Alright it's almost midnight and I have many many things to do but if I didn't do this right now I probably wouldn't get a chance for like a week. That's unacceptable.
Some places are still tagging this as an upload by "Young Thug" which at this point is just insulting, frankly. He's made it perfectly clear, all-caps clear.
The first time I remember him referring to his own name like this was on 1017 Thug's "I'm Fo Real", where he sings, with quite a lot of emotion, "My real name Jeffery and I run around the lobby" and then ad-libs back at himself "what up, Jeffery?". I found this line fascinating in my early days of Thugger fandom... on the one hand, you've got this guy named "Young Thug", which is just about the most generic rap name imaginable, so far from anything uniquely meaningful that it must be performative, tongue-in-cheek, in the know. And on the other, he's emphasizing that his real name is Jeffery, which is about the most generic male first name imaginable, so generic that it almost registers more as a fake name than a real name in many contexts, but, as a rap name, is so surreal and bizarre. Like how many rappers just use their actual first name as their rap name? Rappers with cool names don't count. The only one I can think of is Dave.
Both name choices - Young Thug and Jeffery - seem somehow above and tangential to any "game" played by other rappers to infuse their names with coolness, significance, authenticity. There's something very powerful in that. And yet his obsession with his own name, with the "Thugger Thugger!" adlibs, and this bizarre name-switching stunt in the first place, seems to indicate the exact opposite of this aloofness - he's wielding his names as if it they were "traditional".
I'm not sure if this makes any sense. I'm very sleep deprived. I just think "Young Thug" is one of the best names I've ever heard and "Jeffery" is even better. The trailer is insane too... Whitehouse-style power electronics over title cards... Police interrogating him seeming for the "crime" of claiming he's "Jeffery" when he's clearly "Young Thug"... people trying to entice him back to his "old life" while he's still loaded up with ice and smoking blunts... I think this sort of cake-eat duality is key to Thugger, there might be a change, there might be no change, but he can have the performance of a change regardless.
No, no, the only key thing for Jeffery is how good that clip at the end sounds. Why am I still talking about this when I could be listening to it. As his friends at the end say "So it's Jeffery then. Who cares?".
Jeffery - No, My Name is JEFFERY
1. Wyclef Jean
Okay this one is called Wyclef Jean but it isn't the one featuring Wyclef Jean. Uhhh okay. Ice sounds. OH SHIT this is the one in the clip. Really crazy reggae vibes, really rocking this slow bpm. Even his "skirrr skirrr" sounds were relaxed. And the "ahhh duu laaa yeaaaa" sounds in the back are fantastic omg the huge hollow drums. Easing into this nice bouncy flow, I love the way he says "muthafucka", omg getting more intense. "Yeah, I'm that swift" yeah that's right. saying strange things about his children maybe i misunderstand lol. i'm still waiting for when it really bursts through like in the clip OH WAIT here we go. "My money come longer than the Nascar race/I tell her keep coming on the gas, fuck the brakes" many layers to this fun hook. But man this is like... album tier production. This is the diversity of sounds and professionalism I expected from Hi Tunes. So Hi Tunes will even be BEYOND this LOL. omg the way he doubles on his own sort of double thing, I love that, he's so caught up in his backing vocals that he just lays it down again. Great start wow. **
2. Floyd Mayweather
Gucci feature oh hell yeah. Is this post-prison Thugger OOPS I MEAN JEFFERY and Gucci collab? oh man these sinister piano with the scattered trappy drums oml. "I got fifty foreign hoes on my dick", numbers like fifty are so funny in these contexts. I can really feel Gucci lurking on this beat. Like the scenes in a Godzilla movie before Godzilla shows up. "Mwah mwah" ad-libs lol. "I'm selling purple reign, RIP to Prince", ahhhhh yes. "I made one brick turn to two I know a trick" oh shit this tricky flow too. Shoutouts to Dora, yay I love Dora. The way the energy is contained on this one is pretty nice but I really want someone to go nuts on it. But still, this real lurking feeling is fresh. "All my diamonds dancing like it's Bruce Lee, huooooaaaah" ahahahaha. I think this is Gunna now, he's always pretty solid. GunnaSilver maybe LOL high quality reference. LOL i was just about to say getting it from his mom is really questionable and he gets called out hahaha. "I spent thousand on my fucking shoes" feels almost like... uhh... emotion indescribable. S+
3. Swizz Beatz
