Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Song of the Day #331 - Young Thug - With Them

I just went hunting, I found me a rabbit, I picked out the carrots

Nostalgia is a funny thing. It isn't really a function of time as much as it is about the density of memories stirred up by the thing. While reading about the whole "Taylor Swift is a snake" situation, I realized I was feeling genuinely nostalgic about the whole TLOP launch as if it was something that had happened years ago. I remember thinking at the time that the news would never stop, we'd never get off Ye's wild ride: every turn in the drama seemed to fuel some new artistic development, which then fueled the next wave of controversy. It seemed like a perfect cycle, and that it would keep churning forever. The Swift situation ended up being one of the most enduring elements, and to see Kanye redeemed so completely after all this time feels genuinely triumphant. But it also makes me realize that at some point, of course, I had stopped actively thinking about TLOP. So much has happened to me since then, but the memory of thinking "I will never stop thinking about this" still lingers crystal clear in my head. It all adds up to something so mythologized that it requires years of my internal narrative to account for.

Instead, it has been only 158 days since that magical afternoon in Madison Square Garden. My favorite moment still has to be the first time I heard Chance's verse on "Ultralight Beam" and thought "wow, this is the real one", but getting my first taste of this song is definitely top 5. The weird casualness of it: the way Kanye basically just handed him the aux cord for the whole venue and he plugged it in his phone, the way Thugger just jogged over with this brand-new mindblowing song. The reactions - people on /mu/, in various levels of shitpostiness and sincerity, claimed it was the best song played that night. It seemed to give us a glimpse into the absurdly fertile world of Kanye and his friends, that, beyond the planned album, there was an endless parade of talent, of unreleased tracks, perhaps never to be released, perhaps coming in the months to come, in an orchestrated, perfected, system, stretching far beyond our imaginations. I thought about things like how HiTunes was probably in development, that it existed in some unknown form out there, somewhere in this other world, and that maybe this song was from HiTunes, and that eventually, when listening to that, surely the AOTYAY, I would remember that very moment fondly.

Well, I still remember that very moment, but it didn't end up being on HiTunes. Who knows where HiTunes is, anyways. Instead it became the lead song of Slime Season 3, and I gotta say, it fits the role really well. The strange sonic punctuation of the beat, the immediateness and overwhelming flow of the hook... it's just this perfect little encapsulation of everything to love about this era of Thug. With "Fuck Cancer", the opening track of I'm Up, he made he most addictive mixtapes of the year, like, it's hard not to want to listen to these songs at any time, and it's hard not to keep going from there.

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