Young Thug – “Barter 6” (Album Review) || The Ether Report

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Young Thug is something else. He’s everything hip hop is and isn’t all in one. He’s fiercely independent, yet reliant at the same time. He bigs up the ones that came before him, yet engages in full fledged beefs with them. He’ll wear a dress, but keep a fully loaded weapon tucked underneath; and the same men that he calls his “baes” and “lovers” are goons that are about that same action as him. He does his own thing, and everything he does is far from the norm.

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Barter 6 is bit of an extension of that said character. The album’s intro “Constantly Hating” is Young Thug taking something that sounds like a children’s cartoon and thugging it out. Coincidently, production duties are handled by a new producer named Wheezy, and it features one of the most forthright Birdman verses we’ve ever heard. Still, Thugger remains the star with a hook that finds himself questioning what the listener would do if they were in the same strange predicament that he was.

Barter’s buzz was marked by Thugger’s “Benny Blanco vs. Carlito Brigante” like relationship with Lil’ Wayne which looked to be a good musical pairing before the mixtape’s naming fiasco and Wayne’s Cash Money lawsuit showed us that it was anything but. On “Can’t Tell” which, in another coincidental instance features ATL peacemaker T.I. who drops a standout verse, Thugger takes what can either be interpreted as a slight shot or a homage to Wayne depending on how you look at the glass.

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All my Haitians if you play they make you grady baby
I might shoot you in your head and then it’s no more thinking
Pussy boy I’ll leave you dead and call it dead-ication
I put Act inside my drink, they call it medication
-Young Thug, “Can’t Tell”

His spin on “dead-ication” may possibly be a diss referring to Lil Wayne’s popular mixtape series. As Young Thug skips his way through the hook he comes off crass, yet not be taken too seriously, ringing true to the confusion that Young Thug brings.

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At his best, he’s excellent at crafting hooks, creating catchy melodies, and dropping abstract gems throughout verses like little Easter eggs. “Halftime” is entertaining through and through. “Numbers” puts you in the same Xanax-storm setting that Thugga looked to create. “Just Might Be” is pure bliss as Thugger picks up the pace a bit with his flow. “Check” is undeniably addictive.

But when he’s down, he’s down. There’s moments where he completely loses as a listener with mindless rambling. “Dream” has potential, but the verses set it back, “Dome” is forgettable, “Amazing” should have been given to Jacquees for his own use, and “OD” sounds like an unfinished concept down to its beat.

Like Young Thug Barter 6 can’t be categorized, especially within the ever changing landscape in today’s rap world. He’s a borderline genius with melodies and the risk taker many are looking for, but he cares so little about his perception that it seeps into his studio process and consequently he’ll drop a verse that reminds you of why a lot of people don’t rap in the first place. While it has it’s moments of great replay worthy tracks, it’s clear that Thugger isn’t quite his idol just yet.

*Ether Report Card – 6.7/10