Short & Brief: Punk is an about face for Hip Hop’s Maverick.

Illustration by Elijah Justice.

Originally written Monday, Oct. 18.

Punk

Young Thug (300 Entertainment / Atlantic Records)

Short & Brief: Punk, the second studio album, isn’t as high-off life as the Rap Rock Star’s discography is known to be. However, the darker tones, transparent themes, stripped-down production, and fanciful vocals lead its audience to a closer glimpse of Jeffery Williams the man — rather than Young Thug the Icon.

Now that my neatly wrapped take is done. Can we please delve into this masterful project?

As I prepared to encounter this album, Saturday morning, I asked myself, “will we ever have another Young Thug?”. One hour and a spotless apartment later, I had arrived at my resolution.

Surprisingly enough, the realization that the album is an hour-long did not deter me from pressing play.

There’s something about Young Thug that resonates. I’m not sure if it’s his unorthodox manner or what? But each time he releases music, I perceive it as an adventure, and I’m willing to ride shotgun every trip.

By the time “Stupid/ Asking” — track 3 —  played, I thought “Thugger did it again,” and by “it,” I mean give us eclecticism.

The album gives a taste of various sonic flavors. While the title assumes the position of rock n’ roll, it’s a misnomer, to say the least. Sonically, the album settles into an acoustic nook, offering a gentle side of Thug.

“Die Slow” is a fine introduction to the album, as we hear Young Thug stream his consciousness over a stripped-down production. The song feels like a conversation with Thug as he peels open the blinds of his mystique to let the light in briefly.

Known for his shock value, Thug leaves behind his extempore persona to delve deeper into story-telling. A craft he’s flashed us before.

If you recall, Beautiful Thugger Girls — released in 2017 —Thug peeled the blinds open on songs like “Daddy’s Birthday” (which I’ll reference again in this post), “Me or Us,” and “Family Don’t Matter” (feat. Millie Go Lightly).

Punk is very much so the maturated version of his 2017 release. Every intimate — campfire-esque — encounter on Beautiful Thugger Girls is intensified on this latest project.

The features on this album are spotless as the list involves J. Cole, Future, Post Malone, A$AP Rocky, Doja Cat, Nate Reuss — lead singer of Fun — and many others.

Punk also includes posthumous features from Juice WRLD and Mac Miller, which are easily alluring.

The beauty of art (in any form) is its pure essence. Its intrinsic ability to carry on beyond our earthly existence. The two post-obit features are a kind reminder of this truth as it was refreshing and, in some ways chilling to hear new content from both Mac and Juice WRLD.

As for my top 5 songs: I’m going, to be honest, I really don’t have a solid top 5. It has changed every single listen. Now, I can offer a list of songs that individually have made every list I’ve created. 

  1. “Droppin’ Jewels.”
  2. “Day Before” (feat. Mac Miller).
  3. “Stressed” (feat. J.Cole and T-Shyne).
  4. “Bubbly” (feat. Drake and Travis Scott).
  5. “Stupid/ Asking.”

There are no honorable mentions for this album, considering that 12 of the 20 songs would be listed.

With that being said, the tracklist begins to feel distracted mid-album and is quickly regathered at “Bubbly” (feat. Drake and Travis Scott).

The second half of Punk has some heavy-hitting tracks such as “Droppin Jewels”, “Day Before” (feat. Mac Miller), and “Love You More” (feat. Nate Ruess, Gunna, and Jeff Bhasker) which are among the elite tracks of the album.

Now, I told y’all I would return to “Daddy’s Birthday,” and here we are. “Droppin Jewels” has a similar likeness, in my opinion.

It’s the deep-cut you didn’t know you needed until your bones instantly agree with the first line. It’s the one track that sticks to your ribs, the one you can play and allow your mind to aimlessly wander its way to resolve.

Show me that I’m done
I’m finished here, but still no fear, yeah
Ain’t no more reminiscin’
Ain’t no more judgin’, no intuition
Tell me why I’m livin’
Why am I remaining here?

– Young Thug, “Droppin’ Jewels,” Punk.

I haven’t stopped listening to this song since I heard it Saturday, and every day I’m finding a new line that calls after me.

Today’s line was “you gotta go through this sh** here with your heart/ you can’t snooze on it,”– Young Thug.

The instrumentation of the album (and specifically this song)  is an element I can not let go of.

Thug’s voice can complement any genre, style, instrument — if it’s sonic — he can govern it.

I can easily see Punk being a contender for Best Album of the year. Its eclecticism soars above any other album that’s been released from a A-List rapper.

So back to the question I posed above. My answer is clear: there will never be another Thugger. 

He’s a maverick and a chameleon simultaneously. Never bound to the confinements of rap’s stereotypes. Thug exudes his authenticity in any room, no matter the crowd. He’s clear on who he is and what he offers.

His influence will live on through his discography and a laundry list of artists — both upcoming and A-List — he’s groomed, collaborated with , and written for.

However, his capabilities, competency, and downright genius will never be executed quite the same. 

He’s one of one.

-wordsmithbri

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