Young Thug’s “No, My Name is Jeffery” is his most complete work to date

Atlantic/ 300 Entertainment
After much experimentation, Young Thug is finally ready to take the next step as an artist — creating front-to-back his most solid work to date.

Over the course of Young Thug’s career, several qualities stand out as staples of his music: his off-kilter staccato flow, warbly singing and impeccable timing.

Another is his inconsistency.

The wildly creative and mercurial Thug has been searching for a radio hit this side of “Best Friend” for close to a year. With as much raw content as Thug churns out (12 tapes since 2014), it’s little wonder there will be some hiccups along the way. His most recent project, Slime Season 3, was a step in the right direction, charting two songs, “With Them” and “Digits”. Before SS3 — his most consistent effort since Barter 6 — Thug drifted between the lackadaisical and animated, showing his genius in spurts. His songwriting was lacking — there was filler next to a terrific hook and vice versa, while other times he seems disinterested. Despite this, there was no question Jeffery Williams could rap. On Jeffery, he puts the inconsistencies to rest, crafting his best work to date.

Executively produced by TM-88, No, My Name is Jeffery is the 10 track culmination and exploration of the successes of Young Thug’s past work and sees him venture into the unknown. Gone is the heavy auto tune that soaked many Thug projects before, replaced with a more accessible and intimate sound. Many of those who were unable to enjoy Thug previously said things like “I can’t understand him.” The vocal gymnastics are still there, but his voice is closer and clearer. The qualities that originally endeared him to fans are still evident, but have simply evolved. On “Harambe” he belts out: “F*** it, I’m changin’ up on ‘em/ But my fans, not changin’ on ‘em.” “Webbie”, which features frequent collaborator Duke, is the most complete Young Thug song in years. “Pop Man”, featuring Wyclef Jean, has Thug crooning over an experimental beat that has shades of jungle and echoes of Donkey Kong. Thug hops on a nod to DS2 on “Future Swag”, leaving the question: did Thug out-Future Future, something that Drake couldn’t do once an entire mixtape together?

Thug has always pushed the boundaries of his genre and previously proved that breaking out of trap mold was not only possible for him, but something he could excel at (See “I Know There’s Gunna Be (Good Times)” or “Proud of Me”). The greatest successes on Jeffery are these genre bending experiments on the back half, “Webbie”, “Pop Man”, “Pick Up the Phone”.

On Slime Season 3 Thug proclaims he only raps “when he’s bored” and later on the tape says, “Yeah I feel like Marilyn Manson, and I want a f****** Grammy.” With Jeffery, Thug channels the latter with laser beam focus. It’s puzzling that it took this long to put together a cohesive project for a rapper who upstaged Kanye West at his own listening party. Still, it’s hard to criticize — no one is quite rapping like Thug because no one can. The pre-release of Jeffery saw rumors of Young Thug abandoning his longtime moniker for his birth name (which didn’t end up happening, but may yet) in the hopes of becoming a more household friendly name. If Thug continues to make music of this caliber, his Grammy may come sooner than he thinks — and he won’t need a name change to do it.