EP Review: “On the Rvn” by Young Thug
Description: Jeffery Williams, aka Young Thug, is a 27-year old hip hop artist, singer, songwriter and record producer from Atlanta, Georgia. He is known for his unique vocal inflections and versatile range. He has never officially released a studio album, just a lot (and I mean a lot) of mixtapes. He first gained popularity with his debut tape, Barter 6, in April 2015. He followed that up with several mixtapes in 2016 (I’m Up, Slime Season 3 and Jeffery). He has also made quite the name for himself through his eccentric fashion style, regularly dressing himself in women’s clothing. In my opinion, we will look back at Young Thug as being one of the most influential artists ever in hip hop. On The Run is Thug’s most recent EP.
Final Thoughts: With Thug currently in the midst of some legal issues, he took full advantage of this time to drop a mini project in the form of this EP. As always, Thug has had a busy year, whether it be features or dropping his own project (Slime Language). Obviously, this 6-track project was surprise to all fans, but also not really as Thug never seems to have an agenda; he simply releases his music as he pleases. Going into this, I wasn’t expecting a ton as his most recent project was pretty underwhelming. But man was I wrong on this one! There is not a single track on here that is not excellent. Whether it be the illuminating and euphoric “High” (previously known as “Rocket Man” via Soundcloud) or the sexy “Climax”, or even the intro trap banger, “On the Run”, this project represents everything I’ve come to love about Young Thug. In just 6 tracks, he’s able to seamlessly showcase what makes him so unique: clever wordplay, varying cadences, high-pitched vocals and off the wall production primarily from London On Da Track.
Let’s start with the intro: “On the Run.” This is a fitting introduction in terms of Thug’s current personal state. He has been dealing with potential jail time after being caught having possession of meth, hydrocodone, amphetamine and a firearm, so he’s been ‘on the run’ from jail ever since. It’s a solid trap banger. Then there’s “Icey,” which is typical Thugger boasting about his fine jewelry and women, but his flow is what sets this track apart. He has this unique way of making songs his own by using his voice act as the instrument to the extreme. At times, his lyrics don’t mean anything, but simply act to create certain sounds to compliment the track they’re laid on, and “Icey” is a prime example. To end his first verse on the song, he raps, “All my girlfriends are real done, oh yeah, yeah, yeah/ I told them baby don’t waste my time, oh yeah, yeah, yeah/ I put your ring on rocks, uh, yeah, yeah, yeah/ Woah, I told the bitch I want icey teeth.” No clue what this means, and I doubt there’s any double meaning here. The words are there to simply add to the aesthetic of the song, nothing more.
Now this next track was highly anticipated by me once I saw the track list prior to actually hearing the project. 6LACK has turned into one of my favorite current R&B voices, even though his latest project underwhelmed me, but that’s a different conversation. This, however, is a flawless song. It’s the perfect mesh of the moodiness of 6LACK and the electricity that is Young Thug. The song touches on women finding better pleasure in other men:
“You said no interest, said you found a better climax/ You said he’s swagged out, you leave/ It’s like a shot to the back/ Through the nose of a barrel/ For you don’t want to go/ But leave, like it’s nothing.”
6LACK chimes in on verse two: “She take my heart then drive back/ One, two, three, four, five, damn/ Deleting pictures off the gram/ You forgot who I am/ From the front seats to the nosebleeds/ That’s for acting like you don’t know me.” After his massive success from his debut album, 6LACK’s girlfriend probably experienced some newfound perks that came along with music success, so by him saying “from the front seats to the nosebleeds,” they’re no longer together, she can’t enjoy those luxuries anymore.
“Sin” is the first collab between Thug and Jaden Smith, and it’s a goodie. Thug comes through with sort of monotone vocals that go along nicely with Jaden’s typical melodic flow. It would seem the two artists came together on this track during J. Cole’s KOD Tour, as both were involved in opening for Cole night after night. “I’m drippin’ again/ The way I be drippin’ should be a sin.” Thug suggests in the chorus of this track that his wealth and success is so great that it should be a sin. Jaden comes in on verse two: “See all the wings in front, it’s us/ We had to triple the digits/ See all those sexy mamas blowing kisses, man/ We had to grant all they wishes/ Casamigos got me spinnin’/ But I want some spending some out with some dealers/ Let’s go.” Again, Jaden just adds to the theme of the song with his line, “see all the wings in front, it’s us”, suggesting him and Thug are such influences in their genre that their net worth is only going up from here. “Real In My Veins” is purely a great song for Thug’s fast, triplet flow on verse 1. It’s so contagious! It’s also a great verse as he spits on his upbringing and continues the theme of his influence from the previous track.
Now to the final track, “High.” As of now, this song stands as a top 5 Thugger song for me. If you don’t listen to any of this project, make sure you at least give this one a try. No other rapper in the industry would attempt to rap over a classic Elton John, except for Thug. Initially titled “Rocket Man” on Soundcloud, this song shows off Thug’s versatility through his ability to sing and rap over ambient sounds. In the song, he looks towards the future, in both his music career and personal life. He believes this is only the beginning of what’s to come for him. Not only that, but he’s been dealing with an up-and-down relationship with how now fiancee, Jerrika Karlae. At the end of verse 2, Thug sings, “She let me back in like she never cried/ She let me back in like I never lied.” Thug admits here that he made some crucial mistakes during their relationship, but she’s allowed him back into her life and now he looks forward to their marriage. “And I’m gonna be hi-i-i-i-i-i-i-igh/ I’m a rocket man.” The chorus of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” speaks to Thug’s view that his career is only going to go up from here, as he refers to himself as a rocket man.
And that concludes this 22-minute EP! It’s such an enjoyable listen and something I sure wasn’t anticipating to love so much. I just hope that in the future, Thug can concisely put together a project that is packed with tracks like this. In the past, his projects have been scattered with amazing songs and very mediocre songs. If he took his time putting together one coherent project, I firmly believe he could make a classic hip hop record, and this EP solidified that belief.
Favorite Tracks: High, Icey, Climax, Real In My Veins