Music Review: Megan Thee Stallion – Fever

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Megan Thee Stallion


[300 Entertainment; 2019]

Rating: 4.5/5

We need to first give props to Three 6 Mafia. The type of club anthems so evident on Megan Thee Stallion’s Fever seem to come straight from the Memphis institution, the album acting like a monument to the unhinged 4 AM music solidified in Southern black culture. But she doesn’t merely ape Crunchy Black, Juicy J, and co (Juicy cameo notwithstanding). Rather, there’s an unhinged power in Megan’s forceful rapping about feminine authority, and it’s in part what makes Fever so enthralling.

But Fever’s success also hinges more simply on its chaotic energy. Browsing social media, “the summer of Megan” is held up as a standard to which artists can aspire: unconcerned toward the vapidity of others’ feelings, consistently wildin’ out, and bringing out the id through bangers perfectly suited for the warm weather. Even for homebodies, Megan imbues spaces with a sense of grandeur while capturing the essence of Houston rap through brute force, with a faux-blaxploitation cover to top it off.

Rap is an extrovert’s game, but the dynamism that Megan possesses is nearly unmatched. Her verses are absolutely electrifying, packing the heat she sponged up from her favorites like UGK, Project Pat, and Trina. Sprinkle a little Memphis here, some Miami bass there, and a bit of Houston swagger, and it’s a chemistry experiment gone horribly right. Besides Juicy J’s appearance as the approving forefather passing down the metaphorical torch, the only other guest on Megan’s wild ride is DaBaby. Their song, “Cash Shit,” is downright nasty, showcasing two rising rappers at the top of their game, with Megan giving disapproving sneers verse by verse and DaBaby bringing out his PornHub audition tape. (Their faces say it all.)

Megan Thee Stallion has thrown down the gauntlet with Fever, serving as an introduction to a new breed of down-South conqueror: a confident woman built for Instagram fame but steadfastly disciplined and technically excellent. The daughter of a former rapper, her ascendancy seems like destiny, in a way that even George R.R. Martin would think cliché. She’s on her Derrick Rose MVP season shit, smacking down naysayers with music undeniably accomplished, fully formed, and without blemish. This is the path of Megan Thee Stallion: destroyer of worlds, holder of the crown.

Young Thug delays Slime Language until tonight (boo!), clarifies that it’s a compilation (wtf!!)

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Young Thug turns 28 years old today. And you know what that means, right? Yep, it means that he is OLD. AS. SHIT. Seriously, that’s so fucking old! My god!! But hey, with age comes maturity, so rather than asking for a present, Atlanta’s Thuggiest has decided to give a present this year, and it just so happens to be the greatest present of all: a new project titled Slime Language, jam-packed with features from the likes of Gunna, Jacquees, Lil Uzi Vert, Tracy T, Duke, and many more. Unfortunately, it’s not the “studio debut” that many were reporting. A representative speaking to The FADER has clarified that it’s a “compilation project.”

Slime Language was expected at midnight, but as per usual, we got fucked over once again it didn’t pan out that way, leaving many fans waiting up until the wee hours of the morning making jokes on Twitter. It’s kind of a ritual at this point. Anyway, gotta treat our senior citizens right, so why don’t you mosey on down them internet tubes and “pre-save” or “pre-add” the project here. Happy birthday, Young Thug!

Slime Language tracklist:

01. Tsunami
02. U Ain’t Slime Enough Ft. Karlae & Duke
03. Gain Clout
04. Oh Yeah Ft. Hidoraah
05. Audemar Ft. Tracy T
06. Chanel (Go Get It) Ft. Gunna & Lil Baby
07. Dirty Shoes Ft. Gunna
08. It’s A Slime Ft. Lil Uzi Vert
09. 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 releases new EP Hear No Evil ft. Nicki Minaj, 21 Savage, Lil Uzi Vert

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Young Thug, rapper from Atlanta and lead actor opposite Diane Lane in romcom Under the Tuscan Sun (2003), has just dropped a new EP. It’s titled Hear No Evil, and it features guest spots from 21 Savage, Lil Uzi Vert, and Nicki Minaj. But you have to act quick, because the EP is out RIGHT NOW on 300 Entertainment! If it sells out there, try Atlantic Records! And I bet YSL Records would have some too! COOL!!

Hear No Evil follows last year’s Super Slimey mixtape (his joint project with Future) and solo album Beautiful Thugger Girls. Scroll down to watch the “sign language video” for “Anybody (ft. Nicki Minaj),” which was made in tribute to Thugger’s deaf brother.

