"1 Listen Album Reviews" have become an event here at DJBooth. We look forward to the exhausting exercise, trying to simultaneously capture our thoughts while hearing an album for the first time without stopping is the closest we'll ever get to playing a sport. Readers get our gut reaction, a pure perspective. Young Thug’s Barter 6, the closest thing we've gotten to a "real album" from Thug yet, has been assigned to me, and I’m afraid. He’s eccentric, unintelligible, the closest to a rhyming Martian since…Lil Wayne.
Controversy follows him like a shadow, from pictures on Instagram, his choice of slang, naming the album after Wayne’s acclaimed Carter series, being naked on his album cover, his every move incites dialogue, and all eyes are on Thugger. The artist that mirrored his entire style and image after Lil Weezy went from Gucci Mane’s studio floor and has now been firmly snatched up by Birdman’s golden talons. For a kid that grew up wanting nothing more than to be a part of the Cash Money Empire, Thug is stuck between a dream and a nightmare. His idol rejects him while having the same mentor that raised his favorite rapper. Deep down, I want to see him do a "Fly In Intro" and a "Fly Out Outro." Announce himself as the new “Birdman JR”, or Thugger F. Baby. Deliver an album that warrants the months of chatter. Go hard or go home. We shall see.
Full disclosure: There’s a hole in my kitchen wall. Why? Drunken uproar. Ridiculous mayhem. Pandemonium. So while I'll do my best to follow 1 Listen rules - once I press play I can't pause, rewind of leave my keyboard - if I stop it’s to assist the friend that’s currently laying some fresh sheetrock.
Birdman on the first record, interesting. Thug really channels Wayne when he was at his most brilliantly inebriated. I like his slow flow, he sounds good across minimalistic production. It’s hilarious how Birdman has been rapping the same verse for the last five years. He has to be pushing 50, can we get a birth certificate? I like how Thug seamlessly switches between rapping and singing, his style is unorthodox. This intro isn’t bad, it’s definitely a bit different than his more eccentric stuff. There is a hilarious growl when he calls himself a beast. Birdman is my favorite poet. Haikus on fleek.
London on the Track? High expectations. Thug using the Migos signature flow, but on tracks like this he sounds like the originator. I’m loving the production, it’s syrupy and hazy, like being in a trap version of outer space. I feel like there’s an uncredited feature. Who is that? I guess it doesn’t matter. They all sound alike. This one starts to feel fairly forgettable by the end.
This one features T.I and Boosie, let’s go! This is a slapper, energy is high and I’m liking T.I. guest features better than his albums lately. He floated. Young Thug hooks are some of the oddest in the game. He’s purposely slurring, I can hear him drooling on the beat. Oh, he’s killing it now, I need to hear this again. It’s a mind fuck trying to understand what he’s saying. I love how he is completely reckless. Thug doesn’t care if things make sense, and at times it sounds amazing. Boosie closing the record, delivering a solid performance. He’s came a long way. This one would get 3 stars on my iTunes.
Another London beat, I’m feeling this one more than "With That." He has a money on my mind line, homage to Tha Carter 2? Thugger is in his element. His style changes more than a Ditto. Entertaining, every verse is unpredictable. Will he rap? Will he sing? Will he drool? I can see why this was the single. It’s a really good record that displays Thugger’s better qualities. Hyperactive versus and a catchy hook. London really is churning out some knockers.
"Never Had It":
I should be more familiar with Young Dolph, does he like dolphins? I hope he likes dolphins. Thugger’s signature moan just about guarantees the song will be fire emojis. It’s like his bat signal. A Randy Savage reference is enough to bring this one back. You get lost in Thug’s versus, partially because you spend the entire time trying to understand them. There’s a lot of passion in his voice for this verse. I rarely can tell the verses from the hook. It all runs together. Dolph pays his tides with drug money, what’s 10% of a brick? He’s floating something serious. This is a keeper. Yeah, this guy doesn’t like dolphins, gangsters aren’t into aquatic animals.
