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Young Thug’s ‘So Much Fun’ really is so much fun

Though Young Thug may have over a dozen mixtapes in his discography, “So Much Fun” is the effervescent Atlanta-based rapper’s debut studio album, as well as his most commercially successful project so far. Originally released on the rapper’s 28th birthday back in August 2019, “So Much Fun” was unconventional for precisely how conventional it felt. In his nearly decade-long career, Thugger, as the rapper is also known, has established a reputation for himself as a brilliantly conceptual, experimental and eccentric rapper. “So Much Fun” was a notably vanilla release, significantly less weird and less innovative than his other works. And, as explained in an interview on the “No Jumper” podcast, that was exactly the rapper’s intent: “It’s not even a point to the songs. All the songs are like turn up, club, radio… parade music… It ain’t no storylines to it.”

That said, the album never veers into the territory of boring or generic. As the title suggests, Thugger has a clear purpose here: having fun. The beats are lively and groovy, with nearly every track maintaining a high level of energy. And I like to imagine that Young Thug was just shooting the sh*t with friends while creating the album––it’s altogether more cheeky than anything. On “Lil Baby,” Thugger shouts out 20 of his musical peers, including Drake, Migos and rising star Roddy Ricch. On “Sup Mate,” he and Future bounce off one another in an ecstatic daze, “I’m so high, all I can say is ‘Woo, woo, woo’ / I can’t talk, I barely could say ‘Woo, woo, woo.’”  

In fact, all the album’s features are well done or, at the very least, entertaining. On “What’s the Move,” rapper Lil Uzi Vert reflects on his famous trendsetting fashion style: “Drip, drip, no shoestring my sneaker, won’t trip / My jeans is so tight they don’t fit.” The penultimate track “Boy Back” has Nav, a Canadian artist of Punjabi descent, melodizing “Ever since Tap-Tap-Tap, I feel like the brown boy back-back-back.” Of course, there are the hits you’ve already heard; “Hot” with Gunna, “Bad Bad Bad” with Lil Baby and “The London” with J. Cole and Travis Scott were all instant chart toppers upon their release, and they showcase Thugger and his friends flexing their lavish lifestyles, deftly juggling references to Cartier jewelry, Bentleys, Pateks, Birkin bags and so much more. In any case, the guest appearances do well to add some sonic diversity to the album while still maintaining compatibility with Young Thug’s sound.

In December 2019, a few months after the initial drop of “So Much Fun,” Young Thug released the album’s deluxe version, gifting us with five additional songs that maintained the convivial spirit of the original release. “Diamonds,” another collaboration between Young Thug and Gunna, makes use of a grittier, dirtier-sounding production to foreground lighthearted, playful lyrics that flaunt material wealth. It’s the perfect juxtaposition to the next track, the tonally bouncy, breezy, vacation-ready collab with Travis Scott, “Hop Off a Jet.” Next, Thugger spits solo “Die Today” and “Millions,” comically rapping on the former “I’m fresh as a peppermint / A green and white peppermint” and utilizing unique string instrumentals in the production of the latter. The deluxe edition also includes “Hot (Remix),” now featuring Travis Scott in addition to Gunna, in which La Flame offers a bonus third verse to an already… fire song (pun intended!).

Though this may be the least novel of Young Thug’s releases, there are, naturally, still hints of Thugger’s typical weirdness scattered throughout the album. For one, all the songs are colored by the rapper’s trademark warbled, slurred mouthfuls. On “Cartier Gucci Scarf,” Thugger adopts his throaty, gravelly, Cookie Monster voice, which he has previously explored on some of his older songs, including 2016’s “Harambe” and 2017’s “Homie.” There are hilarious ad-libs, too, like on the beachy, summer-y track “Surf” when Thugger yells out “Swiffer surfin’” and “Totally, dude!” Or, on “Lil Baby,” when Thugger shouts “young sex,” an ad-lib he has used ever his 2018 Twitter announcement that he was “changing” his name to SEX.
To be clear, although “So Much Fun” refrains from excessive experimentation, it’s neither lazy nor low effort. Thugger maintains a reliable flow throughout, and the beats are always solid. In fact, it’s commendable that every song is consistently good on such a large (24-track) project. With this accessible, pop-friendly album, the eccentric, almost-camp rap icon has maneuvered his way into the mainstream––and, given all his contributions to the genre, he is more than deserving of this broader commercial recognition. To that end, “So Much Fun” is best enjoyed in the company of others, perfect to show to any friend who’s looking for an approachable introduction to Young Thug’s music or to use as the soundtrack to your next Friday night out. Like Thugger said in his “No Jumper” interview,“If you not having fun or in a fun mood, don’t even play this album.”

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