Arts

Future, Young Thug’s ‘SUPER SLIMEY’ displays adaptation, lacks complexity

Future's distinct beats envelope listeners within his world, while Young Thug brings bursts of energy that incorporate personal depth.

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Trap music begins between zones and moves cross-country. After releasing two solo projects earlier this year, Future and Young Thug finally comes together on one project like a team line-up and brings the music industry back down south. SUPER SLIMEY debuted this past weekend from Atlanta rappers Future and Young Thug. Survival-like adaptation takes us between Codeine syrup, Percocet conversation and weekly exchange. The newly-released mixtape captures Atlanta’s continued legacy and the trivial parts that create the greatest resilience from the studio to the streets. Often overlooked, a quickly-paced mixtape runs from beginning to end on two separate missions, maintaining momentum like pythons and attacking multiple times.

On a forgetful, and perhaps necessary, joint tape, Future and Thug compete on an applause-worthy release. After a successful year for each rapper respectively, the smoke settles just in time for musical brotherhood to begin again. Future proudly played Pluto chief in his previous album FUTURE, a demonic hustle and a constant grounding point for humble beginnings built on skill and tactic. The need to survive becomes his best and worst enemy, a constant battle between his lavish lifestyle and the multiple repercussions that take control of him. Similarly, HNDRXX explains the beginning, the continued hustle and the distractions lost between connection and feeling. Thug released Beautiful Thugger Girls and Young Martha, an easy way of extending chaos and compelling self-discovery and two distinct reminders to never place artists in one category. The major flaws of coping begin at different levels. For some, it is neither the monetary nor emotional effects that consume us but the repeated relapse of needing possessions and constant fulfillment, even if it doesn’t last. In a strange year, 2017 combines some of music’s biggest names for 40 minutes in their search for independence. These feelings, more often than not, have driven the rap industry for years through competition and instinct. Knowing when music becomes business and undeniably keeps claiming prototypes within a never-ending cycle is precisely why Future and Thug continue to claim chart-topping hits. Reinvention upkeeps SUPER SLIMEY and we again witness the existing royalties continuously emerging from the southside of Atlanta.

“No Cap” sets us off on an obviously Future-selected beat. With no hesitation, FUTURE clearly expressed loose commitment to relationships; here, he lets his exaggerated lifestyle continue all year: “My bitch can’t sleep at my house / Make her sleep at a hotel now / And when you talk, man, you talking off cap.” Young Thug’s energy shies from meeting Future on his Codeine-covered pedestal. Thugger unequivalently encounters an experienced Future in his element. A “Digital Dash” extension, Thug’s slower flow times itself out. This is a battle that Future undeniably wins on a southside production and a beat that could stand alone or simply claim ownership from solely Future.

Pace pulses quickly between Thug and his reminiscent cadance of Slime Season. On a hyperactive flow, “Three” delivers an active and lively Thug holding his own. His natural knack of rap singing has and continues to work in his favor. Manipulation works for Thug like a mistress; his overextension gives us a compelling claim at formlessness, a long time-loop generally similar to many of his past verses as he raps, “Inside the whips come red like ketchup (Yeah) / Count this money up with glasses like a miser (Yeah),” consistently claiming his multiple conquests in women, jewels and cars. Future easily flows on a DY 808 Mafia and southside-produced beat. It is surprising to see how much influence producers give to the music industry’s biggest names. To those like Future and Thug alike, a well-produced beat can seamlessly alter the doubtful motives or unimpressionable lyrics. Ironically, competition continues from Future’s opening line, “I got more rings than you got hoes, bro / I bought my BM a Bentley with the wings, yeah.” Reverb returns and claims a seemingly similar stream of consciousness. Almost at the same moment in time, unequally prominent, Future and Young Thug speak the same topics and mumble between bass fillers for a quick beat that is easily forgettable and distilled.

