Many years have gone by the arrival of Young Thug in the world music scene, but despite the hundreds of songs released and the dozens of projects distributed, his name has never been among the superstars and the top of the charts. Let us be clear, he has always been respected by everyone and as they say, he’s like ‘the favorite rapper of your favorite rapper’ but he has never made the same success towards the general public.
Before the new album success, we always asked ourselves: what’s the problem with Young Thug? He has hits, a unique style and he never gets boring. Thugga is, without doubt, one of the most eccentric artists to ever pick up a mic. He practically invented the current sound of Atlanta’s Hip-hop. He’s been featured at some of the biggest art events in the world. He defies all hip-hop’s norms wearing dresses and women clothing (his Jeffery album dress ended up in the Boston Museum of fine arts). Thugga is one of the most influential rappers of the last decade but despite his talent and his constant innovations, he’s not nearly as successful as his peers or his own unoriginal protegees.
Talent isn’t enough
In 2013, Young Thug released 1017 Thug, a crackling warning shot of a mixtape that promised the Atlanta rapper as hip-hop’s latest, greatest talent. Since then, he’s been a man of innovation, living in a state between love and hate, ordainment and dismissal. Universally recognized as preternaturally talented, but without the clear commercial dominance that would follow in a perfect world, it seemed like more writers, insiders, and artists have talked about Young Thug’s superstardom than people who have actually streamed Young Thug’s last three projects.
The problem is simple: listeners wanted more from, and for, Thug. That means the complaints are numerous and difficult to follow. His later mixtapes (I’m Up, Slime Season 3) didn’t sound enough like his earlier mixtapes (Barter 6, Slime Season); the albums were too conceptual (My Beautiful Thugger Girl); the full-length duets were either too ahead of their time (Rich Gang:Tha Tour Pt. 1) or creatively empty (Super Slimey). His fans kept leaking his music, which seemed to eternally delay his proper official album.
Compared to peers like Future, Travis Scott and Migos, no one felt like Thug was living up to his potential. Why that was remained up for debate: Perpetual leaks, rumored mismanagement by his label 300 Entertainment, a fickle fanbase, a shifting artistic viewpoint from the Atlanta rapper who had all the potential in the world, but rarely could string that together for a full-length project. Besides this, another big reason could be his transcendent eccentricity. His style is far away from the street world and from what is usually expected by rappers. In fact, Gunna and Lil Baby, who are roughly a copy-paste but with a masculine style, were able to blow up immediately and with their project Drip Harder, they exceeded the sales of each Thugga’s record before So Much Fun.
So Much Fun
This year, though, slowly and methodically, Young Thug started moving like the superstar so many complained he’d never be. In late May, he released ‘The London’. featuring J. Cole and Travis Scott, a proper, star-studded single. The song peaked at Number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, Thug’s highest-charting single as a lead artist.
And finally, his official record has arrived. A few weeks ago, So Much Fun has been released. As a body of work, So Much Fun lives up to its name and then some. To be clear: Young Thug has always had fun, even during the “Why isn’t Young Thug a superstar yet?” era that began in 2016. But on SMF, we find a version of Thug who has never been more joyful. The album moves at a pace only Thug could set, a rhythm that captures the uniqueness of his eccentric style without any overwhelming elements.
So Much Fun is a long album, but its length doesn’t mean it isn’t an engaging listen. There isn’t a single moment where Thug is dull, bored, or sounds out of place. The Atlanta rapper has fallen short of his greatness on previous projects, but there are no harsh stumbles on So Much Fun.
The most endearing quality of So Much Fun is Young Thug’s focus. He sounds like an artist who actually cares about delivering a full experience. One only he could give. From that perspective, So Much Fun is a success. Finally, after countless delays, Young Thug has delivered a debut worth the wait.
With So Much Fun, Thug has achieved the impossible. The album satisfies longtime fans and newcomers. Thugger succeeds in finding his old spark on So Much Fun because he didn’t try to recreate the Slime Season sound. As fans, we should want our favorite artists to grow, and come to terms with the fact that their old selves are relics of the past. But when an artist successfully turns back the clock and revives the sound and energy that made you a fan in the first place? It’s so, so much fun.
If you haven’t yet, you can stream So Much Fun below.