The last time Young Thug paired up with another rapper for a full-length release was in late September of 2014. In retrospect, Rich Gang: Tha Tour Pt. 1 feels surreal, with the events that followed only adding to the novelty of Thug and Rich Homie Quan’s promising group debut. It was the equivalent of a potential-filled quarterback being drafted into the league, but suffering a career-ending injury while practicing in a scrimmage. A memory. A highlight. A promise unfulfilled.
At the same time, Future was embarking on a flawless flood of new material, including three acclaimed mixtapes and a studio album that brought him to a new level of prosperity, and Drake was in that weird space, haunted by ghostwriter revelations and riding an unrivaled level of celebrity. Almost a year to the day that Thug and Rich dropped Tha Tour Pt. 1, Future and Drake delivered What a Time to Be Alive. It was an event. Nothing was bigger the minute it was released on September 20, but the momentary hype didn’t last. The project was a star-studded blockbuster that was good enough to talk about but never to revisit.
Two years later, it’s a bit strange for Thug and Future to come together for the release of their joint "mixtape," SUPER SLIMEY. This year alone, Thug has released the applause-worthyBeautiful Thugger Girls and the impressive, Carnage-produced EP Young Martha. Future unexpectedly hit his adoring hive with two albums released one week apart; FUTUREfor the trap days and HNDRXXfor the emotional and promiscuous nights. Charting success has leaned more in Future’s favor, but critics and fans have been impressed by both Atlanta-born oddities this year. Growth was shown and ceilings were broken. A joint project should be a tidal wave, right?
Unlike Quan and Drake, there’s a strange kinship Thug and Future have; a musical brotherhood that exists in melody and melancholy, Percocets and parenthood, codeine and chaos. Future is the hitmaker, he has the instincts to know what will cause the masses to react gleefully. Thug is unpredictable; he has more flows and styles than the mythological god Odin has names.
This joint tape is an odd couple, but in a year as strange and unorthodox as 2017, this combination of weird could be the epicenter of something special. I like their odds better than their work with previous partners. Thug is more refined now and Future can at least talk about his harrowing tales from the gutter and not be concerned that his partner-in-rhyme sounds like an uncultured swine.
In usual 1-Listen fashion, the rules are the same: no skipping, no fast-forwarding, no rewinding and no stopping. Each song will receive my gut reaction from start to finish.
1. "No Cap"
I haven’t had to write a 1-Listen review in over a month. I feel like a cowboy getting back on the bull. Southside has a new tag? Ha, I love producers who use kids in their tags. This already sounds like the beat is tweaking. Glitchy piano keys. The drums just dropped and blew my mustache smooth from my face. HARD. This is like if “Digital Dash” overdosed on steroids. Future is FLOATING. I love how he had the stutter for a moment there. This is FUTURE not HNDRXX. Future said his girl can’t sleep at his house; Super Saiyan savage has a heart colder than Omarion in an igloo. I'm ready to state that Southside and Future don’t miss, ever. THUGGER! I wish he came on with the same energy as Future. Thug’s slower flow does not work here. Yeah, this is a Future song and it’s apparent. Just his voice sounds like he was born to be the God of this production. He owns the lands and the seas, master of the animals and the men. I’m hoping the project balances itself out. If this is a battle, Future wins round one. Southside really made a beat that would fit in a haunted house with the goblins and the ghouls.
Thugger is leading off. I'm not sure what he said, sometimes he’s a true mumble rapper… OH MY!!! THIS BEAT. Okay, the bass is going to cause streets to shake. Thug is lively. Hyperactive. He said something about catching his first body. No basic cable, a real brag. Production is wearing a straightjacket, no exaggeration. Just heard the Southside tag, he’s two for two. SUPER SLIMEY is going to be a flow fest. Thug just switched his up. I love the way he drags these words out. He has such a natural knack for making the English language his mistress. Future just came on with the loud voice that a father uses when you forgot to take out the trash. Some reverb on his voice. Straight slick talk. Yeah, this is not going to be a project of hits but Thug and Future just in a stream of consciousness. "I'm the richest nigga to come from Lil Mexico." If all the beats slap like this, I’ll listen to them mumble, literally. I hope Southside is a billionaire for all the slappers he's given us.
