by Adam Brill ’17
Feel that? It’s oozing and coagulating in your head. It’s running and dripping out of your ears and down your spine. You think, either I’m on Nickelodeon’s “Slime Time Live” or Young Thug has dropped his tight new mixtape, Slime Season 3. Due to the fact that it’s not 2003 and you probably aren’t famous, you assume Thug’s up to some shit.
Man, what the hell is Young Thug up to? Everyone likes to complain about Yeezy’s constant tweaking of The Life of Pablo, but his creative process seems linear compared to the mysterious Young Thug. Ever since the release of his tightly executed debut mixtape Barter 6, Thug’s output has been massive and chaotic. Slime Seasons 1 and 2 were bloated examples of Thug’s lawless creative process. Their highlights get bogged down in the longwinded nature of the projects.
The release of Slime Season 3 came with some bizarre background. Thug himself released a manifesto titled “Slime Season: the Eulogy” on his website, which details how his records were stolen. Tons of bootlegged Thug tracks were aimlessly floating through the internet ether before the release of any formal mixtape. In the eulogy, Thug talks about how laments that he’s lost all this money and hard work. Thug just wants to be able to release his mixtape the way he wants his fans to hear it. The result of all this chaos is one of Thug’s tightest projects. At just 8 tracks, Slime Season 3 lacks the bloat and excess of Slime Seasons 1 and 2.
Slime is an appropriate term for Thug. His latest mixtape showcases how his style is both repulsive and seductive. Like most of Thug’s other projects, the beats on Slime Season 3 leave him a lot of melodic space. The beats are frequently repetitive and stagnant. The production, at its best, leaves room for Thug’s flamboyant style to shine. His flow, like slime, oozes, flows, and drips through the syrupy textures of his background beats. Thug is entirely in his own world in terms of what “flow” even means. The songs are filled with playful wordplay and clever one-liners, while also venturing out into bizarre croons.
What makes Slime Season 3 so exciting is its glimpses into a more personal version of Young Thug. While like “With Them” and “Drippin” feature bass drenched production and Thug relentlessly laying on cocky flow, some of the slower and more ethereal tracks find Thug in a more vulnerable place. Thug’s flow is the most captivating when the whines and drawls seem to dry out. One of the more captivating example of this happens in the track “Slime Shit.” In the chorus, Thug strains to deliver the typical rap platitude “Bitch I’m stupid rich.” It’s a powerful moment as Thug’s bravado seems to wear. Hip-hop, since the 90’s, has always been about constructing a self. The self Thug constructs for himself is a confusing one. Upon first listen, it always seems like Thug is just another rapper playing into the hypermasculine and ruthless aesthetic that has been so prevalent in hip-hop since the 80’s. However, there’s something so bizarre and out there about Thug’s image and flow. Thug’s style of singing is high pitched and piercing. Even in the shower, I would be embarrassed to sing like Thug does. But Thug rocks this vulnerable high register like Yung Lean rocks some expensive designer sweatpants (against a vomit inducing vaporwave backdrop.) Thug’s delivery is almost feminine, but his production and lyrics have always seemed to pander back to hip-hop’s historical mainstream. Thug’s originality and weirdness are always exciting and could never have existed in a time other than right now. Slime Season 3 showcases all of Thug’s thrills and skills. It’s littered with bassy bangers while also leaving room for moments of intimacy and vulnerability. It benefits a lot from its short length. The listener can fully dive into Thug’s experimentation without getting bored by his repetition. Highly recommended.