ft. Karlae & Duke
3. Gain Clout
4. Oh Yeah Ft. Hidoraah
5. Audemar Ft. Tracy T
6. Chanel (Go Get It) Ft. Gunna & Lil Baby
7. Dirty Shoes Ft. Gunna
8. It’s A Slime Ft. Lil Uzi Vert
9. Goin Up Ft. Lil Keed
10. January 1st Ft. Jacquees & Trapboy Freddy
11. Chains Choking Me Ft. Gunna
12. STS Ft. Strick
13. Expensive Ft. Hidoraah & Dolly
14. Slimed In Ft. Nechie

Young Thug Reveals "Slime Language" Tracklist Ft. Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Baby & More

A Complete Catalogue Of Young Thug Leaks From 2018

Young Thug is one the most prolific artists our time. His relentless work ethic from 2012-2015 propelled him to the front his class as he effectively ran laps around both his peers and his mentors. However, after the crippling hard-drive dump that stalled Thug’s rising stock in 2015, Thug had to regroup with his camp in order to make sure such a massive leak would never again be possible. The following two years saw a new, more refined Thugger – Jeffrey as it were – where the emphasis was entirely on his increasingly sparse projects, and less on his tendencies to be a renegade.

Unfortunately, 2018 has already seen more Young Thug leaks than the past two years combined; the silver lining here is that a majority these tracks are clearly old, meant to gather dust in his unfathomably expansive vault. As Thug preps Slime Language, the YSL compilation album that may be dropping this week, the 28 leaks listed below should do more than satiate your hunger for some new Thugger. Consider this list for cataloguing purposes, we’ll leave it up to you to hunt for these rare gems. Good luck.



“I think my idol is a hater.” Rumored to be a scrapped Lil Wayne diss circa-2015 (Wayne is the only person Thug has ever referred to as his “idol”), this leak, produced by London on Da Track, sees Thug toying with an ostensibly anonymous target over an ominous beat that, at its climax, devolves into a demented build up guitars, bird calls, and heavy metal inspired vocals. This is the epitome belittling your opponent; not a real diss but a warning shot that was thankfully never necessary. At one point he even screeches that he’ll “Rick Ross y’all”– take that as you may.

“Yes Indeed (Big Ol’ Blood)”

There’s an old snippet  this song where a blonde-haired, septum-pierced Thugger is casually delivering a triple time sixteen in under 22 seconds. Once one Young Thug’s most anticipated snippets ever, “Yes Indeed” makes a strong case for 2015 being Thug’s peak. Nowadays he’s more straightforward, more readily digestible, but back then? Thugger was a true enigma. This track features some his most deadly flows and is further pro that London On Da Track is his consummate producer.

“Give You More”

A Rich Gang era leak jam-packed with all the cartoonish tics that originally made him a one–one talent. It’s hard to overstate just how sublime Thug’s melodies were during his formative years; “Give You More” serves as a quick crash course for the uninitiated

“By Myself”

Not to be confused with “Myself” or “Do it By Myself,” this is a relatively unknown leak produced by 808 Mafia. Although it’s fleeting, this is a brief glimpse at Slime Season meets Jeffrey, his old tricks being upgraded with a brand new sheen.

“Family Don’t Matter (OG)”

We’re not sure how Thug found Millie Go Lightly, but this demo version the intro to Beautiful Thugger Girls makes a great case for her talents. Millie elevates this admittedly solid reference track to a whole new level, allowing Thug to set the tone for the numerous pop ballads to follow. 

“Say My Name (feat. Dae Dae)”

We’re not entirely sure if this is a leak, but it can’t be found on any major streaming platforms. Thug’s opening passage sports a whiplash flow that would make it the best verse on any other song. But, because it’s Thugger, it’s the second verse on here that brings the house down. It’s Thug at his very best – undeniably dexterous wordplay and an inimitable flow that begs to be marveled.


It’s crazy to see how much Young Thug’s use auto-tune has developed since the days “Eww.” At times, the effect is pointed, purposefully contorting his vocals into something robotic and alien-like. But when it’s used like it is on “Ooou,” it merely adds a lush texture to his already pitch-perfect vocals. This leak – probably recorded sometime during 2017 – is a soaring ballad, full lustful declarations love, affectionate endearments that paint him as one the most romantic writers in rap (“I wanted to fuck you on the bleachers when we were in school/A n**** been dream, dream, dreamin’ on fuckin’ on you”). It also makes yet another case for London and Thug’s undeniable compatibility.

“Another Planet (feat. Lil Baby & Rylo)”

While both Lil Baby and Rylo hold their own on this elusively catchy joint, it’s Thugger’s shapeshifting vocals that ultimately bring the track full circle.  

