Over the past decade the capital of the US state of Georgia, has taken on the titles of “Black Hollywood” and “Black Mecca”. The city’s success, particularly in the entertainment industry, can be partly attributed to the fast growth of the Trap rap scene.
In the early 2000’s the scene was dominated by Gucci Mane before the rise of other artists like 2 Chainz. More recently some of Atlanta’s exports have become the biggest artists in the world, including Future and Young Thug. Thug specifically has made a big name for himself thanks to his unorthodox approach to trap and very different style to the other artists associated with the genre. His high pitched, raspy vocals have left a huge impression on the scene and found him success worldwide. He has released multiple albums/mixtapes and scored a huge hit as a featured artist on Jamie XX’s single ‘There’s Gonna Be Good Times’.
One major criticism of Thug, and the trap scene in general, is its formulaic nature, partially due to its over reliance on major producers, such as Metro Boomin. I’m Up (only having its title recently changed from “Slime Season 3”) was another potential opportunity for Thug to mould the trap scene around him, however, the lack of much notable development in I’m Up compared to Barter 6 – which was a far more experimental affair – and Slime Seasons 1 and 2 raise questions about his growth. Thugger’s lyrics and delivery, as ever, are more adventurous and challenging than other trap artists – see ‘Ridin’ where he claims “I could fuck a bitch on a bus, now she Rosa Parks,” – but still he rarely strays from the standard discussion of women, money, and drugs. Thug also ignores potential opportunities to widen his conversation in tracks like the single ‘F Cancer (Boosie) featuring, Quavo’ where the chance to tackle the difficult subject of a friends (fellow rapper Boosie) cancer diagnosis is passed up after a few sentences to return to the aforementioned subjects.
Thug’s talent, delivery and overall brand is undeniable and at only 9 songs long I’m Up is one of his most concise and well-rounded works to date. Given how much he has shaken up the trap world with his unique flare and style, further development and breaking of the mould in the soon-to-be-released Slime Season 3 could see him become a real modern icon of the Atlanta scene – if he chooses to take the opportunity.