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July 24, 2017 | by  | in Music |
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Let’s start by being honest here.

Country rap is one of the worst concepts ever thought up. They don’t mesh well. I don’t care what you think about that one Nelly/Tim McGraw track, it’s absolutely terrible. Stylistically, the two genres could not be any further apart. So when Thug announced his next album was going to be full on country, I was skeptical to say the least.

This fear of mine was compounded when Thug said this was going to be his singing album. While I don’t think there’s anything wrong with rappers branching out into singing (see 808s and Heartbreaks) it’s an inherently risky move that can easily turn a fan base against an artist.

The big day came. I saw the cover. And I’m not going to mince words — it’s fucking terrible. Badly photoshopped, blurring into a dark scene with mannequins. Thug is holding an acoustic guitar upside down. Lord give me strength.

And then to my surprise, he did. The first track on the album “Family Don’t Matter” fucking blew me away. The guitar riffs aren’t particularly experimental or anything, but they’re country to the core. Thugger yells YEEHAW. Absolutely nothing about this combination should work, but together the trap beat, the acoustic guitar, Thug half mumbling/singing, and Millie Go Lightly create something incredible that I never expected.

It is a bit of a shame, because “Family Don’t Matter” is such a strong song that it somewhat overshadows the other tracks on the mixtape. “For Y’all” with its Latin guitar would be so incredibly strong as a single released earlier, and “Take Care”, the album closer, is a fantastic EDM track that would see a huge amount of radio play as a loosie.

But it speaks to the strength of the project that I can pick tracks off the album that could easily succeed as a single on their own. As a project, this is Young Thug at his most comfortable. The entire album is experimental when it comes to both Young Thug’s sound, and what works with trap music in general. As a rapper who has always pushed boundaries, this type of project is something he is clearly very happy to be doing, and it shows.

Thug’s singing, too, was a lot better than expected. He hits his notes, and if it’s autotuned, it sounds remarkably natural. Perhaps it’s something I should have seen coming, given I thought his performance on Kanye’s “Highlights” was one of the high points of the The Life of Pablo. He displays a range I didn’t know was in him, and manages to create one of the more decent sounding country albums I’ve heard, even if we ignore all the trap elements.

I think the best way to describe this album is just fun. Everything about this is entertaining. Thug’s (warranted) obsession with oral care, “I love her so you know I got her flossing”, to the genuinely hilarious country lines, “Country Billy got a couple millie”, combined with some of the most inventive sounds I’ve heard out of Atlanta over the last couple of years, this album is just straight bop-able.

I’ll fully accept that this album isn’t for everyone. It’s an absolutely ridiculous concept, and at times the execution isn’t as perfect as it could be, and when those moments crop up it’s very obvious. If you didn’t like Thug on his earlier work, this album probably isn’t going to be for you.

But when BEAUTIFUL THUGGER GIRLS finds its stride, the effect is incredible.

So hitch up ya horses, slap on some chaps or something, this is the album to get you through those cold nights out on the trail.


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