Once upon a time, the Wu Tang Clan was for the children. Those children have grown and are now paying mortgages, visiting farmers’ markets, and watching Showtime’s The Affair. As hip-hop has aged, early fans of the art form have aged with it, and some have become staunchly set in their ways, discrediting any contemporary rap that doesn’t pay homage to or sound exactly like the golden age of the genre (the 90’s). This is a dangerous game to play and one that aligns the old-school mentality with that of old rock ‘n’ rollers who are yelling at the clouds because they don’t like what’s popular (read: unfamiliar) now. The greatest example of this type of lightning rod in hip-hop today is Atlanta rap wunderkind Young Thug.
Young Thug’s voice is a vessel of human expression, akin to Da Vinci’s paintbrush, Hendrix’s guitar, or The Rock’s eyebrow. To attempt to corral it within the realm of socially acceptable culture is a fool’s errand. His point of view and lyrical stylings are like nothing we’ve seen before — a hedonist with the oral skills of a caffeinated auctioneer. These attributes are mostly lost on older generations of rap fans, though, with Young Thug falling into the category of things only young people seem to understand, like Snapchat or proper emoji use. In 2016, Young Thug is for the children, but he doesn’t have to be just for them. Assembled before you is a guide to eight Young Thug songs that can serve as a jumping-off point for any adults looking for a way in, a pu pu platter if you will. Kids, show your parents. Confused parents, recall that you let Frank Zappa happen, and listen up.