“Showed You OG (feat. Future)”

This is the OG version the track that eventually found a home on DJ Esco’s Kolorblind, complete with an updated beat and features from A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and Dej Loaf. This leak is the raw and uncut version with just Future and Thug flexing their respective pens.  

“Bust Down (feat. Meek Mill)”

At one point, snippets for this song were coming from every direction; Meek Mill and Thug aside, freakin’ James Harden was openly bumping this shit, teasing the rest us poor fools. Despite an odd sounding flaw in the beat (potentially an audio watermark by the leaker), the song entirely lives up to expectations. Thug matches Meek’s defiant energy in the best way possible – by channeling the Harambe voice to bewildering effect.

“Sake My Kids (In It For Love)”

A rough version this leak, comprised various snippets, has been floating around for a few years now. However, it’s a blessing to finally hear this incessantly teased joint in all its glory (“225 for the Stingray, that’s if you know biology” is one Thug’s best aquatic-life themed boasts to date).

“The World (I Know)”

Occasionally, Thug slips into a trance and channels the essence peak Lil Wayne, updating and refining the stylistic tics his idol for the present day. “I know the world against me,” he croons, until “against me” starts sounding like “gimmick.” It’s an indictment on the fake, the phony, the fraud – amidst a world copycats and biters, Thug feels like he’s the only true heir to the rap throne left vacant by Wayne’s premature departure.

“Fire Drill” 

“Fire Drill” is a prime example just how easily Thug conjures up then subsequently discards potential hits. Never self-serious, Thug’s playful nature has always been one his greatest assets.

“Hello Hello (feat. Gunna & Neechie)”

It’s probably safe to assume that before creating songs like “Oh Okay,” Thug and his YSL artists cycle through a bunch in-studio exercise like this one. Work ethic and craftsmanship is a cornerstone his label and Thug comfortably slips into the the role mentor when it comes time to guide Gunna and Neechie.

“Money Turning Me On (All Da Smoke OG)”

One the coolest things about Thug’s prolificacy during his formative years was his tendency to reuse verses he’s committed to memory, delivering them in new and original ways in order to match the beat at hand. It never felt like you were getting cheated – quite the opposite, actually. As he’s reeled back his output, these glimpses into his approach to songwriting became less frequent. This leak repurposes his contributions to Super Slimey highlight “All Da Smoke,” while also gifting us with an unheard first verse.


“Breathe” is one the best Thug songs to leak this year. The vocals are euphoric, the beat is exuberant, and Thug’s tempers his usual bravado with disarmingly touching lyrics (“You a diamond in the rough!”). On this one, Thug goes out his way to rekindle a dying love with pleas for patience and compassion.

“Slide By”

Thug’s ability to craft alternative dance, electronic, and EDM influenced vibes is ten underrated. His suggestive lyrics (“If you think I’m gay you can come check my dick/if you think I’m sweet, I’ll let you take a lick”), animated tone, and elastic vocal performances always make for some unexpectedly infectious jams.

“Parking Lot (feat. Duke)”

Thug and Duke have been a powerhouse duo since the jump and this relatively unheard leak is one their best collaborative efforts to date. Hard to believe right? Don’t take our word for it, head to Youtube and confirm for yourselves. 

“Lil Bitty”

The track takes f sprinting and Thug doesn’t even waste a second to catch his breath. We’re not sure when this was recorded, but it gives f some crazy 2015 vibes. From the free-form singing to the explosive hook, it’s all we’ve come to expect and grown to love about the blonde-haired oddball from another planet.

“My Bitches Love Me (feat. Migos)”

We’re not sure how else to say this: PLEASE GIVE US MIGOTHUGGIN. Their chemistry has always been undeniable and hopefully these recent detours into rap super stardom will only fuel their desire to create something special together down the line. The hook on this leak is only a small taste the chart-dominating hits Thugger and Quavo could potentially whip up.

“Whole Lot OG (feat. 21 Savage)”

Despite declaring that his debut album would have no features, 21 Savage still kept Thug’s background vocals on this penultimate track. This leaked reference sees Thug searching for untapped pockets while conjuring up the very ad libs that would remain on the album version.

“Other Speed (feat. Gunna & Duke)”

This track is more or less YSL messing around in the studio. As expected, the results are still entertaining.

“Signs OG (feat. Drake)”

After Thug’s features on More Life, it’s clear that Drake understands Thugger’s versatility. “Signs” seems to come from those very sessions. Thug’s exotic inflection is a ready fit for Drake’s repurposed island vibes, and his great vocal range allows him to completely upstage his colleague.

