Young Thug isn’t a traditionalist. The famous 28-year-old Atlanta rapper walks a thin line between radical innovator and pop culture icon. It’s rare to see in a genre like rap, where tradition is sacred. The art of breaking rules has brought a wealth of cultural and commercial cache to the man born Jeffery Lamar Williams.
Since 2015, following the release of potential classic Tha Barter 6, fans have openly clamored for Young Thug to release his debut. Carefully, with each new project, Thugger and his record labels—Atlantic, 300 and YSL—have avoided the prestigious mark.
Thug’s language has always been mixtapes as if he were constructing a project worthy of the title—which is why So Much Fun, an album regarded as Thug’s debut, is potentially a momentous event for one of the most influential artists of this new generation. With the commercial success of the J. Cole and Travis Scott-assisted “The London,” the time is ripe.
Thug’s profile is large as ever, there’s a lot of expectations attached to this album, a win isn’t necessary, but the world is tired of wondering if this day would ever come. Now that it’s here, anything less than excellent won’t be accepted.
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. “Just How It Is”
Wheezy drop. Thug is already rapping. From the jump, this album doesn’t give you a second to think. He sounds good. “Had to wear the dress cause I had the stick.” Hold up, Thug is in a zone. It’s refreshing. His flow is seamless. Every line matters. He’s not wasting a bar. Songs like this make me miss Thug. No one can say what he does. Was that a Kaep line? An RIP Nipsey line. This had to be recorded recently. Okay, this feels like a moment. The album isn’t called a debut for play. Did he give his lawyer two million? I chuckled at that kitty/cat line. I love that dress line; it’s so Thug. Let’s go!
2. “Sup Mate” ft. Future
The Super Slimey duo. Future is waiting on you as soon as the song begins. One of my favorite things in the world is Future rapping while Thug does ad-libs. Oh, this is a banger. The roof is levitating off my house. Shoulders are bouncing and elbows are being thrown. This record feels as large as Thug’s personality. “Wipe his nose.” Sounds so menacing, yet, so fatherly. Who made this monster of a beat? [Editor's Note: ATL Jacob & DY Krazy]. It’s a ground shaker. Future and Thug sound like they were standing in the booth together passing the microphone back and forth. Not my favorite collaboration, but it’s fun hearing them like this. I want Future and Thug to record sound effects for fighting video games.
I’m glad this one has a slight build-up. The drums just dropped like a credit score. What is going on here? Yeah, this is a different Young Thug. He is diving into the abstract. A bit of old Thug with new Thug attitude. It’s so crazy this is a rapper who once sounded like Lil Wayne. His voice is so distinct; his style is so defined. The beat is going bonkers. Focus is the word. Thug sounds focused! Not a single line is being phoned in. “I can tell the way he dresses he doesn’t want no smoke.” Who made this beat? [Editor's Note: DY Krazy & 12 Hunna]. It’s ridiculous. These songs don’t feel long, but they aren’t short either. Regardless of length, Thug and these beats are engaging. No fumbles thus far.
4. “Hot” ft. Gunna
These horns! Did Thug make a new version of “Middle Child”? “Hot” sounds like if you put “Middle Child” in Mercedes Benz Stadium. Gunna! Admittedly, he has one of my favorite rap voices right now. And his flow! Gunna just floats. He is water. Yeah, he’s walking on these horn riffs. Man! This should’ve been the single. It feels so triumphant. Thug building up to his verse is great. I can’t hear what he’s saying, but the texture is great. Was that a yell? The vibe is enthralling. Might be Thug’s best four-songs run since Tha Barter 6.
5. “Light It Up”
Dirty! A sharp, enthralling delivery. Thug did not come to play. He wants it. Not sure if this is one long verse, but man, the second half is strong. Shouts to Sandy Spring. The vocal texture feels like Weezy. Even though I don’t love the production, I could listen to him rap in this pocket forever. No theme to the album. No concept. It’s Thug rapping like he is on top of the world. This is Tony Montana before doing that first line of coke.