So... is this produced by Swizz Beatz? Or is it just like... about him? Idk but I'm feeling this intro, luh luh luh lowwww. "I got me a high self esteem" hahaha well that just says it all right there. And dang this beat is sick, like underwater tropical. And now Jeffery going way tf in, this "with me with me" is really addictive, and then he carries the energy into stuff like "cheap cheap". LOL did he not just call himself Young Thug right there? The jig is up!! Dang at 2:00, this is a whole new mode, that sort of swell in his voice... it's like Joe Cocker more than anything. I like when he says "give it to your man" and then ad-libs "here". Still best ad-libs this side of the Bay. He's still having so much fun rapping, I think that's the most important part. what What What What WHAT. S
4. Future Swag
is this one about... Future?? nah I doubt it. 808 Mafia tag always hype FOR JUST THIS REASON OMG this beat this beat. I love those almost abrasive albums, and then that NES mysterious cave vibes. And Jeff going in of course, I do it I do it I do it. "The only thing I see is red like a bull", well, idk if that's how bullfighting works. "I'm brand new, just born" phoenix theory confirmed, Jeff is literally a reincarnation. "Lil momma she wet like a boat" with this sort of relentless rapping energy is so bizarre lol. lmao what did he say "my uncle that died is a Mason"? i must have misunderstood that. "Your kids see me on cable/And I'm drinking syrup... maple" hahahaha what. Okay yeah this one is really solid, very intense, so many layers of repetition, hooks on top of hooks, addictive. *
Woah hmmm spacey, spoken word intro, this feels like a progressive trance intro with a very different vocal sample LOL. my god the amount of variance he has on every aspect of his flow... its like some worm squirming in 7 dimensions... i have to go to bed... "Do the work, baby do the work", how is this still somehow actually romantic?? Dang the very slight squeaks in his voice, that's so endearing for some reason lol. Emotional fears and also fears of his car getting shot. What a life. And I think he might have called himself a "softie" even. People gotta realize how crazy it is for Jeff to be as open and honest as he is. "I just signed a deal with Kevin, baby clap for me", who is Kevin here? "Apple Watch with them boogers on it" lol. LOL: "I got 37 thousand for my last 70 shows" and then he ad-libs "do the math!" really fast hahahaha. Alright this one is crazy, I have no idea anymore. "Be a bridge, you better not burn it" that's actually more sensible than it sounds I think. S+
omg. this title. these features. THIS BEAT. i hear god approaching. "I hopped out the Coupe and I'm fresh as a bitch" uhh thats a new one, or i misheard it. The way he says "Chanel" is always always appealing. This flow sorta reminds me of his one on Chance's "Mixtapes", a godlike flow, one with so much potential in so many dimensions... ahh man the piano chord on the beat, that's so beautiful, how do they make such insights? How do they know where to put it? Young Scooter always solid, when he does this pretty energetic flow with his still sorta "weary" voice I love it, he's so good at that veteran status voice. Slime! "How to put 20 inside the seat" is actually a really intense situation when you think about it. Okay show me the Quavo ad-libs. Reveal Quavo. okay there was one LOL. it doesn't matter cause he's going in. "Splash!" a great recent Migos ad-lib. "I pay the neighbours to pick up the dope on their porches" good system. Deniability and all that lol. Offset, prolly rarest Migo these days. "Going up like a skateboard on a ramp" lol okay. "look at it, look at it" LOL I love that. Like Gucci's ad-libs on "Jungle", so honest LOL. Alright this one was nice too but again no one going like super crazy, which I sorta miss. *
DICKS OUT FOR HARAMBE. The course of this meme is baffling, how is it more popular now than ever? That happened a long time ago, didn't it? OKAY IT DOESN'T MATTER, what is this flow, what is this voice, is this a transmission from elder Jeff in the far future? "My diamonds yellow like I'm corny" god damn how is he doing this? It sounds like he's drowning in something. Jesus wow this is honestly like Joe Cocker this is crazy. GODZILLA. and the piano part, omg. His gun sounds are good, they've evolved into "dill". "Got the devil inside of me", this is like, the pinnacle of Thugger, B Language Thugger, omg omg this verse, OMG. how tf can he do all of this? This is King Kong shit, this is the spirit of Harambe flowing through him and destroying everything. Gotta look up the lyrics to this one though lol. **
Duke feature, this could be crazy. Fast beat too... omg... well sorta. Could be nuts, could be nuts. Like getting a pika uair in smash 64. it's like "wow anything could happen here". LOL i'm an idiot. Skyping his baby mama, that's nice. "My hand is way different, got the Midas" damn. Dang man, this is the sort of complex flow I really like to see, and then crazy "maaym" sorta breakdowns, his mind going into spaces of pure sound, omg and his DRAWL, this is a very rare mode, a mode incomprehensible to lower level jeff fans what the fuck omg over the piano breakdown, foreign car like a white beetle, i don't even know anymore. and there's like a guitar on the beat too, lmao what? Duke going tf in too, "Thugger gave me a chance and I had to take it" dude his name is Jeffery what is wrong with you? Alright this one is special. "Until I started using... 14% of my brain" ahahaha. **