3. "All da Smoke"
Slow build up. It has a quieter feel, not expecting this one to explode like a dozen eggs in the microwave. Thug is saying he wants all the smoke. You can hear this chopping sound. Now he's saying that he’s breaking up ice. We know what for. Nice drop! BOOM! Okay, we have the anthem. It’s in the tempo where you can’t help but bounce. Future is in full float mode. Thug's doing adlibs. Full on fusion dance, Young Future. Simple, chant-worthy hook. Gotta love when the trap drums are hitting harder than Kimbo Slice in a backyard brawl. NO, Thug! This slow delivery is killing the vibe. Okay, he sped it up for the culture. “I’m in the backyard feeding deers” is something Thug would brag about. Easily an earlier favorite. I’m mad as Atlanta is slowly descending into an unbearable frost we get this scorcher.
I wonder what that sample is in the back? Smooth. “I only drink Activist I’m on a diet.” It’s funny that either one of them could’ve rapped the line. Also not funny because that’s a death diet. Thug kicks off the song and it sounds pretty legit. I wonder what goes on in Thug’s mind, he really has such a strange attention span. “I bought my mom a car and felt amazing,” feelings I want to experience. Every bar leads to an even more random bar. Smooth tag in for Future. “I just got an iPhone 8 and already stored it with 200 hoes” is hilarious. How long has the iPhone 8 been out? I'm four tracks in and the production is starting to get repetitive. I need some variety.
5. "Cruise Ship"
Soft keys. Thugger doing that yodle yeah. This is a solo record. This Thug actually gives me JEFFERY vibes. OH YES! THAT DROP! IT WAS PERFECT! The ill build up and Thug’s energy just sent an adrenaline shot into my heart. This is fun. Young Thug just bragged about stealing a yacht, he has reached the CJ from San Andreas stage of his career. This is knocking harder than the cops when they raided J. Cole’s studio. I really like the thin drums. It’s a rather simplistic song, but hearing Thug sound so juiced up is a blast. Fun seems to be the theme of the project. Future and Thug are not really making songs, they're just hopping on trunk rattlers and flexing flows. A couple quotables, but more so lines you can’t help but laugh at. Pure outrageousness. I kinda wish this was a Gangsta Grillz, DJ Drama needs to bring them back.
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6. "Patek Water" ft. Offset
Offset has been racking up the features this year. Another Southside beat. Softer drums, nice tempo. Future sounds like he’s operating under the beat. Okay, he’s catching the groove. Thug just slid in. I feel like they were in the booth together. Funny to hear them underneath each other ad-libbing. Such a random project. Even the hooks feel very impromptu, like part of verses that were cut off and placed where the hook should be. My problem is production is so bland. It doesn’t have any life and drags the verses down. Offset! Earlier today, I heard "Bad and Boujee" for the first time in a few months and his verse is still incredible. Moonwalking on water performance. Offset gets presence and flow. This is ill, feels like he really cares about being impressive each time he arrives on a verse. Future with the ending bridge. It's the first time he’s sung on the project through six tracks. A little let down by Southside, this isn’t the banger it needed to be.
7. "Feed Me Dope"
Future's about to enter trap mode. I can already tell by this haunting build up. Oh yeah, this is DS2 Future. You can almost smell the crack residue. The bass is literally causing my computer to Harlem shake more than a baby Bow Wow. Nasty. Can we get Jeezy on this kind of beat so he can reminisce about his Snowman days? Yeah, Thug wasn’t needed on this. Not a hit, but fans of Future are going to love this one. “They know I'm a millionaire from freestyling,” hahahaha. Brick selling music. Fed investigation music. Add this to FUTURE and it fits right in.
8. "Drip on Me"
This "mixtape" has been moderately entertaining, but I was hoping for more records like “Relationship” or “Chanel Vintage.” There have been no melodies at all. No singing. No real unorthodox flows. They’re floating, it’s more like a hover. Future heard my cries! He came on with the struggle Auto-Tune singing. Still on a thunderous trap beat. Haha, Future is self-editing. For some reason he didn’t say shit but the sound made for a great texture to his delivery. I like this so far. Thug is here to perform. LeBron James reference. This is solid but I still want something more. It’s very much the casualness of WATTBA, with some extra moxie and even more slappers.
9. "Real Love"
I wasn’t ready for the bomb drop. Thug getting into the singing/rap flow. Some dual harmonies. Thug rapping over Future’s singing is cool. Future sounds like a ghost floating in the background. Thug will rap like the beat doesn’t exist, like nothing exists. He’s rapping as if he’s the only man alive. FUUUUCHA. His voice sounds drenched not in pain, but disdain. Give him a cough drop. Reminiscing about a woman. Where is Future getting quaaludes? I've been trying to get some since Wolf On Wall Street. I’ll keep this one. “All this fake love got me damaged,” speaking of “Fake Love” on a scale from one to a passive aggressive post on Instagram, how mad is Drake that he didn’t get a call for a feature?
