Young Thug is my favorite rapper alive, hands down. He has the most dynamic and thrilling voice in hip-hop, which is hard to argue even if you can’t stomach the guy. And I know a lot of people can’t.
Sure, you can poke fun of his lyrics, but I love how surreal, non-sensical, and occasionally icky they can be (Personal favorite: “Pussy clean, ain’t no germs in it / My pocket, it look like a book with the worm in it”). Not anything he says is that discernible; if you can figure out a line without consulting Genius.com, it’s like unearthing buried treasure. Albeit not particularly family-friendly treasure.
So who the hell is Carnage? Apparently the guy’s an EDM producer, and a quick dive into Spotify reveals he’s responsible for some serious garbage. Lately he’s moved on from pure electronic bounce-bounce and to start collaborating with rappers like Uzi Vert, Lil Yachty, iLoveMakonnen, and the regrettable G-Eazy (he’s never had a project resonate, though, commercially or critically). But given Young Thug’s cultural caché, this is his highest-profile project to date. Win or go home, Mr. Carnage.
Thank the lord, Carnage reins in his cornball EDM instincts and morphs into a wizard of spacious production. His sounds aren’t cluttered like so many dime-a-dozen trap beats, instead bordering on cinematic while giving Thugger room to breathe (and yelp, holler, bark, etc.). “Liger” has haunted-house vibes from its eerie synth loops, while “10,00 Slimes” rides a deep, wobbling bass with murky synths that sound recorded 10,000 feet under the sea.
Meanwhile, Carnage doesn’t let his rhythms compete for attention with Young Thug (always a fool’s errand), and that’s certainly for the best as Thugger is like a reinvigorated beast. He continues to find brand new tricks with his voice, like that deep, animalistic snarl on the chorus of “Homie.” It’s like the man has gone literally insane and is rapping through the bars of his cell in a haunted asylum.
Still, I’m craving more than a quick EP (“quickie-P”?), especially as the closer “Don’t Call Me” sounds a little unfinished. But when it seems like every hip-hop debut these days has to be a bloated 30-track odyssey where only a handful of tracks are essential, we’ll take this whetting of the appetite. Ave Martha!