Young Thug: Beautiful Thugger Girls

It's not the singing album we were promised, or the country album we were suggested: it's just a great Young Thug album.

Young Thug

Beautiful Thugger Girls

Label: Atlantic
US Release Date: 2017-06-16
UK Release Date: 2017-06-16

When I first heard “Check” back in 2015, I thought it was a revelation: Young Thug pairing the celebratory words of the chorus with a lethargic delivery and the spare chords from London on Da Track (Young Thug’s answer to Gucci Mane’s Zaytoven) to sobering effect; the sheer hilarity of the line “If cops pull up, I put that crack in my crack / Or, I put that brack in my brack”; the way he delivers the climax of the first verse. It was enough to make me work backward in Young Thug’s discography and eagerly anticipate his debut album.

Except, you know, we never got one. We did, however, get Slime Season that same year, which housed some gorgeous gems (“Best Friend” and “No Way”) in its 70-minute sprawl, and for whatever reason, Young Thug delivered a sequel before year-end that was even longer and with a worse killer-filler ratio. He matched his work ethic the following year, cutting down on the filler for the inconsequential I’m Up and too-consistent Slime Season 3, and out of nowhere, JEFFREY, with a cover as striking as the music within it (“Pop Man”). Even ignoring the sheer quantity of output, it was still hard to follow: I’m Up was delivered when we were initially promised Slime Season 3; JEFFREY was originally titled No, My Name is Jeffrey.

Likewise, debut album Beautiful Thugger Girls was originally Easy Breezy Beautiful Thugger Girls, and according to the Thug himself, a “singing album”, thus, appropriately, executive-produced by the self-proclaimed “singing nigga”, Drake. The cover featured Thugger with an acoustic guitar, and early reports suggested a mix of country, R&B, and trap. Weird, which is just a regular Tuesday for Young Thug anyway.

Opener “Family Don’t Matter” delivered, and it’s already accelerated itself into one of my favorite Young Thug songs. The way he sings “What’s popping, what’s the deal” over a beat comprised of a lilting vocal and spare acoustic guitar achieves an effect similar to that of “Check”’s choruses. Of course, the mere prospect of playing an acoustic guitar doesn’t make your music country, so he adopts an exaggerated country drawl for some of the verses (also shouting “YEE-HAW” on the first verse). And if that weren’t already enough to recommend the song, Millie Go Lightly adds additional gorgeousness, contrasting to his earthier voice in the first verse with her airier one.

To say nothing of her bridge -- “I be having nightmares shaped like you / You be blowing smoke clouds shaped like me” -- adding an additional emotional weight a song whose chorus begins “Like family don’t matter”. That’s been one of the most interesting prospects of Young Thug’s music, and Future’s as well -- moments of surprise that force you to reconsider the braggadocio as something more. Speaking of Future, he shares everything with Young Thug on “Relationships”, so much so that you’ll have forgotten that a Twitter feud ever occurred. And here, Future exemplifies just exactly what I mean: “I’m in a relationship with all my bitches, yeah / I put my dick inside her mouth before she left,” which turns to “I’m in a relationship with all my bitches, yeah / I need to cut some of ‘em off, I need help” by song’s end. Plus, the song itself is ridiculously catchy as a result of the beat’s direct melody and Future’s autotuned “I know how to make the girls go crazy / When you treat her like your number one baby.”

Which brings me to my next point: Beautiful Thugger Girls is more like “Relationships” than it is “Family Don’t Matter”, which is to say Thugger’s promise of a singing album have been greatly exaggerated, to say nothing of the supposed country influence. Yes, the acoustic guitar does come back on “You Said” (check out the hand-offs between the piano to the acoustic guitar during the main beat) and “Me Or Us” (with a backing vocal sung high and mixed low evoking the detachment depicted on the cover). This is, of course, just fine: Young Thug’s uniqueness and the pretty beats he sometimes finds himself rapping/singing over is always welcome, and I’m happy to have the loops of “Tomorrow Til Infinity” and “Daddy’s Birthday” available to me. Which is to say nothing of Young Thug squeezing out a “yahoo” before sweetly singing, “I’m loving every single curve about you,” on “Feel It”, or the fuzzy synth beat bouncing around on “She Wanna Party” (with more of Millie Go Lightly’s excellent backing vocals).

There are some surprises though: he evokes Drake (who he had previously helped out on More Life) on London on Da Track’s “Do U Love Me”. Meanwhile, Snoop Dogg delivers a supple verse on “Get High” (note the flow switch from “Bubblegum, cookies, OG, and KK / We like Craig and Dae Dae, who gives a fuck what they say” to the next few lines, and the self-awareness! Capping that immediately off with “It ain’t as easy as I make it look”). Elsewhere, peppy horns and acoustic guitar that seem to come from a small, street-side mariachi band appear on the penultimate “For Y’all” while “Take Care”'s (not to be confused with single “Take Kare”) synth-line. And some of the tracks found on the second half are the most subtly gorgeous here: the way the keyboard loop of “On Fire” is capped off by that warm nudge, and the electronic beat of “Oh Yeah”, sometimes bleeping and occasionally fading out, to say nothing of the keyboards operating in the rest of the song.

Bemoaning his lack of quality control over the past few years, I was worried that Young Thug wouldn’t be able to deliver a worthy debut album, especially when the lengths of his mixtapes nearly halved between 2015 and 2016. Yet, listening to all of those details, I shouldn’t have been worried: this is one of his best packages, and it was well worth the wait and all the twists and turns in between.


In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.