The first time I ever heard Young Thug was on Rae Sremmurd’s 2014 hit Throw Some Mo. His guest verse on this song was, at the time, one of the most confusing things I had ever heard. The slurred lyrics he blurted out were almost completely meaningless. His words slithered across the track almost in spite of the beat. But above all, what stood out to me was his voice. Because he had never attached his style to conventional “lyricist” title that plagued some of his peers, Thug could use his voice as an instrument more than anything else. His music evolved, but his voice never faded. It was weird, it was dynamic, and it was beautiful.
Almost four years later and not much has changed when it comes to Young Thug. His music continues to push not only his own limits, but also the limits of hip hop. However, since last year’s Jefferey, Thug’s releases have slowly lost their magic. His last album Beautiful Thugger Girls, was one of the most underwhelming projects he has ever released. And while he continues to shift the genre, his ambitious and risky attempts have struggled to reach high standards set by his own previous works. His music is always changing, but it isn’t always evolving. Sonically, his tapes have shifted his aesthetic, but apart from Jefferey, he hasn’t improved. In that way, Young Martha serves as a course correction; a more focused sound from Thug, paired with intimidating, dramatic, and spiraling production from DJ Carnage.
Thug’s versatility matches up perfectly with DJ Carnage’s off-center beats. The looming organ that thunders on “Homie” pushes Thug to the depths of his vocal range, while the winding keys on “10,000 Slimes” lead him to a stringy falsetto. In Carnage’s collaborations with other artists, his production has often taken center stage. Each beat was a weird and unique look at the man who created them, but the artists rapping over them weren’t always able to match up. On Martha however, Thug’s rebellious hooks and slithering vocals are up to the challenge. The result is an EP that excellently mirrors the chaotic genius of both parties. Across four songs (and one insanely hypnotizing music video), Young Thug and Carnage prove that they are a force to be reckoned with.
According to DJ Carnage, the Young Martha EP is just the first installment in what will become a series of collaborations between him and Thug. Young Martha may only be four songs, but it points to a brighter future for both artists involved.
By: Mike Miller