Even since the beginning of 2014, Atlanta rapper Young Thug has been riding a wave of buzz. He made his mark last year with his mixtape, 1017 Thug, which had a slow burn but got extra attention when it landed on a number of end of the the year Best Albums lists (including ours). Since then, Drake and Kanye West have both been seen dancing to his menacing song "Danny Glover." Meanwhile, his other song "Stoner" already has remixes from the likes of Wale, Jim Jones, and Jadakiss.
We've written about Thug and his rise recently, but actually speaking with him is a different story. He's just as outspoken and blunt as his own songs suggest, an attitude that he shares with the artist he says he shares the most in common with; Lil Wayne. To Thug, his fame was inevitable, even if he didn't plan it all out himself. We spoke to him about the reaction to his two songs, his relationship with Kanye West, and how he why he feels disrespected by rappers freestyling to his songs...
Interview by Justin Davis (@OGJOHNNY5)
A lot of people will probably say you came out of nowhere this year.
They feel like I came out of nowhere, then I came out of nowhere then. [Laughs.] I been rapping since I was a little nigga, so no I didn’t come out of nowhere. I been doing it.
“Stoner” and “Danny Glover” have both become lowkey hits. What was it like to see the reaction for it, from seeing kids doing the nae nae to it to celebs rocking wit it?
“Danny Glover” was leaked out, I’m still mad to this day because I didn’t want to bring it out. I wanted people to think “Stoner” was a one-hit wonder and I wanted to crack their head with that. I’m glad it worked out the way it worked out, I’m booked up so I can’t be mad forever. It wasn’t even planned at all.
I went to Kanye's house and we did a couple of songs. The fact that I was [making songs] so fast amazed him too, because he doesn’t see a lot of people who rap like that.
Were you a big fan of Yeezus? I feel like you would appreciate some of the stuff he was doing on there.
I’m a big fan of everything that guy does because of who he is. It’s not even in my league to talk about it, cause I’m that that nigga too. So he can talk about him and I’ll talk about me.
But if Kanye calls and says “I want a Young Thug feature on this song” you’re there in no time, no?
I mean, I went to his house and we did a couple of songs. The fact that I was [making songs] so fast amazed him too, because he doesn’t see a lot of people who rap like that. I don’t really rap with a lot of people [because] everyone raps the same way. When I first heard he wanted to know who I was and do songs, I was smiling ear to ear like a clown.
You also went on record saying you weren’t a big fan of the remixes to “Stoner.” Not a lot of artists come out the gate with the mindset of “I’m gonna battle you” if you rap on their songs.
The mindset came from watching myself and niggas where I’m from. I’m way harder than what you’ll think at freestyling. If you feel that you can just come in the studio and freestyle on my song, then I’m ready to rap battle you. That’s just how I feel about it because I know I’m way harder than another rapper freestyling on my song. I don’t want them to think that they good and that they’re doing me a favor. I would respect it way more if someone said they wrote something to “Stoner” or if Drake said I wrote something to “Danny Glover.”
Did you get a chance to hear any of them? I know Jim Jones has made one since you made those comments.
Yeah. You know me and Jim Jones bang the same so you know how that goes, no need to get into that. Wale is my brother so I can’t feel no type of way about Wale. I’m just saying it in general. People will hear Jim Jones or Wale [on a song] but those are my brothers. I respect them, I wasn’t saying it towards them. I’m not cool with no more rappers like that except Rich Homie Quan.
Have you had a chance to talk to Fabo from D4L about “Stoner”? I feel like you are doing people a huge favor by shouting him out and keeping his name alive in 2014.
Yeah Fabo is from the same place where I come from so that’s one reason. Fabo is a real rockstar but people look over it, so I’ll try to bring it to the light if I can. He just sent me something to my Gmail, I gotta write something to his music. He really loves me for that, I didn’t talk to him, he’s just honest so all he said was, “Yeah that was 1000.” So it was good on my end.
I don’t know if the Freebandz deal is gonna happen. Future said he wants to give me $1.5 million so you know how that goes.
Last I remember you were signed to Gucci Mane’s 1017 imprint, and we’ve been hearing Freebandz lately, is that deal finished?
It’s not happening yet, I don’t know if it’s gonna happen. Future said he wants to give me $1.5 million so you know how that goes. It just hasn’t happened yet.
You always speak highly about Lil Wayne, would you say that he is a major influence on your own musical style?
Yeah. Because he has 10-15 years in the game on top and the fact that he knows he can lean back and retire and he still doesn’t. I hope Wayne is listening, I want to get in the studio with Wayne more than anybody in the world. I’ll get in the studio with Wayne before Michael Jackson right now so I hope he listening.
What’s the status of the HiTunes mixtape?
I’m about to bring out a mixtape with my nigga Rich Homie Quan that’s called Rich Homie Thug. Then HiTunes and that’s just stoner music. Then I’m coming out with True Blood—I feel like I’m one of the biggest one of those in America so I’m gonna do that with my brother Bloody Jay.
Are you and Chief Keef gonna do a mixtape too?
Yeah we almost got a mixtape. He gonna bring that out though.