Jeffery Lamar Williams first gained traction in the game in 2013, when his debut single “Stoner” was everywhere and being remixed by everybody (which he did not like), as well as another fan favorite, “Danny Glover”. Everything went to new heights, however, when Thug connected with Birdman and Rich Homie Quan and formed the Rich Gang collective. Together, they made their beloved but overrated song “Lifestyle”, which would skyrocket both of the young rappers’ careers. While Quan was seen as the artist who would go further in his career, Thugger was a very polarizing figure. On one hand, here’s a fresh new voice in rap that has some great hit-making potential. On the other, this fresh new voice is just another “mumble rapper” that’s just another unnecessary voice in the game. In three years he probably won’t even be relevant anyway…
Well, THAT prediction didn’t age well at ALL. Since then, Quan has unfortunately fallen off the mainstream map, whereas Young Thug evolved into one of the most influential artists of his generation. In the years after “Lifestyle”, Thug birthed the Slime Season trilogy and transformed into a star. In 2016 he released his debut album, Jeffery, and started his own label imprint, YSL Records (not to be confused with the clothing brand of the same name). The next year, he released Beautiful Thugger Girls, including a collaborative mixtape with Future, and crossed over into pop music, securing a feature on Camilla Cabello’s number one song “Havana”. After releasing a compilation album in 2018 with his YSL signees, Lil Baby and Gunna among them, he celebrated his birthday by dropping his first solo project in 3 years, So Much Fun. All this, plus his label releasing a sequel to their Slime Language project earlier this year, AND being featured on two of the biggestprojects this year, has led to him releasing his third project, Punk.
P.S. I’m listening to this album without knowing the features.
1. Die Slow Featuring Strick; Produced by Charlie Handsome Thug begins the album by telling stories over an electric guitar. It’s kind of weird hearing him tell this heartfelt story about his mom almost dying, then say this right after that:
I always knew I wasn’t gon’ be gay
Only Thug man. Strick is kinda just in the back harmonizing with Thug, but other than that not much else going on here. Decent enough intro.
2. Stressed Featuring J. Cole & T-Shyne; Produced by Kacey Khaliel, T-Minus, Tommy Parker, & WU10 JERMAINE???JERMAINE COLE??? My man came on this one swinging.
I ain’t sayin’ I’m the richest nigga that’s in this shit (But I’m one of them) Barely check my account, nigga, I’m admittin’ it (I don’t give a fuck) Fuck around with my bread, bet you I’ma find out (I’ma catch you, nigga) Couple niggas I deaded know what I’m talkin’ ’bout
But why he sound like that? Whatever, I don’t really mind. He gets a little more personal on this verse, talking about how he needs to feed his kid and spoil his mom, so don’t mess with his money. T-Shyne stole the show for the most part talking about his relationship problems and him wanting to get his dad a new house.
I’ve been stressin’ ’cause I still ain’t buy my dad a house (Stressin’) I’ve been stressin’ ’cause my girl said, “We can’t work it out” (Got me stressed) I know some people that start sinnin’ as soon as church get out (Church get out) And I don’t think like I used to think ’cause I’m older now (Older now)
Thug took a little bit of a backseat on this one which was probably for the best given what we got. Great track.
3. Stupid/Asking Produced by Charlie Handsome, Metro Boomin, Taurus, Yo Benji, & Crater This is the first acoustic cut that we get from this album, and I’m not mad at it. Thug kinda showcases his voice and range over the first half while roasting his girl for acting out. The guitar line and the bassline paired up together sounds good.
There’s a difference between a song with a beat switch, and just blatantly putting two songs together. This song, while great, is an example of the latter. “Asking” shows off more of his range than the first half, but also gives us another one of those weird Thug lines:
I’m tryna get in your guts, show me your guts
That… is definitely serial killer talk. Like I said though, we’ve become accustomed to hearing crazy lines like that from Thug. Doesn’t really take away from my enjoyment of the song(s) though.
4. Recognize Real Featuring Gunna; Produced by Charlie Handsome I’m loving Gunna over acoustic guitars. He tends to get drowned out or overshadowed by most of his beats, but he can’t take a step back over an acoustic guitar. His only choice is to deliver memorable lyrics
I got my money right You know they criticize But it’s alright, I won’t be victimized Judge and the police takin’ my people lives
My millennium is the last dying breed
Probably the most meaningful lyrics Gunna has ever spit. Thug speaks a little about his brother’s death and reflects on his past as a drug dealer, comparing that life to his current life.