“Upscale (Drip OG) (feat. Quavo & Future)”

Presumably an early demo what eventually became Cardi B’s “Drip,” Thug’s abrupt whispering on here would make the Ying Yang Twins proud. 

“Money Shot”

The snippets prior to this song tease a missing verse, as well as an additional verse from 21 Savage, but the leaked version has more than enough one-liners to hold us over until the full version drops. The verse that we did get sees Thug in punchline mode, making the whole thing play like one long quotable.

“Whole Lot (feat. Migos, Lil Yachty & Duke)”

This is another leak whose snippets betray a missing Thug verse. Still, the leaked version is great as is and makes us nostalgic for the days when MigoThuggin felt like a real possibility.

“I’m On (feat. NBA Youngboy)”

NBA Youngboy is a rising star that openly accepts Thug as one his foremost influences. And although he shines on this recently unearthed collaboration, it’s the exquisite vibrato in Thug’s voice that ultimately steals the show. Thug’s vocals alone should be enough to make every current R&B artist trash their forthcoming EP.

“Barbie (Love Me) (feat. Gunna)”

“Barbie” is the most recent Young Thug leak and is coincidentally the only leak that sounds like it was actually recorded this year. Where the rest these are at least a year old (some even a few years older than that), this beautiful collab with Gunna sounds fresh out the studio. It’s a shame this one got out, considering it could’ve made a perfect follow up to Drip Season 3’s “King Kong”. On here, we get a brief but powerful glimpse at the continued development Thug’s ever-eccentric vocals, as his well as a taste some newly discovered harmonies.

Young Thug Reveals "Slime Language" Tracklist With An Actual Snake

Young Thug has once again decided to revert to his reptilian ways. While some have already speculated that the man was indeed a lizard-person, Thugger has added fuel to the speculative fire with his brilliant tracklist reveal. XXL reports that Thug hit them with a gift unlike any other, sending the fices an actual snake, delivered courtesy two trained reptile handlers. Not only did the publication receive an exotic present, but the new pet also came equipped with the tracklist for Thug’s upcoming Slime Language. 

Cut from a similar cloth as the iconic Jeffery, it would appear that Thugger has once again named his songs after those he values; in this case, there’s a likely chance he named his ferings after their appropriate featured artists:

1. “Gunna”
2. “Lil Duke”
3. “Hidoraah”
4. “Dolly”
5. “Lil Keed”
6. “Lil Uzi Vert”
7. “Tracy T”
8. “Jacquees”
9. “Strick”
10. “Nechie”

While interesting in theory, some might call the gift somewhat a “white elephant.” For those unawares, a “white elephant” stems from ancient times, when a sacred “white elephant” was among the rarest and most valuable gifts one can receive. Unfortunately, the beast is considered to be so high maintenance that one must dedicate all time and money to maintaining its upkeep. Beautiful, to be sure, but which the XXL staff writers are looking to step up for cricket duty?

Have We Let Young Thug Down?

It’s 2018 and we’ve yet to receive a studio debut from Young Thug. First teased circa-2013, HiTunes feels more and more like this decade’s Detox with each passing commercial mixtape and collaborative project. Now, after last year’s solo tape, Beautiful Thugger Girls, and joint effort with Future, Super Slimey, Thug seems to gearing up for yet another diversion from the main course. Slime Language, *ficially* confirmed as the -next- Thug release, is sure to be an exciting display the rapidly burgeoning YSL roster, but at what cost? With every passing album cycle, is Thugger solidifying himself as a generational talent, or is he simply being erased from the mainstream narrative? This begs another question, is he being erased or doing the erasing?

Young Thug’s level influence on the current wave popular rappers depends on your perspective his original rise from 2011-2015. At this specific point in time, many are treating Thug’s impact on an “if you know, you know,” case-by-case basis – unwittingly turning him into The Velvet Underground for his generation. It’s a powerful position in-the-know reverence and far-reaching influence that ten comes at the cost  immediate commercial success or widespread critical consensus. Meaning, although Thug may receive critical acclaim and adulation in spurts, the true impact his work may never be accurately gauged. And this age-old issue with giving one their just dues is only exacerbated in this era flippancy – in this era white chicks that tote AKs while dissing Snoop Dogg, it’s important to keep an accurate account rap lineage and history in its various forms.

