13 Songs, 51 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Barter 6 was billed first as Young Thug’s debut album, then a retail mixtape; either way, the 2015 release was the sharpest, clearest statement yet from Atlanta’s most enigmatic rapper. From the gently rippling intro, “Constantly Hating,” to the swirling, cathartic haze of “Just Might Be,” Thug contorts his voice into endless shapes and pulls previously unheard harmonies out of his back pocket. “Check” is a giddy celebration of success, and “Halftime” is rap as high-wire routine: a technical performance as reckless as it is graceful.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Barter 6 was billed first as Young Thug’s debut album, then a retail mixtape; either way, the 2015 release was the sharpest, clearest statement yet from Atlanta’s most enigmatic rapper. From the gently rippling intro, “Constantly Hating,” to the swirling, cathartic haze of “Just Might Be,” Thug contorts his voice into endless shapes and pulls previously unheard harmonies out of his back pocket. “Check” is a giddy celebration of success, and “Halftime” is rap as high-wire routine: a technical performance as reckless as it is graceful.

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About Young Thug

You don’t get a lot of warning for an artist like Young Thug. From his warped delivery to his radical, gender-fluid fashion sense, the Atlanta rapper (born Jeffery Lamar Williams in 1991) flies in the face of every unspoken rule for what hip-hop is, should, and could be. Starting with a prolific run of mixtapes in the early 2010s, Thug rose by pioneering a weird, ever-shifting flow somewhere between singing, rapping, mumbling, and squawking—pushing rap forward by pulling it apart. But the weirdest thing about what he does is that it works: Nearly every project Thug’s released since 2015—from the reggae-inflected JEFFREY to the country-ish sides of Beautiful Thugger Girls—has cracked the mainstream, laying the groundwork for a new crop of fellow eccentrics like Lil Uzi Vert and Playboi Carti. In other words, Thug hasn’t adjusted to convention but brought convention to him. Genuinely experimental, he frames his process in modest terms: “I’m in the studio so much, I’ll just try stuff,” he told The FADER in 2013. “I just think and try, think and try.”

HOMETOWN
Atlanta, GA
BORN
August 9, 1991

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