I’m killin’ ’bout my brother and I know that you see My new house didn’t come with a key, you gotta type it and see Fuck your whole gang, we smoked the boss, we ain’t smokin’ no leaf
My homie died, I want answers, so we gon’ spark it
All I do is sit and count racks up by the bunch Took her out and paid for lunch Rich off of Pyrex
This was a good song. As someone who’s not really a Gunna fan, I’m happy with his performance and this song.
5. Contagious Produced by Reske & OZ
I wish that keepin’ it real really was contagious ‘Cause I be showing love, always met with fake shit But that’s what’s in my heart, I could never change it I just wish that things were reciprocated
FACTS. This was a real heartfelt song just about him wishing that he got the same energy that he put out there. I felt this song on a personal level, so this will be in my rotation for a while.
6. Peepin out the Window Featuring Future & BSlime; Produced by Baby Plugg, Ayo Deni, & Don ANOTHER great song. Thug’s on a little bit of a run here. I’m surprised there hasn’t been a song that I don’t like on this project yet.
All I see is a bunch of broke-ass bitches tryna tell me I ain’t poppin’ I ain’t hot no more
Whoever thinks Future fell off knows nothing about the current state of music. And whoever’s saying that, Future’s got a message for you:
Listen to me closely Bitch, I got a Rollie, it’s gold like a trophy All of my kids straight, if you truly know me Most of my dogs bossed up
So why should he give a damn what y’all think?
Everyone did their thing on this, but Future was the best part. That chorus hits for me. And the first line of his verse:
Peepin’ out the window All I see is a bunch of racist-ass cops tryna catch a nigga slackin’ like Jim Crow
I loved hearing Future get like this. Bslime did great too. Great song.
7. Rich Nigga Shit Featuring Juice WRLD; Produced by Kanye West & Pi’erre Bourne We’re officially out of the heartfelt section of the album, as this is the first banger of the album. Pierre delivers a bass-driven beat, which makes me wonder what Carti would’ve- never mind. The beat is cool and he sounds like he’s having fun here.
Chicken bock-bock like a Mexican
This line made me laugh. We get another posthumous appearance from Juice WRLD and he floats effortlessly over the beat. I wish he named it something else though, because Thug’s already been on a track called “Rich Nigga Shit” with 21 Savage.
8. Livin It Up Featuring Post Malone & A$AP Rocky; Produced by Charlie Handsome This is probably the one acoustic song on this album that I wish had drums. It still finds a way to be fun, with Post Malone delivering a catchy chorus and Thug-
I told God, “Protect my life ’cause I’m gon’ cum in that shit”
Bro WHAT? What do you me- you know what, this song’s about living it up, so live it up bro.
A$AP Rocky steals the show with a nice rhyme scheme and a singing delivery we’ve never heard from him before. I remember him doing a cover of Otis Redding, but other than that I don’t remember him sounding this good singing. Again, great song, though I wish it had a drum pack.
9. Yea Yea Yea Produced by Hitmaka Millz, Charlie Handsome, Wheezy, & Rex Kudo It feels like he freestyled this one. It’s fun, with a fast-paced flow on the first verse, and he works in some melodies in the second. Not really too memorable until he says that old women are gonna be having sex with his grandson. Thug is an interesting dude. But this was alright…next.
10. Insure My Wrist Featuring Gunna; Produced by Taurus, DecayOnTheBeat, & ProdByAlec I have no idea what this sample is but it sounds great in the context of this beat. Bet you can guess what they’re talking about given the title of the song:
Half a million, got insurance on my watch Half a million, now I got me some insurance on my wrist”
Yep. Gunna does what he normally does slightly better than normal and was a good addition to this cut. Cool track but not much to write to home about.
11. Scoliosis Featuring Lil Double 0; Produced by Nuki & Kuttabeatz I expected to hear Mr. Krabs on this song given the piccolo at the beginning, but I was ultimately disappointed. This is on the filler side as I’m pretty sure he freestyle this verse too. It sounds unfocused, and he gives another one of those Young Thug lines.
Put the child in the trash
Your guess is as good as mine. Lil Double O is a stupid rap name and didn’t really add anything. This is the first skip for me, which is pretty impressive considering the multiple runs he’s had up until this point.
12. Bubbly Featuring Travis Scott & Drake; Produced by Wheezy, Yung Exclusive, Johnny Juliano, Cardo, Dez Wright, & MU Lean ANOTHER BANGER. We get Thug mainly focusing on his flow for this track, keeping it steady and coming with a small melody at the start of his verse. Then Travis does the same thing but with a faster flow and more memorable lyrics overall.