9. Pop Man
LOL it's actually Wyclef. Former member of the Fugees. Who made Obama's favorite song. None of this makes sense but ayyy that's okay. "Middle finger stick it up, if you ain't never give a fuck", all in his "Harambe" voice, and wtf this beat, okay yeah, this is it, this is the real one. This is like... world music core, but still 100% trappy, worldwide trapping. Jeffery, Jeffery. okay but these flows are DEFINITIVE Thug. This is what he invented: saying "wet wet" once and infinitely carrying that energy through unlimited lines. Superrapconductivity. My god this piano though. "She the peacock with the colours". Just the richness of that sound, and the crazy surrounding jungle feeling, that's insane... his potential as an artist is just insane... like comparing this to the career arc of, say, Outkast, on that time scale, he has so so many places he can go. "Jeffery, be easy", god damn it's actually Wyclef. He's doing that thing he does at the end of lines, pretty sure only he can do that. And his bass woah, howww, how is his voice so smooth? SO SMOOTH? My god though seeing Jeffery push the limits of his voice like this, this is so enthralling... There's so much that lies beyond in this direction. So many genres that are so fertile for him. But still rapping so hard. Always gotta go this far in. "Good luck like a four leaf" :) so many nice images flowing past you so quickly. Jeffery, Jeffery, Jeffery. Wow. **
10. Pick Up the Phone
Huh I always thought this was a Travis Scott track, off his upcoming (actually like... coming out later today maybe?) new album. But okay this is fine I'm fine with this here. tbh though the craziest thing about this song is the amount of nudity on the youtube video, how did they get away with that? Travis Scott making ringtone noises and saying "STRAIGHT UP" makes me so happy... and the 808s cowbell, so perfectly executed here, not memey but recognizable. "I don't talk to the man in the middle/I don't talk to no man, just kidding" is the classic Thugger sorta "twist". How is Travis SO GOOD at hooks though? This one listen will make me say "pick up the phone!" in my mind for the next few weeks. Awww yeah Quavo too, with that super syrupy vocal effect. "I hate when we fight/She in love with the pipe". And then he shouts out Travis's album... but this isn't on there? "And I'm loving all races/Hell no I don't discrimitize" ahahaha awesome, for so many reasons. STRAIGHT UP. this beat is fantastic too but does that even need to be said? how to they get that big like... jelly-like sound... ahhh, this outro, omg, so nice... those little flairing sounds, and then the melodic shift... actually so nuts. it cuts off so suddenly lol. **
Partial Mutation Power
I feel like something is changing with Jeffery here, something fairly significant and deep inside. Something that might be leading up to the long awaited Hi Tunes, almost certainly going to be the best album any of us or any of our children will live to see (slight hyperbole). He's definitively crossing over that line between "rapper over beats" and "composition around rapper" that he has only flirted with across. Kendrick and Kanye, to name two preeminent examples, are waving him across, with exemplar masterpieces that provide this cohesive sound, this almost "cinematic" structure, the sort of things that really seem to draw the line between "album" and "mixtape".
And Jeffery, too, is responding to these opportunities, pushing his voice further in rhythm and tone and melody than ever before (which is saying a LOT). His Joe Cocker-esque explosive howl on "Harambe" and parts of "Pop Man" feel wholly unprecedented in hip hop (please tell me if I'm wrong because I'd love to hear more). "Wyclef Jean" sees him flying across a reggae beat like he'd never actually heard a reggae song before and had independently rediscovered what it was supposed to sound like. It's the same process of boundary discover and subsequent busting that we heard with hip hop way back on 1017 Thug, but now spread to music from around the world. Crazy. But, of course, he's still rapping like an absolute maniac, like someone having so much fun rapping it feels like it can't be mentally healthy. His verses are even more cohesive, with long patterned flows so hypnotizing you almost forget how clever they are.
But not every track is like this... a few in the middle are more "standard Thug", or maybe halfway in between. They still have his godlike flows and ears for beats, but this more sophisticated style seems like it's taken some of the spontaneity and madness from his music. It's more complex than this, but a revealing diagnostic is just to compare the number of ad-libs on this vs his older ones... Quavo has only like one to signal his arrival! That's gotta be some record. So that sort of thing is missed.
Still, it's yet another
Thugger Jeffery tape with zero bad songs, and quite a few I could see replaying daily for... the rest of my life. So that's great. I'm gonna go to bed. Something exciting coming tomorrow.