Album Review: Young Thug – ‘Business Is Business’

Posted: by The Editor

Young Thug, following up his YSL cohort (and, outrageously, co-defendant) Gunna’s fantastic solo joint, produces its antithesis; the elder statesman of the label weaves together classic Jeffery flippancy with typical animated delivery. The added context of Business Is Business cannot be ignored; on the first track, a frontloaded lyrical Drake “slime[s] on your head—Nickelodeon time,” before we are greeted with a seeming call from a Cobb County Adult Detention Facility Inmate called Jeffrey, who’s “pushing more Peter / more sweeter, and / more completer than any Peter pusher around.” Thugger immediately jumps in, declaring “Spider back, I’m a big dog, you a cat!” “Parade on Cleveland” (executed as “Bleveland” by Drake and Travis Scott later) slides, endomorphic, into “Money on the Dresser,” a JEFFERY-era sing-song Thugger track. Here we get the entire vocal range of the famously mercurial rapper, from his bass to the chipmunk ad-libs sprinkled throughout. Two track in and it’s breathless.

Momentum slightly slows at “Gucci Grocery Bag,” a catchy if uninspiring ditty. Then, the icy chords strum: on “Cars Bring Me Out,” a Wheezy-produced banger, Thugger toys with his cadence, producing a memorable, melodic chorus. Future, ever a faithful Doc Holliday, provides a fantastic back-up rap both sides of the central chorus, layering marzipan bars between delicate lyrical wafers. “Wit Da Racks” shows Thugger again at his best, delivering a rapid verse and chorus before 21, Yak Gotti, and Travis Scott deal a triple combo. Scott especially stands out with an alchemic verse that defines the track. 

Any fans of the true mercurial, modulating Young Thug of years past (JEFFERY, Slime Season 3, etc.) will appreciate “Uncle M,” Thugger’s homage to Uncle Murda. Stretching his vocal chords on an ominous and rubiconal MetroBoomin beat, Young Thug booms across the track, commanding a perfect melody while balancing a masterful flow and cadence. 

Present on the “Metro’s Version” of the album is “Money,” a retro Charlie Heat-produced absolute banger. Despite my objections to the acontextual quoted Monty Python lyrics, this song whips. Thugger comes strong, singing his ass off for the potential song of the summer. JuiceWRLD provides immediate support, lacing his patented honeyed bars. Nicki Minaj, queen of the overshadowing feature delivers again, dropping a majestic verse befitting Roman-era Barbie herself. Again, I have to ask: is there a feature verse on which Nicki doesn’t steal the show? I’ve yet to hear one! Thugger returns for a fantastic final verse but the coffin is sealed: this is a killer track.

Other notable tracks include “Hellcat Kenny,” an Uzi-juiced banger with some fantastic lyrics—please check them out for yourself, “Want Me Dead,” a 21 Savage-assisted dunk on the corrupt criminal justice system, and “Mad Dog,” a vibrant and raw track we may not have seen from a less experienced version of this very same artist. A modern Mozart at work, Young Thug continues to loom large in the modern musical scene thanks to consistently iconic releases. Amerikkkan “justice” is foiled, at least for now. Free Young Thug, Gunna, and YSL. Slime life.

Disappointing / Average / Good / Great Phenomenal

Hanson Egerland | @pseudodiscourse

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