Producer: Dun Deal
Mixtape: Share DJ Spinz Presents: HPG 3
Young Thug's "Stoner" is a strange, skeletal creation, the bones of Down South hip-hop history rearranged and soldered together into a wobbling, jury-rigged construct. Dun Deal's beat shifts into different sections: a snap beat, which soon sounds like two snap beats blended. Transitions that use a Mike Will Made It-style frequency filter, dropping out every element except the bass, as if the track were travelling underwater. The signature ascending synthesizers of Lex Luger to ratchet up the tension. Then, the descending country rap tunes guitar.
"Stoner"'s unorthodox, patchwork sparseness is the perfect rickety framework for Young Thug to test the pliability of his art, the multitude of ideas he brings to the table on each recording. Each of these shifting beat templates means a changing mood for Thugger to adapt to. There's a sense that, where most rappers would just fill up time with "bars," Young Thug creates as he goes: Time for a new flow; time to shout until his voice cracks. Time to sing a comforting melody about how he feels like D4L's Fabo—a reference to drugs, or to the beat's evident debt to D4L, or maybe an artistic inspiration. There are so many ways to signify "stoner" rap in 2014. "Stoner" takes about none of those paths, a bent, metallic fork tine in a packaged-spork hip-hop world.