Young Thug: Slime Season 2 first listen review – mystery, missed connections and confusion

The latest entry in the Halloween mixtapes parade comes from the rapper who’s brought a new strangeness to hip-hop

Halloween mixtapes are becoming an annual treat for hip-hop fans. Last year, Future released Monster, a cameo-loaded mixtape featuring Lil Wayne, with production by long-time collaborators such as Metro Boomin. Young Thug’s Halloween-timed Slime Season 2 follows the first Slime Season mixtape, which was released in September, and this is a similarly hefty effort, with appearances from his “husband” Rich Homie Quan and the Young Money patriarch, Birdman.

Like the first Slime Season, the second instalment is more surreal than macabre, with Young Thug crooning over tracks in the signature style that has been praised and ridiculed in equal measure. Don’t Know ft Shad Da God is one of the tape’s standouts and showcases exactly what people find intriguing about Thug. Produced by one of his go-to producers (London On Da Track), it features minor chords played on synths, forming an unnerving backing to allow Thug to sing the indecipherable chorus (Hannibal Buress calls this delivery “gibberish rap”), which reaches a crescendo with Thug straining out the lines: “I don’t know why, I don’t know why but I did.”

Those ideas of mystery, missed connections and confusion is all over the mixtape, from the artwork (Thug dangles from a puppeteer’s string à la Mario Puzo’s The Godfather) to tracks like Hey, I, which moves from lines about complex love lives to Thug’s penchant for buying diamonds for his lovers. The roster of producers is impressive, from Metro Boomin and London On Da Track to Wheezy and Southside, who is one of a line of beatmakers from Atlanta’s PatchWerk studios – the group that, arguably, has helped to shape the sound of contemporary hip-hop more than any other collective.

The production team rarely move the music out of first gear. Every track is low-slung and melancholic. Thug manages to sound like a spurned lover on She Notice, even as he gives a very detailed account of receiving oral sex. On the rare occasion things step up, such as on the EDMesque Phoenix, he creates an ode to having children by different mothers, while casually dropping in the line:“Grab that dick eight ways like an octopus.” It’s an odd mix, that is, at times, just as much funny-peculiar as it is funny-haha, with Thug treading the same line between tragedy/comedy as predecessors Kool Keith and Lil B.

That out-there approach means that even when he opts for something seemingly more straightforward on tracks such as Twerk It, the chorus is offset by a verse in which Thug reels off all his different personality traits (“I’m going to mix shit up like a liger”). For those who swear by Thug’s output as if he’s some sort of rap saint, this will be gospel; for those waiting to be converted, this will probably make them more secular than ever.

Contributor

Lanre Bakare

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Kendrick Lamar's Untitled Unmastered: 'The work of someone who's in it for the long haul' – first-listen review
Kendrick Lamar’s surprise release doesn’t compromise on his artistic vision, but suggests he’s viewing the world even more bleakly

Alexis Petridis

04, Mar, 2016 @3:27 PM

Article image
Dr Dre – Compton first listen review: 'This is not someone coasting on reputation'
Compton: A Soundtrack by Dr Dre has been delayed for so long even hardcore fans might have had doubts. But it’s a stunning comeback that cements the rapper’s place in history

Andrew Emery

07, Aug, 2015 @7:12 AM

Article image
David Bowie's Blackstar album: 'An unexpected left turn that deepens the mystery' – first-listen review
Blackstar doesn’t carry quite the same element of surprise as The Next Day – but it is the sound of an unknowable artist steadfastly ignoring his own past

Alexis Petridis

18, Dec, 2015 @12:01 AM

Article image
Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment - Surf first listen review: Chance the Rapper goes psych
The surprise sort-of follow-up to Acid Rap is an emotional, complex and boundary-pushing enterprise with a starry hip-hop cast

Lanre Bakare

29, May, 2015 @4:16 PM

Article image
Jay-Z's Magna Carta Holy Grail – a first-listen review

Our man takes a track-by-track run through the new Jay-Z album to offer his first thoughts on one of the hip-hop events of the year

Alex Macpherson

04, Jul, 2013 @2:23 PM

Article image
Rihanna's Anti: one to scare casual fans – first listen review
Rihanna’s eighth studio album limped out on Wednesday night after a shambolic buildup – and it marks a new direction for her

Michael Cragg

28, Jan, 2016 @7:55 AM

Article image
The playlist: the best hip-hop of 2015 – with Drake, Young Thug and Kendrick Lamar
It was a banner year for hip-hop, with pop smashes and an era-defining album. Here’s the pick of the year’s music

Lanre Bakare

29, Dec, 2015 @11:00 AM

Article image
Nicki Minaj – The Pinkprint first-listen review: 'She has no idea what her strengths are'
Nicki Minaj’s new album has leaked – and first impressions suggest it’s more than a bit underwhelming

Alex Macpherson

12, Dec, 2014 @3:14 PM

Article image
Kendrick Lamar: To Pimp a Butterfly first-listen review – an ambitious, at times overwhelming album
Kendrick Lamar’s new album reaches for the heights – and more often than not it attains them

Alex Macpherson

16, Mar, 2015 @7:57 PM

Article image
Young Thug: Jeffery review – inconsistent but worth persevering
Appellations and hype notwithstanding, Thug’s latest brings gems on unconventional beats, alongside run-of-the-mill, sex-boast trap fodder

Lanre Bakare

31, Aug, 2016 @12:21 PM