Generic name aficionado Young Thug popped into club DJ playlists last year with his hits "Stoner" and "Danny Glover." The young Atlanta rapper had been following the chemtrails from Lil Wayne's classic mixtape run to some far away cosmos where Marvin the Martian lives. However, Thug took a wrong turn in Albuquerque, ended up making some of the most unique rap music in years, and in 2014, there is no one else approaching his idiosyncrasy. Unfortunately, he may be the last man to slip in the door of rap weirdos as it shut, the last truly unique idea of a genre spanning over four decades. Or perhaps, Thugger has shown such an expert ability to fully live inside himself – dresses and all – that any other rapper with an truly original idea has been intimidated into being someone else.
Thug was poised to have a big breakout in 2014, but due to some Orwellian music label bullshit, he's yet to have a hit as big as either one of last year's. That doesn't mean he hasn't been dropping music though, quite the opposite. In January, he dropped a mixtape with fellow Atlantan Bloody Jay, and Gucci Mane has been dropping (un)authorized albums with Young Thug's name on it at a steady clip all year from his prison bunk. This lack of quality control has led to a number of songs that sound like half baked demos, but even with Gucci thowing any old Thugger verse onto iTunes, Thug has still released more interesting music than any other rapper this year.
Here are the 10 best songs Young Thug has put out this year, ones I'm betting won't touch the songs he'll make in the second half of 2014. These are mostly loosies and features, but giving Thug just a single verse or hook is tantamount to giving him single billing. Thugger has a way of making everyone else immaterial.
10. Young Scooter feat. Young Thug – "Drugs"
Young Scooter usually raps about selling drugs, but here he's just as fucked up as Thug, at times pitching his voice up. Young Thug sells drugs so he can get hooked on phonics and buy his mom an Audi.
9. Young Thug & PeeWee Longway – "Jack Tripper"
Even a half-baked Three's Company concept and Kanye's old DJ sort of making the beat can't bring down the chemistry between Thugger and Longway. They're like an updated OutKast dipped in lean and embalming fluid.
8. Black Portland (Young Thug & Bloody Jay) – "Movin"
The hardest song off the duo's excellent Black Portland mixtape, and one of the few times Thugger gets washed on a song. He sounds like he falls asleep on the first verse and Bloody Jay yells R.L. Stine references loud enough to give you goosebumps.
7. Young Thug feat. Trae the Truth – "Baby"
Maybe the most romantic song in Thug's oeuvre with an syrupy fatalistic hook, there's a Trae verse to weigh down all the floating Thug does on his.
6. Rich Gang feat. Young Thug & Rich Homie Quan – "Lifestyle"
Two near-perfect Thug verses and a completely superfluous Quan verse at the end, this is one of the first collaborations Thug has had with Young Money (who's managing but not signing him, or something?). With YM and RHQ, this is actually getting some shine. Thug expounds on the benefits of vaginal hygeine, "sloppy toppy," and taking care of your moms and mom's mom.
5. Tyga feat. Young Thug – "Hookah"
Another song that dies when Thug stops rapping even with its stomach-churning beat from London on the Track, who's quietly been killing it this year. Tyga shouts out Oakland at the end of the song and it sounds as awkward as wearing head-to-toe Dodgers gear in San Francisco looks.
4. Young Thug – "Ew Ew Ew"
Originally supposed to feature Drake, by the time the version with no DJ tags dropped, he was nowhere to be found. It makes sense though, I'm not sure how a Canadian pop star can come out looking good next to Young Thug. He would have to follow threats like, "Pussy motherfucker scared to say it to my front/So I'm blowing out his back" and "If a n***a think I'm sweet then his tongue getting split."
3. T.I. feat. Young Thug – "About the Money"
Yet another song that only isn't by Young Thug in name. He murders the first verse and gives an inspired hook with the help of an eclectic beat from London on the Track. T.I. serves his purpose of introducing Thug to a wider audience and singing a little bridge. "I'm slime like the reverend/I shoot at the river" is one of my favorite bars of the year.
2. Young Thug feat. Zuse – "Treasure"
With an absolute monster of a beat from Dun Deal, Thug spits some of his filthiest bars, and Jamaican rapper Zuse somehow keeps up. Thug finds new ways to say completely unique sentences, mashing words together on one count and stretching them out on the next, I think he can technically lay claim to a new language, like Pig Latin. At one point, he crows like a rooster.
1. MetroThuggin – "The Blanguage"
Nominally a remix to Drake's "The Language," this collab between Thug and frequent producer Metro Boomin becomes a gigantic Frankenstein piano ballad. It's the first song released off their joint album Metro Thuggin and if there were any justice in the rap world, this would be the biggest song of the year. Begins with the line, "I fucked her then washed off my dick with the curtains inside of the Phantom."