I know I'm legally obligated under Rap Blogger Code, Section 4 to choose a side in the great Young Thug internet war, but truthfully I'm Switzerland. I don't think he's the greatest musical genius since Mozart and I don't think he's a harbinger of hip-hop doom. I don't feel any particular need to prop him up, or convince anyone to stop listening to him. I dig the occasional song, but I have a hard time making it through an entire Thug album front to back.
I'm starting to suspect I'm actually part of a silent majority, so write this review for us. The people who aren't super fans but don't need to be convinced to listen either. Is the entire album worth my time, or can I just listen to a couple standouts and call it a day? Any lines that are going to be quoted on Twitter and I need to know to get the reference? Any bigger takeaways I should understand.
Godspeed sir, you're doing the Lord's work.
I think I speak for the Internet when I say that if you don’t think Young Thug is the second coming of Jesus you're a hater, and if you enjoy his music in the slightest you are a certified bootygoon directly contributing to the destruction of hip-hop.
In all seriousness, though, hip-hop is doing just fine and your neutrality is completely understandable, even if I personally think you should ante up on your appreciation of Thugger. He’s one of the most fascinating figures in the landscape of popular culture, a man who lives off gummy worms and molly, writes smash hits in 10 minutes and has absolutely no interest in your perception of what music should sound like.
Now that you've opened yourself up to the prospect of enjoying Young Thug's music, a stupid but actual hurdle that exists for some, let's talk about the music. Thug’s biggest problem has always been his inability to sacrifice quantity for quality. His earlier projects had flashes of brilliance, but they were often sandwiched between efforts that were cringe-worthy at best. Thug continued to fine-tune his sound and approach and better realize the promise of his genius, but while he would reach new heights with Rich Gang: The Tour, Barter 6 and Slime Seasons 1 and 2, the projects suffered from considerable runtimes that overshadow the gems and unnecessarily bogged down the final product. Singles like “Halftime,” “Best Friend,” “Again” and “Hercules” were some of the best from last year, yet they were housed in projects that stretched on for too long.
Is the album worth your time? Absolutely. Like I’m Up, an EP Thugger unleashed earlier this year, SS3 takes heed of the criticism that plagued prior projects, cutting down on unnecessary filler for a more streamlined listening experience. Unlike I’m Up though, which lacked direction and seemed more like a hastily thrown together collection of records, SS3 is a cohesive project that continues the Slime Season sound without throwing you into an ocean of similar-sounding material.
If you need to dip your toe in the water before jumping in, start with the project's opener. First heard at Kanye’s infamous MSG listening party, "With Them" is a bouncy, Mike WiLL Made It-produced banger and the most fun had on the effort. Rest assured you'll see plenty of memes involving "I want to fuck her but she play more games than the NBA" if you haven't already. “Memo” might be the standout track, though, an energized showcase of Thug’s mastery of cadence backed by the spacey churning of prized collaborator London On Da Track. "Digits" is another highlight, a melodic ode to spending money that will most likely make significant noise as a single.
Additional great moments from the project include Thugger's impassioned, berserk cackling through the second verse of “Drippin'" (as well as the incredible line "If I wanna see some titties I’ll eat at Hooters"), the Yak Gotti-less portions of YSL anthem "Slime Shit" and “Worth It,” a woozy love song and the biggest sonic departure amidst the more upbeat, melodic trap stylings of its surroundings.
If you don't like Young Thug, I'm almost certain this project won't turn you into a believer. Slime Season 3's greatest appeal will be to listeners who have enjoyed portions of what they've heard from Thug over the last year and a half, but weren't up to the challenge of filtering through his sizable catalog of releases to search for gold.
In other words, SS3 succeeds because its compact and pre-curated. If you can't get through these eight songs than Thugger just isn't for you.
Note: An earlier version of this review mistakenly attributed lyrics from "Drippin'" to "Digits."