The fire sets as the wood burns down. A slow build-up begins before the first pass in “All Da Smoke,” where collaboration finally feels right. Here, the clubs close at the peak of morning. Once the vices fade away, Future carries history like scars. He finds the dangers of staying afloat are being saved by his music. A tempo flows freely between the work and forgetful nights; here, the dangers have changed but the stakes are just as high: “Left out of school, start selling rocks, bought me a drop (skrt) / Cartier frames, Cartier rings, Cartier socks (on God).” Thugger’s ad-libs support a refined Future and deliver a prospective favorite on the radio — maybe the next “Bad & Boujee.”

A piano sample captures the rewired production. Thug ironically raps, “I only drink Activist / I’m on a diet.” It would seem that Thugger leaps from here and there, quickly committing and leaving one topic for the next. “200” reaches success, exclusively for comfort and stability. Future and Thug align their perceivable power to achieve everything they want and continue this like tradition — keeping women around for show, selling a lifestyle boasted on unaccountability and adamantly stacking their money nonetheless. A solo Young Thug brags about stealing a yacht on “Cruise Ship,” an adrenaline shot from JEFFERY. Thin drums carry a rather easily produced beat as we hear Thug secure all his ice, riding quotable lines with no true direction. “Patek Water” includes the only feature on the project from Offset. An Atlanta native, Offset racks another impressive verse on an underwhelming beat. Almost lifeless, a bland performance fails to connect the trio and ultimately does not live up to the hype.

In a quick and haunting build up, you can smell the residue of dope somewhere between the dual harmonies and damaged history of a casual Future. In classic-like trap, Future gives fans a typical fool element in “Feed Me Dope,” and the greatest incentive to upkeep the drugs even if the addiction isn’t your own. By this point, a moderately entertaining mixtape fails to reach a central reason and instead hovers between two artists and their claimed clout. For myself, and other critical listeners, SUPER SLIMEY captures attention but does not claim full-focus delivery. Struggling to sing, Future overuses auto-tone on a drowning “Real Love” trap beat, but for Thug, his sonic-like flow floats ghostly as Future ad-libs betrayal on a heavy heartbeat with a capturing chorus, “All this fake love got me damaged.” Conversation doesn’t seem to settle for a scornful Future and, instead, he reveals why the same reasons he must go are the same reasons he still thinks about her in every element as he raps, “If you woulda took the flesh out me (took the flesh out me) / You woulda ran off with it and tried to convince me it was karma (I bet she love).”

Magic mistakes itself for commitment when the words feel right. In “Killed Before,” a personal favorite, Thug seems to channel Wyclef and succeeds in slowing down the currency of time. A foundation for Thug’s transformation and a breath of fresh air, it would seem that Thug feels more in his element when the honesty is transparent. Perhaps the guitar strings and extended ad-libs are where he finds a completely new world, with all of him in it. “Group Home” pulls the darkest moments in production and temporally pieces the stitches from years of wounds and battle. Here, Future crawls from his skin every time he reminisces on his past life. Similar to the way he maintains growth in a musically draining industry, Thugger adds a capturing, Codeine-like sound in a never-ending pool of trap and repeat.

Future and Thug’s SUPER SLIMEY is a good attempt at connection. Undeniably an underwhelming release, there are a few potential chart-topping hits. You could say the lack of promotion or visual releases are reflective of the chemistry between the two, but the joint tape reveals the elements that have kept each artist respectively in their own lane. Thug brings a power-like dynamic, frequently bursting energy and drawing inspiration from a well known subject matter — himself. Future continues bringing us closer to the world around him, the ins and outs of his relationships and the success of his Pluto-like demeanor. More importantly, both solo tracks featured on the mixtape remind us that both artists work better in their own element. For the culture, SUPER SLIMEY has worthwhile moments and significantly continues to alter what rap music means today. Separately, the talent is mistakenly overlooked. Together, the music doesn’t hold the same complexity it should. It is perhaps not the most fulfilling joint mixtape of the year, but the highs and lows of the Atlanta-born rappers search for new a crossroad and come together for 13 quick reasons.

Grade: B-

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