6. “Surf” ft. Gunna
The album is living up to its title. I wonder what inspired this energy? It’s contagious. Thug is self-aware of his status. He’s self-aware of his style. Yes, this first verse is hitting harder than a Barry Bonds home run. The pockets he’s been finding are great. Production is jubilant and Thug is matching that sugar-rush energy. Gunna. He’s monotone, but it works. He sounds sleepy, like Thug woke him up to record this verse. He’s finding a groove. I wish Drake was on this. But, a keeper. Just for the Thug verse and beat.
7. “Bad Bad Bad” ft. Lil Baby
Another Wheezy tag. A sample? I can’t believe how good Thug sounds. The mixing on the album is immaculate. His vocals are cutting through. I’m enjoying Thug’s rich man raps. “I can buy the building,” and you know he means it. I wonder if being in a good place financially is helping him record music like this? Lil Baby! I wish Baby would enunciate his words better, but that would take away what makes Lil Baby, Lil Baby. He found a good pocket at the end. Not my favorite Lil Baby moment, but I’ll have to go back. He’s usually good for a feature. It’s been banger after banger. I can hear almost every song playing on the radio, but not in a pandering way.
8. “Lil Baby”
Thug title songs after fellow artists. I love it. Infectious flow. There’s a nice bounce to the beat. Oh man, this is good. Hasn’t been a bad Thug verse yet. It’s interesting hearing him like this. He’s not overdoing it. Usually, Thug is good for some randomness, but everything is steady and straightforward. This is by far the most focused Thug has ever sounded. I can hear this one rattling out of trunks. Love the back half; how the drums are dropping and the way his vocals are hitting. Another strong record.
9. “What’s The Move” ft. Lil Uzi Vert
Is that Thug singing? Loving the background textures. Yeah, the mix on this is great. Feels like we are in the studio with him. It’s heartfelt. Nice, smooth drop. The Percy Miller line was nice. Thug the Romantic might be my favorite Thug. Uzi Vert! These two have good synergy together. Their voices have textures that complement one another. Thug got a vintage Uzi verse. He’s road-running. Thug tagged back in. It’s a little unorthodox structurally, but there’s so much right about this record. Thug gets what he’s aiming for. There hasn’t been a moment that felt thoughtless.
10. “I Brought Her” ft. Lil Duke
Birkin is getting a lot of promotion. Another rest in peace line for Nipsey. Nip and Thug have some great records together. Did Thug say can get you smoked for a bowl of noodles? Can you imagine dying in exchange for ramen? Life shouldn’t be so cheap. Ten songs in and I haven’t been bored once. The production value is high. It’s all trap, but it’s all dynamite. Duke is rapping with all the air in his body. He must’ve heard what Thug said about ramen before stepping in the booth. This is a good feature. This is a good song. Birkin better put it in a commercial, or at least a YouTube ad.
11. “Jumped Out The Window”
The energy just shifted! Oh! This sounds like a Future record. These keys are menacing! Jumped out the window? This sounds like Thug threw someone out of a window. Raise the crime rate music. Extortion music. Might be a favorite. Thug’s energy is impeccable. I need Young Thug to be the villain in the next Batman movie. This is what the summer needed. Whoever made this beat deserves a raise. [Editor's Note: Supah Mario]. If he made a GoFundMe so we could give him additional funds for this beat, I would pay. Incredible.
12. “I’m Scared” ft. 21 Savage & Doeboy
Sounds like a Pi'erre Bourne beat. It has that airy vibe. This Thug flow is pleasant from the jump. It sounds familiar, I can’t place it, though. The Oprah line. Was this the snippet that went around? I’m getting a strange sense of déjà vu. Excited for 21. The Savage! He’s been on a strong feature run. Savage said he has a Glock on his rider; that is a street rapper for you. His delivery isn't as sharp as it is on the Lil Durk record, but the verse is good. Doe Boy starting solid. “We slimey as they come.”
13. “Cartier Gucci Scarf” ft. Lil Duke
A strong beat. I love how Thug came in. Wiping the Cartier’s off with a Gucci scarf is a nice boast. That “Ayyy” delivery. The way Thug uses his voice is incredible. It’s an instrument. He knows exactly how to tune it. My favorite song keeps changing. That’s a sign of the quality of an album. It’s been a nonstop festival of banger after banger. Duke! He’s keeping that same energy. “I left the street and went to the booth.” If Duke has this kind of material on a mixtape, I’m tuning in. He’s feeling it. Thug has everyone unlocking their potential.