Thug is displaying his golden vocals, Adele can stay on hiatus. Another solid song thus far, what’s a Yak Gotti? Yo Gotti’s nephew? Eh, not impressed by his addition. Not a fan of the hook, but Thug’s first verse was really solid. I can barely comprehend but he’s been consistent thus far. I’m just waiting to be amazed.
He’s howling to the moon, Duke sounds like a long lost Migo. Thug just used a Beyonce reference to call himself a bumblebee. Just know I’m currently feeling a little drowsy, all the production has the same trap vibe. Can we get Thug some soul samples?
He’s doing the mumbling rapping/crooning. Oh my god, he just made a sound like the cry of a cat drowning. I don’t even know how to define it. I need to rewind, can I make an exception? No? Ok, I’ve composed myself. Second verse is pretty good, he’s doing some alien crooning. Is he phoning home? Communicating with his brotherns? Third verse is hitting the pocket. He can actually rap, it’s the extra-ness that causes me to cringe. But that’s also what makes him Young Thug. I've spent this whole song both contemplating blowing my brains out and playing it again. Best kind of reaction.
Another interesting crooning introduction. Another unorthodox hook, but he shoots into the second verse like a missle. His energy makes up for needing a translator. This is a pretty good track, he just burped on the record. A tactic I would expect from Eminem. This album should be played during happy hour.
This is Thug’s mafia music. Birdman makes his grand return. This is probably the most life Birdman has showed since Like Father, Like Son. Thug’s adlibs are hilarious.
Young Thug is talking about his drug problems? Nah, only for a moment. I wonder if he really is worried about overdosing. R.I.P Mike Brown? I see you Thug. This is the only track where he seems conscious of his lyrics. Everything else is just a stream of randomness. Easily my favorite thus far. I wish he didn’t sing like a strangled moose. He’s in full blown serenade mode. Someone tell my mom I’m not ignoring her phone calls. He lost some points for the struggling singing, but this is a solid joint
Nice piano keys to start. Thug wants us to know he got ammo, noted. Future would be incredible on this, and that’s not a statement I make often. Could’ve done without this one.
"Just Might Be":
I made it to the ending alive! This isn’t "Fly Out," but let’s see how this ends. Thug said he’s happy, and he’s rapping with a nice enthusiasm. This is a record I would rewind. Energy, he raps like a kid having a sugar rush. Weird voice effect in the middle of his second verse, but that’s to be expected with him.
You know that feeling of coming off a turbulent plane, and wanting to kiss the ground? That’s how I feel after these reviews. To be honest, I like this album more than I expected to. The rapping isn’t the problem, it’s his singing and eccentric sounds that leaves me with Van Gogh thoughts. There’s a few moments where I can see him having a future in hip-hop. The same way Wayne bombarded the industry with his style, Thug could do the same. He has a monstrous energy that will catch you off guard. Thug is an acquired taste, his voice high pitched and his unconventional style can be repugnant. I once compared him to the mystery box on Mario Kart. He’s absolutely random, some songs he’s a bananas peel and others the blue shell.
He isn’t Wayne. He is the manifestation of Wayne’s influence on kids born after 1990. He wasn’t looking up to Biggie or Pac, it was The Hotboys and Lil Wayne that he admired. The same way that Tyler admired Pharrell more than Jay Z or Nas. I like that there’s rappers embracing their influences outside of the typical, traditional rappers. It’s not like everyone is approaching music this way, we have Joey Bada$$ and others like him preserving the early 90’s vibes. I don’t hear a hit quite like "Lifestyle," or a song that will have the impact of "Danny Glover," but Thug delivered a solid example of his capabilities. So will the Barter 6 fill the void for Carter V? Will Young Thug replace Lil Wayne? Find out next time.
PS: Disappointed by the lack of Rich Homie Quan.
[By Yoh, aka Increasingly Less Young Thug, aka @Yoh31]