I know we’re all proud how far Jeffrey’s come; it’s a rags to riches tale unlike any other, filled with Shakespearean levels grandeur. Betrayal and heartbreak – in the form t-misguidedbeefs and a very public relationship with ex-fiance Jerrika Karlae – take center stage against a backdrop fame and fortune. He not only exposed core insecurities within music listeners – forcing them to question their sensibilities with every flamboyant photoshoot – his music was a bewildering mixture unfiltered street rap and abstract associative wordplay. He sounded like Ol’ Dirty Bastard on helium with the charisma Biggie and the swagger Hot Boyz-era Lil Wayne. Textured harmonies, acrobatic vocal stylings and an endless pit imaginative lyrics propelled Thugger to the top his class. And since stepping into the spotlight, he’s only continued to expand his skillset and refine his artistry; Jeffrey sounds closer to a Best Muddy Waters playlist than a rap mixtape. Beyond all the showmanship, it was Young Thug’s raw talent that ultimately pierced through the fabric the culture and it was his consistency thereafter that made him undeniable.

Have We Let Young Thug Down?

Young Thug and his children: Lil Baby and Gunna performing together in Atlanta. Paras Griffin/Getty s.

In a world false paradigms, Young Thug became a reassuring constant. But it was a grind to get there: I Came From Nothing dropped in the summer 2011, when I was still in high school. I wouldn’t even hear about the new-age ATLien for at least another 24 months. Take a second to imagine the series events that elapsed during the summers ‘11, ‘12, ‘13…if we consider that Thug didn’t have his breakout year until 2014, that would mean that his rise was parallel to those Drake, Kendrick, J. Cole, Childish Gambino, Chief Keef, Future and so many more. Often, the conversation surrounding talent during those years was eclipsed by the rise these stars.

Sure, Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan and that dude on the West Coast – YG, or something – were starting to become well-known names, but it would be years before they received any sort recognition for their influence (if ever, in the unfortunate case Quan). When Thug first started popping, the old heads who dictated rap media – *cough* Peter Rosenberg *cough* – barely recognized a Travis Scott, let alone the contemporaries Travis was biting from. Now, these same personalities are the ones claiming Scott to be the greatest innovator this generation, retroactively painting Kid Cudi as a messiah and so forth.

All this is fine – there’s enough credit to go around – but it’s done in poor taste when the legacy equally important figures are dismissed because they aren’t part the mainstream narrative (at the moment). The same was happening with Gucci Mane until he underwent a purposeful re-branding. All this to simply reiterate the idiom: we should give people their flowers while they can still smell them.

Coming up under Gucci Mane, Birdman and T.I., Thug has always been a rapper’s rapper and an artist’s artist. It wasn’t just Drake and Kanye turning up to “Danny Glover” in the club, A$AP Yams was obviously on to him early. Childish Gambino was doing interviews where he tried to put people onto “Eww.” Danny Brown wouldn’t stop tweeting about him. Swae Lee (who recently called Thug one the best hook-writers this generation) was making dance videos to “Pull Up On A Kid” with SheLovesMeechie and I swear I remember A$AP Rocky bumping Slime Season 2 on Periscope that November – just like everyone else. Nowadays, it’s Chance the Rapper that’s calling Young Thug one his biggest influences.

To date, he’s gotten cosigns from – *clears throat and adjusts Cartier lenses* – Kendrick Lamar, Isaiah Rashad, Jay-Z, Elton John, Wyclef Jean, Andre 3000, Killer Mike, Meek Mill, Juelz Santana, Usher, Erykah Badu. I would keep going but we wanted to publish this today. 

But, with all things considered, why will Barter 6 and Rich Gang: Tha Tour, Pt. 1 only be considered cult classics? How come “Stoner,” “Lifestyle,” “Best Friend” and “Pick Up The Phone” will be neatly filed away as minor-to-major hits while the astounding amount high-quality songs to be found in leaks will sooner or later be shrugged f as “incoherent” or “inconsistent” or some other equal falsehood? It’s hard not to be cynical when the collective memory social media is paradoxically somewhere between that an elephant and a goldfish. We have access to real, verifiable history, so we choose to be flippant about the present? It’s a perplexing position we’ve put ourselves in, but it’s ultimately by choice. We got here by being woefully dismissive about the history a culture we claim to love – Statik Selektah was trying espouse much the same advice in the most recent episode 47 Minutes Podcast with Joey Bada$$.

At its core, this could all be a symptom one thing: we, as fans, didn’t truly engage with Thug’s work. Or we did so in a wholly personal manner that made him part our palette yet never properly introduced him to the rest the world. As a culture, we need to stop playing with Jeffrey’s name and put some long overdue respect on his artistry. “My last two years were the worst ones in my career, but I’m still rich as you,” Thug raps on the new Lil Baby album, uncharacteristically self-pitying – even Thug himself would tell you he’s partly to blame for the wayward trajectory his career. It’s not just 300 Entertainment’s fault, nor is it Birdman’s, nor is it the infamous leaks. Like with most things in life, this increasingly prevalent debate doesn’t have a clear cut answer. If you believe you have the answer to the increasingly dreary question, “What happened to Young Thug’s career,” let us know – seriously.