Tat’ a logo on the back of my brain Don’t ask me what the fuck am I thinkin'”
Area 29, got it lookin’ like space Houston, it’s a problem way we bustin’ up faces and shit
The beat switching when Drake came in was so clean and he slid on it perfectly. I’m mad at Drake, though. Why couldn’t he have something like this on CLB man???
Texas ranch so big, that shit is perfect for the dippin’ I don’t care how wet I get her, she won’t catch me
I like this thing he started doing where he won’t completely finish the line and either pause there, or keep going. And the “WHAT-WHAT-WHAT” parts were amazing. This was a true group effort with everyone bringing something different to the table. Definitely a standout track among quite a few others so far.
13. Road Rage Produced by prodbysmo & Taurus
I’m road raging to the millions if I have to crawl
There’s a lot about that line that I like and it’s good that he says that three times after the whole hook is done. The rest of the song is filled with him rapping pretty well. Pretty uneventful overall but if you like hearing Thug rap, this is one of those.
14. Faces Produced by Lee Major, Wheezy, & Sean Momberger This song feels too quick and gives me filler vibes, but he still gives some pretty memorable lines, like this one.
Tryna rob, your chances are slimmer than Shady
Other than that, not too much going on here. One verse and he’s done.
15. Droppin Jewels Produced by Ghetto Guitar, K-Notes, Pro Logic, & Turbo The hook on this is compressed a LOT for some reason. Makes it sound less impactful. Aside from that, I do enjoy hearing him rap. I much prefer the rapping Thug over the melodic Thug, personally.
She like, “How the fuck you ain’t never wrote a song?
So he DOES freestyle everything. I can’t believe I didn’t know that. If it’s noticeable like it is here it’s a little less impressive, but that’s still a remarkable songwriting technique. Bound for lots of filler on his albums, though.
16. Fifth Day Dead Produced by Louis Bell & watt This is pretty forgettable. Guess we’re in the filler section of the album.
17. Icy Hot Featuring Doja Cat; Produced by Wheezy This gives me TikTok vibes. I’d be surprised if I didn’t see this on the platform at some point. I’m not even mad at Doja on this, but this might be another skip for me.
18. Love You More Featuring Jeff Bhasker, Nate Ruess, & Gunna; Produced by Nate Ruess, Metro Boomin, & Jeff Bhasker Never would’ve guessed we’d get a Young Thug & Nate Reuss collab. I wish Gunna had a longer segment and carried on his run of meaningful features, but to me he went out like Nav on the initial version of “YOSEMITE”… real ones know.
19. Hate The Game Produced by Louis Bell & watt You could replace Thug with a white rock vocalist on this and the trap drums with a real drum set and this is a rock hit easily. It’s crazy that music is that interchangeable. As far as the song in its current state, it’s good but I could do without it. I have a good amount of tracks that I really love, so I really don’t need too many more.
I’m very happy with Thug’s effort on this. Thug’s ability to record a boatload of songs in one day is insane, especially given that he (apparently) doesn’t write. That ability can be a gift AND a curse, however, as parts of this album feel pretty bloated and unnecessary. I had to give myself a motivational speech to keep going through this entire album. I was happy with the amount of great tracks I got up until “Bubbly” and then the album started to feel a little longer than necessary. Definitely could’ve had a couple tracks cut. The first half of the album is better than the second because I feel like the second half had a little too much filler.
Now, with an album where so much of it sounds filler, the sequencing is pretty decent. They start it out on the somber side with “Stressed”, the fun starts “Rich Nigga Shit”, then it gets realer from “Road Rage” on to the chilling conclusion that is “Day Before”. Thug feels less than an artist on this album, but more like a conductor. I like that instead of saying “featuring” he says “with” when acknowledging who’s featured on the album. Something about that wording that makes it feel more special. This album gave three examples of great results when three artists link up on one track in “Stressed”, “Peepin Out The Window”, and “Bubbly”.
That said, Punk does feel pretty feature reliant. But Thug himself gave a standout performance on songs like “Stupid/Asking”, “Contagious”, and “Dropping Jewels” with great vocal performances and hooks. I didn’t expect to enjoy a Thug project so much. I’m giving this one a 3.9. A more condensed tracklist would be deserving of a 4.
Bubbly (feat. Travis Scott & Drake) Peepin Out The Window (feat. Future & Bslime) Stressed (feat. J. Cole & T-Shyne) Contagious Stupid/Asking Recognize Real (feat. Gunna) Love You More (feat. Nate Reuss, Gunna, & Jeff Bhasker) Droppin Jewels Day Before (feat. Mac Miller)