In a new interview with Pigeons & Planes, while discussing their work together in the studio, veteran recording artist Wyclef Jean drew a straight line between Thugger and another legendary musician: Tupac.
He reminded me of a modern Tupac, in a sense—in a revolutionary sense. I mean that by, alright, you might see a thug, but his connection to history seemed similar to what Pac understood, of like, “This is who the Black Panthers are. Read this book, read that book.” This kid understands. I sent him the Ghosts of Cité Soleil documentary. He must have seen it like 10, 15 times. He is like a sponge when it comes to history. He likes to absorb a lot of information, and actually wants to learn.
Wyclef, knowing his comments could easily be misconstrued without proper context, made sure to clarify his stated position with a lengthy explanation, but I'm not sure I'm buying what he's selling.
Being a revolutionary, which is the word the Fugees alum used to explain why Young Thug is similar to Tupac, is more than just having a connection to and understanding history—it means working towards or engaging in a political revolution.
Tupac spoke of greed, inequality, and political corruption and, more than two decades later, these problems have only intensified. Young Thug, on the other hand, despite his recent image clean up, has yet to really touch on politics through either activism or his music. (On the chorus of his JEFFERY inclusion "Webbie," Thug does rap, "These politicians are so fake, they politickin' 'bout these cases.”)
Young Thug and Tupac don't belong in the same conversation musically—just so we're clear—but there's absolutely a way Clef could have contextualized his comparison to support his word choice.
Like Tupac, Young Thug isn't afraid to express himself. This was made clear by Thug's "You can be a gangsta in a dress" comments and his New York City billboard sporting womenswear. While many observers believe Thug's actions and commentary are nothing more than an attention-seeking money grab, I believe his public display of individuality should be properly acknowledged.
Thug showing the world he's comfortable in his own skin isn't the same thing as blasting Wall Street or Washington, but he nonetheless should be commended for his actions. Tupac would be proud.