Many half-baked think pieces have been written about Young Thug’s sexuality, but amidst a sea of speculative hype and homophobia there’s an aspect of Thugger’s lifestyle that no one seems to be questioning.
During a newly-released VFILES interview with his fiancée talking about how they met and the beginnings of their relationship, Thug nonchalantly mentions that he, “doesn’t care for sex.” The comment doesn't come across as tongue-in-cheek sarcasm, but rather a genuine sentiment.
This display of borderline asexual tendencies isn't bizarre, but it is in stark contrast to the lyrical content of Thugger’s music. JEFFERY, as with all of Thug’s releases, is riddled with graphic descriptions of sex. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard Young Thug reference putting it in a woman’s butt, I would be able to afford my own set of pearly white veneers. While the topicality of Thug's rhymes is commonplace in hip-hop, Jeffery’s proclamations of a minuscule libido raise questions as to the true motivation behind his musical content.
Is this a simple case of Thug using fantasy-driven improvisation heavily in his songs, or a more sinister manipulation by a recording industry with an infamous tendency to sexualize everything? If it’s the former, where is the disconnect? It’s possible that Thug’s lyrical content is simply a caricature of the musical environment he was raised in. Hip-hop in general, and Atlanta hip-hop specifically, is widely known for instances of misogyny as well as a close relationship with both prostitution and strip clubs, so it stands to reason that an emcee rapping about not being sexually interested in women is going to stick out like...well, pretty much like an emcee rapping about anything while wearing women’s clothing.
If Thug is unwilling to succumb to the cultural pressure surrounding his choices in attire, then why is he rapping about desires that he himself claims are not true like some sort of sexual Future? An even more disheartening possibility is that Thug’s true nature is being suppressed in pursuit of mass appeal and record sales. While some have speculated that Thugger’s recent image polishing is due to pressure from 300 Entertainment co-founder Lyor Cohen, it's fair to wonder if his lyrical approach is a dismissal of artistic sovereignty in the interest of business.
At the end of the day, only Young Thug knows the real answer to these questions. Neither possibility presented would be all that surprising, and that’s what makes this all so unfortunate. Hip-hop is just as much an art form as it is a culture with storied traditions, and an artist’s true expression being forsaken, whether it be in the name of conforming to tradition or strictly for monetary gain, is a misappropriation of the power of that art form and ultimately, a disservice to the artists themselves.
By Brent Bradley. Follow him on Twitter.
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