Hear No Evil tracklist:

01. Anybody Ft. Nicki Minaj [Prod. Rex Kudo & Charlie Handsome]
02. Up Ft. Lil Uzi Vert [Prod. Southside]
03. Now Ft. 21 Savage [Prod. DJ Spinz]

Music Review: Young Thug – Beautiful Thugger Girls

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Young Thug

Beautiful Thugger Girls

[300 Entertainment; 2017]

Rating: 3.5/5

Rap has a curious tendency to be consumed by its influences. Twitter would have you believe that Beautiful Thugger Girls is in fact a country album largely because of a single yet prominently placed “yee-haw;” Thug himself announced the release as his “singing album,” an exciting proposition but essentially meaningless as a descriptor (and hence, a perfect press release). From all corners, there’s a persistent and pernicious resistance to any flexibility in what we think of as rap. As rap has permeated pop, it has accreted a function-first fandom — those in need of a clearly and consistently-defined soundtrack to turning up, whipping around, or lifting weights. At the same time, diehards are increasingly driven to stake claims about what is and isn’t real rap; while their positions vary (usually anchored by opinions of “old heads” or Lil Yachty), they rarely take a fully inclusive stance. Rap is a zero-sum genre, defined against itself as much as the rest of the musical landscape.

Beautiful Thugger Girls is a rap album, and a very good one at that. If genre descriptors are to have any meaning (their uselessness beyond broad, mutually-understood categorization notwithstanding), this is non-negotiable. Moreover, Young Thug is something of a synecdoche for rap at large, perhaps the single current figure of whom an appreciation is most essential — and, to many, sufficient — to convince yourself that you’re respectably entangled in rap goings-on (it’s him or Kendrick Lamar). A significant swath of Thug’s fandom was brought on board by his distinctly un-rapperly qualities — ostensibly progressive sexual politics, equal precedence of lyrics and exclamation, more-than-cursory coverage on Pitchfork. Wherever his stylistic eccentricities lead him, it’s central to Thug’s appeal that they adorn an underlying, intrinsic rap-ness — perhaps too much, to the point that an album without a thematic gimmick (a “singing album,” for example) would no longer cut it.

That aside, Young Thug has always done a remarkable job of satisfying the full breadth of his fanbase. The style of a particular song or project is more often than not a mere dalliance, woven together with the rest by the common thread of their creator. Being a Young Thug fan feels more like a subscription service than an album-by-album transaction, an act of patronage of the man’s mere existence so as to find out where he’ll go next. Correspondingly, Beautiful Thugger Girls is remarkable because of its Thugger-ness — it’s a clear step forward at the very moment that Thug-derivation is a particularly viable come-up (Sahbabii and Gunna, doubtlessly talented, will have to distinguish themselves at some point). With the exception of “Get High,” the Snoop Dogg feature that’s become a rite of passage for rising rappers, there’s not a song on here that could’ve appeared on anyone else’s album. The production remains distinctive while fitting largely within the trap idiom; 808 kicks, snares, and hi-hats lay a familiar framework upon which compelling studies of dancehall, power balladry, and the acoustic guitar are built — sometimes all at once. It’s only June, but I’m comfortable claiming that “You Said” will be the year’s most Renaissance Faire-appropriate rap instrumental.

There’s not a soul alive still listening to Young Thug for lyrical content, which is not a bad thing in and of itself. However, it has to be noted that Beautiful Thugger Girls marks the point at which his pure lyricism, absent an unimpeachable sense of melody and flow, has begun to detract from the project as a whole. There’s always been a certain pleasure to deciphering the massive free-associative leaps that explain some of Thug’s more bizarre lyrics, but words here seem to be present only in service of their delivery. It’s impossible not to consider how much the album could be improved were there anything worthwhile being said, especially in light of Thug’s earlier flashes in that arena (“Never been in pain/ I don’t know how love feel,” from Tha Tour’s “Freestyle,” remains the gold standard). I’m simply not at a point in my life where a “Suck me/ Fuck me” rhyme has anything to offer, even considering the tertiary (at best) priority of Thug’s lyrics.

For now, Beautiful Thugger Girls exists in stasis. There are no immediate conclusions to be drawn about Thug’s future plans, just as no sensible assessment of his prior work could have led us here. Young Thug’s trajectory more resembles a constellation than any sort of linear development, likely to continue resisting consideration as a complete body of work until its end. Instead, a new album from Thugger exists in — and overwhelms — the moment of its release, a last-known location about which all rap positions itself relative to Young Thug. Until the next one, at least.