In hip-hop, co-signs mean everything. And there are three people in hip-hop who hold more weight than anyone else when it comes to the co-sign: Jay Z, Drake and Kanye West.
For the purpose of this post, we’ll forget about Jay; his co-signs are rare. Drake and Kanye, however, are not scared to show love. Over the last couple of years, Drake has basically launched the careers of A$AP Rocky, 2 Chainz, Future, The Weeknd and Migos. Kanye, on the other hand, played a major role in the success of Chief Keef and Azealia Banks.
Now the two are helping Atlanta rapper Young Thug’s career get off the ground, in ways that are not as deliberate. Last week, videos of Kanye West partying in Paris popped up. He was rapping along to Young Thug’s exciting “Danny Glover,” which first leaked back in November.
This came a couple of weeks after footage of Drake getting turnt to “Danny Glover” hit the Net:
Yes, folks: those count as co-signs.
Rappers with slightly less clout have also been showing love. Wale and Jim Jones have remixed Young Thug’s other single bubbling now, the slightly less electrifying “Stoner.”
Buy Young Thug stock now, folks, because he is on the verge of blowing.
So who is he?
Well, if you’ve been in-tune with Atlanta rap over the last couple of years, you’re sort of familiar with Young Thug.
The rapper, who is 21, has been putting out regional mixtapes since 2010. The year 2011 was especially productive for Young Thug: he released two I Came From Nothing tapes:
If we told you that over the last five years, Gucci Mane has been the best A&R in hip-hop, would you believe us? You should. Here are the acts Gucci has introduced to the world: Waka Flocka, OJ Da Juiceman, Young Scooter, and producers Zaytoven and Shawty Redd.
After dropping two tapes in 2011, Gucci had Young Thug appear on two songs off of his Trap God 2 tape, which dropped early in 2012. Young Thug appeared on “Bullet Wound” and “Break Dancin:”
Around this time, Gucci Mane went to Twitter to announce that Young Thug was officially signed to his 1017 Brick Squad Records:
— Gucci Mane (@gucci1017) February 9, 2013
The first release from Young Thug, under Gucci’s label, was 1017 Thug, which actually got some very brief NYTimes love. Young Thug’s tape was pretty well received, appearing on a couple of best of the year lists.
The big song from that was “2 Cups Stuffed:”
Young Thug has been a polarizing figure in rap. If you’re strict about hip-hop — aka, you love boom bap — you’ll get nothing from him.
The thing that stands out first is Young Thug’s voice: he’s always changing the pitch. It’s clear that he’s studied some of Lil Wayne’s stranger moments.
We think Gucci Mane, who cut the man a nice check, described Thug’s skills best, in an interview with The Fader:
“Thug is one of the most talented rappers I ever met. I chased down that boy down and told him like, You’re one of the most talented people I’ve ever worked. He’s got a distinctive way of how he changes his voice up. You can hear a verse and then the chorus and you’ll think it’s two different artists, but it’ll be Thug on the same song. He’ll feature on somebody else’s song and do a hook, and it’ll sound like he’s a Jamaican. He’ll do another song and he’ll flip the whole style again and go fast. I like the way he records and the way he approaches his verses. He works hard and he’s different.”
Just today, the rapper released a new tape from Bloody Jay, called Black Portland.
A couple of weeks ago, he put out a joint tape with Peewee Longway, Migos and Rich the Kid that’s fucking flames:
He’s also made a number of appearances with the likes of Rich Homie Quan and Young Scooter.
Clearly, rappers have been paying attention. Maybe you should be too.