It could be the fact that many fans Thugger now were not necessarily early, or even on time, to the party. Even I was significantly late. But we can’t use that subconscious frustration with not getting to enjoy the coveted feeling finding something rare by subsequently devaluing the meaning the very word. No one is saying someone can’t genuinely like Lil Baby more than Young Thug – there is no point in trying to cut through the thick weeds preference in search some objective answer, especially when we’re dealing with an artist as versatile as Thug. What we can do, however, is make sure that his impact and lineage is well-documented.

Like, for example, let’s keep in mind that Baby was literally just a close friend Thug’s that never considered rapping until about a year ago (you can see him here, in the studio with Thug, nearly half a year before his first song – “Rider” with Thugger – would drop). Same with Gunna, to a lesser degree. It’s Jeffrey’s active role in curating their styles that has catapulted them to the top their class. And while they’ve mastered about two Thug’s flows,  SEX has quietly been in the hyperbolic time chamber, working on a solid three dozen more. The benefit Thug’s tutelage is starting to speak for itself, but so is the sheer irreplaceability his work in a sea potential copycats. What if Lil Baby’s debut selling nearly 10x as much as Thug’s is a testament to just how much the latter broke through the industry? It’s a rhetorical question because Thug’s clearly paved a path for certain artists, but it’s also partly asked in earnest because we’re looking for any way to defend his uncertain career trajectory.

Despite the fact that he was just on a #1 Childish Gambino song after just having secured his first #1 as a feature on Camila Cabello’s “Havana,” there’s an air disbelief surrounding Thug’s current ability to remain an influential facet the culture. Despite the fact that it’s his ad-libs that are being bitten, his flows that are being repurposed, and his day one producers that are running the game (Metro Boomin, London On Da Track, Wheezy), the public seems eager to write him f. It’s not the role the artist community to propel each other to reverence – the burden doling out respect, or, at the very least, recognition, has always been on the fans. And – if his solo mixtape sales are any indication – we may have let Thug down, numerous times. 

In fact, the artists who are currently wearing their Young Thug influences most openly are actually the ones being rewarded! Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty, Kodak Black, Sahbabii, Playboi Carti, Ski Mask The Slump God, Tekashi 69, XXXTentacion  – Lil Tracy, close friend SoundCloud icon who recently passed away, Lil Peep, was just recently tweeting about wanting to be YSL in the midst dropping his own Beautiful Thugger Girls-inspired bangers.

At the start his career, a pensive and guarded Thug would have you believe he grew up on a steady diet Lil Wayne and nothing else. Of course, over the years, we’ve seen him showcase a deep appreciation from everyone from Fugees to Fun, everyone from Tupac to Monica feed Thug’s ever expanding palate. His own local influences can’t be ignored as well – from the Rich Kidz to Future. It’s this very eccentricity that has allowed his own music to influence so many different artists in so many different ways.

There should be no shame in gleaning inspiration from your contemporaries – we just need to be honest with each other. There’s an argument to be made for the fact that Travis Scott has always leaned heavily into a YoungThuginfluence he’s never outwardly spoken about. Future got burnt out and then took Thug under his wing to reinvigorate himself. Kodak did nothing but listen to Super Slimey on IG Live and tried freestyling his own tracks for six straight months (we wish he would go back to writing). Rihanna was in the studio with Thug back in 2015, The Weeknd caught on a little bit later and, if we had to guess, we’re pretty sure that Frank Ocean’s love for Thug probably supersedes all theirs. 

Each era Young Thug has made its mark on a sect popular rappers and, nowadays, pop artists in general. There are numerous family trees to explore when it comes to rap; from the Zulu Nation to the Dungeon Family, a lineage any given rapper can be traced back to a handful founders and a few dozen innovators. While his label, YSL, may not be there quite yet, over the past half decade, Young Thug at least managed to cement himself as one the most influential acts in contemporary art.

In our quest to re-capture lightning in a bottle, have we become too dismissive what Young Thug still has to fer? With the breadth his narrative and the proven strength his songwriting, the best is surely yet to come, right? Disagree? Sound f below!

But no matter what we believe, let’s all agree to actually stream/purchase Thug’s next mixtape so we can finally get HiTunes, okay?