Why Young Thug Decided to Clean Up His Image

The eccentric ATLien realizes that his words and actions have a big effect on his youthful fanbase.
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It's undeniable that Young Thug is one of rap’s most polarizing figures. If he’s not obscuring gender lines through his fashion choices or trolling his self-proclaimed biggest inspiration Lil Wayne, then he’s recreating his persona with a name change. There’s nothing Thugger won’t do to challenge your perception of him. But now, he might be turning another new leaf—one that we haven’t seen before.

In an unaired excerpt from a recent interview with Travis Scott on his Beats 1 show .Wav Radio, Thug explained to Scott that he’s seen how his music impacts young listeners. During a meeting for an open case with one of his lawyers and the District Attorney, Thug was asked, “Do you pay attention to you?” Thug responded, “I’m like, ‘Of course I pay attention to me, bro. I know me. I know how I look, I know everything.’”

The lawyer had Thug watch his video for “Halftime,” where he and his friends are wielding guns and smoking blunts, with lyrics that aren’t anything close to suitable for kids. The lawyer also had Thug read the video’s comments section.

“He was like, ‘What’s the message?’ I was like, ‘Man, I said it seem like a lot of little badass kids.’… He said, ‘Exactly, you got a big embracement from kids. You gotta grow. You gotta grow up.’”

That moment proved to be eye-opening for Thugger, who, like most people his age, just acts young. It’s not that he wasn't thinking about the consequences of his actions—he just doesn’t necessarily realize the far-reaching effects of his behavior, especially as a popular artist with a youthful fanbase. While mistakes are a part of being young—he turned 25 just last month—Thug's conversation with Scott suggests that he's growing up, maturing, and being more mindful of what he does and says. 

The transformation of Young Thug is well underway, and we'll see just how pronounced an effect his recent revelation has on his career as a public figure.

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By Tara Mahadevan. Follow her on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Instagram

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