Before “Lifestyle” put him on, Young Thug had to build a name for himself in Atlanta’s streets. Listen to these 10 slept-on songs that helped him do it.
Our Bars (I Came From Nothing 2)
ICFN2 is the mixtape that eventually got Gucci Mane’s attention and helped Thugger land a deal with 1017 Bricksquad, and he exhibits a bunch of very different, almost weird styles on it. “Our Bars” consists of a single extended verse over an eerie skeletal beat (if the “Hahahaha” sample does not creep you out, there’s something wrong with you). Thug comes through on that Mr. Garrison from South Park tip: “I fly past, you floatin, mmmkay,” which he rhymes with “cliche”. Sheer brilliance.
Keep In Touch (I Came From Nothing 2)
Featuring a very unusual instrumental – violin sounds and a voice sample over a rocksteady-tempo beat, “Keep In Touch” is a Young Thug love song. “Ay, Imma ride it like a Kawasaki bike/When you feel down, Imma be the one that make you feel right/Imma flood you in black diamonds, they gon’ think that you a knight,” is as romantic as it gets from Thugger, who is usually quick to proclaim his lack of love for “promiscuous females”. Oh, and he is uncharacteristically easy to understand here, using a slow flow and getting just a little emotional on the chorus.
The Plug (I Came From Nothing 2)
Remember how Young Thug idolizes Lil Wayne? Their voices sound identical on the first verse of “The Plug”. He also shouts out Weezy in one of the lines, calling himself a “motherf*cking Martian”. He transcends back into his own realm in the second verse, though, squawking and spelling words out in his usual fashion. “The Plug” shows Thug’s ability to effortlessly come up with new ideas and styles, which is really the foundation of his talent and soon-to-come stardom.
Nigeria (1017 Thug)
“Nigeria” is where Thug channels his inner “high-on-molly” Nigerian shaman, vomiting out a truly unique chorus. Thug’s fiendish wailing guides the unprepared listener on a journey to Thug’s World. He unapologetically blurts out: “I’m fly as a motherf*cker, put my cape on,” before flying from Nigeria all the way to Siberia. Gucci Mane and Peewee Longway sound rather plain in comparison.
Shooting Star (1017 Thug)
1017 Thug is generally considered Young Thug’s breakout mixtape. It was the first to be released under the 1017 Brick Squad flag and was abundant with bangers. “I done upped my features, I don’t know what to charge today,” speculates the shooting star. This song never achieved the success of Thug’s early songs (“Danny Glover”, “Stoner”, “2 Cups Stuffed”), but its emotional intensity and a dope Gucci Mane-autotune feature make it a very worthy listen.
Bricks (Young Thugga Mane La Flare)
The mentor and the protege make up the duo of two of Atlanta’s hottest on Young Thugga Mane La Flare. Young Thug’s hook and playful, cadence-heavy flow make this uplifting cheerful track, while Guwop shows off his internal rhyme prowess on his verse. This is also the first Young Thug project to feature proper mixing and outstanding production.
Ecstasy Pill (World War III: Lean [Gucci Mane])
This is a solo Young Thug track on a Gucci Mane mixtape and Thugger absolutely kills it. A known advocate of MDMA/molly, Young Thug pays tribute to the substance over a crispy, hypnotic Da Honorable C-Note instrumental. Amped up, he launches an attack at the listener with one of his most dramatic hooks ever, sung and howled at various intensities throughout the song. This is also one o f the first times in his career that he uses a rapid-fire flow, which will later become his trademark on the Slime Season mixtape series.
Fell (DuFlocka Rant 2 [Waka Flocka])
Brick Squad’s all stars team up on this Waka Flocka track, but the Young Thug hook over this pristine-quality Lex Luger production is what really carries this joint. This is also one of the first times Young Thug shows off his hook-writing abilities, for which he will become one of the most demanded artists in the game.
LA Swag (1017 Thug 3)
It’s surprising that this song is not bigger, because this is Thug at his finest.This song foreshadows the style that he perfected on his later mixtapes like Slime Season 1 & 2. Thugger brings perfect cadence and melody on one of DJ Mustard’s more expressive beats, resulting in a perfect, club-moving track.
Calling “Old English” slept-on is a bit of a stretch, but it’s surprising, for sure, that it wasn’t a bigger hit. Here, Thugger teams up with Freddie Gibbs and A$AP Ferg, who were both established artists already, and the song also has a dope artful video with three and a half million views on Youtube. However, it’s surprising that it’s not more popular because this insane grimy and futuristic Salva & Nick Hook piece is one of the most exquisite instrumentals to grace your ears (check out that dramatic piano stab). The hook and the verse is some of Thug’s best work to date. Ferg and Gangsta also provide deadly verses. This track has the potential to turn a kickback to a rager. Yet, it is not considered Young Thug’s magnum opus? Unfair.