10. "4 da Gang"
Seconds in, this is interesting already. Some kind of wind instrument. Praying for the flute. This sounds like the moment right after bad news is given. Well, not exactly a flute, more like a chime. Oh yeah, this is lava. Future said at night he doesn’t stop at red lights, paranoia reaching Godfather levels. Future is SKATING. He is in a codeine pool doing flips in a purple Jetski. “Even though I made it on the Forbes ain’t nothing changed.” OH, FUTURE POURING THE SOUL OUT. WE BACK. LIVE FROM THE GUTTER MUSIC. Oh yeah, I'm saving this one. “Every time we plead we plead not guilty in the first place.” “I can’t grieve cause ain’t none of my grandma bills late.” FUTURE IS IN HIS ZIPLOCK! The feels. He really dropped the ball not putting this one the album. Every line is a bar.
11. "Killed Before"
Boy, Thug better come with it. Future's got me hyped. Woo! That was a song. Acoustic strumming. London On The Track tag, Thug is not playing. I’m already here for this. Thug is doing his Wyclef impression. This sounds good—real good. Wait, I know this sample. Fuck, fuck. It’s an oldie but a goodie, something I haven’t heard in awhile. Thug's snapping. I hate when collab albums have separate tracks and the separate tracks are the most fire. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of coming together? This feels like an unreleased Beautiful Thugger Girl cut. So many flow changes. So much style. I still hear the Wayne that was the foundation for Thug’s transformation; he truly took Wayne’s style to a completely different world.
12. "Mink Flow"
Jubilant beat, jubilant Thug. How much candy does Thug eat to always sound like he’s having a sugar rush? He’s currently running the Energizer bunny blitz on the beat. I'm really liking the chemistry on this one. Future is following Thug’s bouncy footstep. There’s a Surfboard under Future’s flow and I'm catching a wave right now. Okay, we have another keeper. You know Future is going in when you can hear his chain rattling in the background. “Give this bitch a minute to breath” hahaha. I’m glad the tape is closing on a fairly high note. I was starting to doze off.
13. "Group Home"
Some wordplay from Thug. Nice imagery. Future slid in last minute. Future sounds like he just woke up from a visit to hell. That voice is drenched in raw pain. I imagine if you’re dying of thirst and had to say your last words this is how they would sound. Nah man, this is eerie. “I talk to Jesus Christ on my worst day, he made me a millionaire I talk to him everyday” sheesh. This is the song I've been waiting on. The one that throws you off. The one that crawls into your veins. Future said he robbed a guy the day his son was born. I swear this guy lives the darkest life. Loving the production, soul trap. Mannn, they should’ve let Thug go first. Future sounded like death, Thug sounds like he just got a trampoline for Christmas. “I got back problems from gambling night to day.” I swear, man, these two need group therapy. “I smell codeine when I piss.” Why is Future like this?
Future and Thug’s SUPER SLIMEY isn’t very super, but it is an event. There are no songs here that will surge to the top of Billboard, and I’d be surprised if they even have the top-selling album next week. This is not a true commercial release, nor is it the critically acclaimed joint tape to follow up BTG and HNDRXX. It’s two artists who are loose and comfortable, who wanted to spend 13 tracks sparring and reflecting.
It’s better than What a Time to Be Alive strictly due to the hard-hitting production and a few standout records ("All da Smoke," "Feed Me Dope," "4 da Gang"), but I'm a bit disappointed by how the chemistry at times feels off. Throughout the project, either Future dominates or Thug brings a completely different energy. Also, the solo records were the standouts, which reminded me both artists work better alone.
Both Future and Thug have moments on SUPER SLIMEY, especially Future, but for the most part, they’re in coast mode. I don’t know what expectations people have for the two, their subject matter follows their well-known palette, it’s just putting together what they would do separately. The lows are still taller than a dwarf, while the highs could be mistaken for a star in the sky. There are definitely some worthwhile keepers that will be added to their ever-growing catalogs.
If McDonald’s and Burger King collaborated on a burger, it’s unlikely the limited edition meal would replace the Big Mac or the Whopper, but you couldn't help but try it. I see Future and Thug as two chefs who came together to make their adoring audiences a savory, "for a limited time" snack. It’s not the most fulfilling meal, I don’t regret taking a bite, and I enjoyed most of it, but I'd rather have two scorching solo tapes than a warm joint venture.
By Yoh, aka Super Yoh, aka @Yoh31