Published Feb 08, 2016At this point it's nearly impossible to avoid comparing Young Thug and Future: the two Atlanta-based masters of melodic trap each dropped a trio of excellent solo projects in 2015, and have now released a fresh project within 24 hours of each other. But unlike Future, whose new top-notch project EVOL doubled down on his melancholic strengths, Thugga has offered up a half-baked album that largely neglects his improvisational dexterity.
I'm Up is serviceable: tracks like "Fuck Cancer," "King TROUPE" and "Hercules" exude the classic Young Thug ethos, combining a vast assortment of croons, yelps and lyrical esotericism. But with the exception of Lil Durk's two verses, Thugga's extensive assortment of guests here falls flat, causing the second half of the tape to drag. Expectations for collaborations were probably set far too high with Rich Homie Quan, Young Thug's estranged partner in Rich Gang.
It's not as if Thugga doesn't have the resources, though. He's rumoured to have recorded 40 tracks with Kanye in addition to having a collaborative album with Migos ready in the chamber, and the production on the three-track wave from "For My People" to "Ridin," with carefully subtle beat-making complementing Young Thug's unprecedented moments of introspection (think his declaration of being "ready to die for my people" and plea to "stop it, stop the killing") — is powerful shit.
At best, we can hope Slime Season 3 — which Young Thug has promised via Instagram is on the way — represents a more thoughtful product throughout, matching the energy of the first two entries in the series. Otherwise, Future might have definitively snatched the crown. (Atlantic Records / 300 Entertainment)