14. “Big Tipper” ft. Lil Keed
Southside tag. 808 Mafia tag. The album isn’t dragging, I’m just wondering how he keeps this up for six more records. Trap thumper. There’s a confidence in Thug. He has found his stride. The rapping comes with a concentrated effortlessness. That might read like an oxymoron, but that’s what is impressive about him. “White diamonds on me, bitch, I’m pale.” Haha. Oh! The way Keed came in under the Thug vocals. That was the father-son Kamehameha. Thug and Keed could defeat Perfect Cell. “Black truck pull up on you like Uber.” Thug comes back at the last minute with bars. That man doesn’t stop rapping.
808 Mafia tag. Was that a Pyrex tag? This atmosphere is dangerous. Another record that screams Future’s name, but I’m glad there are no features. Thug is in a ZONE. You can hear it in his tone; the booth was melting while this was recorded. This is not what I expected by the song title. It’s all taunts. Yeah, this is a Future song, but with all the great Thug quirks. Random, but I like it.
16. “Circle of Bosses” ft. Quavo
Wheezy outta here. Love these keys. The build up is pleasant. Quavo! He sounds good. Better than he did on his debut album. This is the Quavo I believe in. Thug slides in. Matt Ryan bar. Go Falcons. Wow. Thug really brought the best out of everyone. Admittedly, I miss Rich Gang. Rich Homie Quan would sound AMAZING here. “I don’t need a seat, I rather run in the streets.” Strong record. Not a favorite, but far from a skip. I haven’t heard a record I would skip yet.
17. “Mannequin Challenge” ft. Juice WRLD
Banger! This beat is losing its mind like children in a moonbounce. “I just told the judge fuck what you talking.” Thug isn’t playing. I need to know what was going on when Thug recorded these songs. His energy is different. Inspired? Yeah, he’s inspired. “Nigga, we came from cooking noodles on the stoooove.” BANGER. I need the label to put the building behind this one. I need to hear it all autumn. Juice WRLD is in a bag. That energy is nuts.
18. “Boy Back” ft. Nav
Keys are pleasant. One of the few records with a build up. A DJ Mustard tag. Is that Nav? He rapping with a bit more sauce than usual. He sounds...good. Thug knows exactly where he needs to come in. There’s an art to the entrance. [Editor’s Note: That is a future Yoh editorial.] Yeah, wow, this is strong. Nav isn’t an earsore. He has a verse and I’m not cringing. Sounds like baby Nav. “I can’t sleep I got some habits I got to kick.” I felt that. Nav with a winner.
19. “The London” ft. J. Cole & Travis Scott
Sheesh. What an album. Closing with “The London” is fitting. I know it’s a stream grab, but it fits the album. Travis' hook still feels weak. Cole’s verse is strong. When he transforms into Thug is such a strange phenomenon. There’s passion, though. It’s good to hear high profile artists like Thug and Cole sound like they want to rap. “I can make a brick walk.” My biggest gripe with this record is Travis. If Thug, or anyone else, did the hook, it would be gold. Didn’t need it, but I’m glad they tacked it on at the end.
Final (First Listen) Thoughts on Young Thug's So Much Fun
So Much Fun is Young Thug honing the voice of a rap star. The album moves at a pace only Thug could set, a rhythm that captures the uniqueness of his eccentric style without any overwhelming elements. Each of the 19 songs borrows a play from his celebrated book of tricks—it’s not overly experimental or enchanted—executed in a fashion that grabs the audience’s ears.
So Much Fun is a long album, but its length doesn’t mean it isn’t a compelling listen. As a body of work, the music lives up to its title. There isn’t a single moment where Thug is dull, bored, or sounds out of place. The Atlanta rapper has fallen short of his greatness on previous projects, but there are no jarring stumbles on So Much Fun.
The most endearing quality of So Much Fun is Young Thug’s focus. He sounds like an artist who actually cares about delivering a full experience. One only he could give. From that perspective, So Much Fun is a success. Finally, after countless delays, Young Thug has delivered a debut worth the wait.