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Album Review: Young Thug - JEFFERY

By Diana Powers, Contributor

[300 Entertainment; 2016]

Rating: 8.5/10

Key Tracks: “Wyclef Jean,” “RiRi”

Young Thug is arguably the most unique hip-hop act to come out of Atlanta since Outkast. His androgynous look and unique sound push the limits of mainstream hip-hop, never giving the public what is expected. JEFFERY is no exception to Thug’s boundary-pushing endeavors. Prior to release, Jeffery caused an Internet stir with his possible name change (is he Jeffrey or Young Thug?) and choice of sporting a ruffled gown on the cover art. His third release of 2016 after February’s I’m Up and March’s Slime Season 3, JEFFERY covers ground that no other Thug project has. JEFFERY is Thug’s most eclectic project to date, demonstrating his chameleon-like ability to sound at home with almost any musical style.

Reggae-influenced instrumentals on “Wyclef Jean” sets the album up for a strong start. Infectiously catchy, “Wyclef Jean” demonstrates Thug’s talent for writing clever hooks and situates itself as a standout track.

Thug’s vision and talents shine on another standout track, “RiRi,” which is Thug at his best; barely comprehensible verses, deranged vocalizations, and possibly one of the catchiest hooks in recent hip-hop history. Thug’s repetition of the word “earn” in the chorus sounds more seal-like than human, yet he is able to pull of the oftentimes absurd vocals, a feat that is mastered throughout JEFFERY.

In the comically titled “Harambe,” Thug’s voice is pushed to its limit, almost as though it is about to give out. The track’s dark instrumentals along with its gritty vocals make “Harambe” one of Thug’s most aggressive songs to date.

Where JEFFERY falls short is in its lyrical substance. Lyrically, Thug does not stray too far from discussion of sex and money, particularly on the track “Floyd Mayweather,” where he raps, “I’ma nut in all these hoes, let’s have some chicks.” However, Thug’s captivating use of his voice makes it virtually unnecessary to even understand his lyrics to enjoy the album.

JEFFERY situates Thug as one of the most talented mainstream hip-hop artists currently on the scene with the ability to camouflage into virtually any style while maintaining his individuality. Thug uses his voice in creative ways: cracking, sliding, and straining on almost every track. JEFFERY signifies a new era for Young Thug, and could possibly be the last time he is even known as “Young Thug”. As an artist that keeps audiences guessing, it is impossible to predict where Young Thug will venture next.

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