First Impressions of Young Thug's New Album 'Business Is Business'

What's the best song on Young Thug's new album 'Business Is Business'? Worst song? Best feature? The Complex Music staff discusses.


One year after Young Thug was arrested on RICO charges in Atlanta, we're finally hearing from the eccentric Atlanta star again, and it’s happening through his music.

Business Is Business, a 15-song album featuring the likes of Drake, Travis Scott, Lil Uzi Vert, 21 Savage, and Future, opens with a brief jailhouse call from Thug to Drake on "Parade On Cleveland," but otherwise consists of songs that were presumably pulled from the large vault of recordings he built before the arrest.

Executive produced by Metro Boomin, the album arrived on short notice, following the release of Gunna’s A Gift & A Curse. After a few initial spins, members of the Complex Music staff—Eric Skelton, Jessica McKinney, and Jordan Rose—shared their first impressions of the project.

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Best song?

Eric: “Went Thru It.” This man just yelled, “I saved the world in a dress, baby,” and made it sound cool as fuck. Songs like this, where Thug opens up and squawk-sings his idiosyncratic observations of the world, are why he’s so special. (I also really fuck with “Abracadabra.”)

Jessica: The best solo Young Thug song is “Went Thru It,” where he gets personal and delivers his signature flow. The best song with a feature is “Oh U Went” with Drake. Drake killed it. 

Jordan: It’s a toss-up for me between “Went Thru It” and “Parade on Cleveland,” and “Cars Bring Me Out” is also up there.

Biggest skip?

Eric: “Money on the Dresser.” That beat is not it, and Thug’s vocals don’t save it.

Jessica: There are definitely some weaker songs on the album, but I can’t put my finger on which one is the biggest skip. 

Jordan: I won’t be revisiting “Money on the Dresser.” It has the weird, warbled Thug beat that we’re used to him rapping over, but it's just too far of a departure from the smooth intro track.

Best thing about the album?

Eric: Hearing from Thug again. After a year of headlines about everything but the music, it’s great to hear some of what’s been sitting in the vault. As always, it’s wildly inventive, sometimes bizarre, and very entertaining. He’s had a lot of imitators over the years, but it’s impossible to do it quite like Thug.

Jessica: Hate to say it, but the best thing about the album is the features. Thug has very talented friends, and they gave it their all. Drake’s verse on “Oh U Went,” 21 Savage on “Want Me Dead” and Lil Uzi Vert on “Hellcat Kenny” were all top tier. 

Jordan: Young Thug is truly loved. This album felt more like a love letter from his closest music friends than an album, but that’s not a bad thing. They all showed up and put their best foot forward, which helped the album exponentially. 

Worst thing about the album?

Eric: The circumstances. Thug is usually extremely hands-on when it comes to finishing his albums (I wrote about his meticulous in-studio process while completing Punk here) and this album didn’t benefit from those finishing touches. These songs were likely pulled from the vault and pieced together by his team, who did an admirable job considering the circumstances, but it’s impossible to replicate what Thug would have brought to the table if he was there in-person. It’s tragic to think we may have to wait a very long time to hear another project like that again.

Jessica: The overall energy of the album was lacking something. Usually Thug brings a lot more fun and charisma to the table and it’s often palpable.

Jordan: This album sounds good, but it does not reflect Young Thug’s current disposition. I didn’t expect prison-phone verses, but the pre-recorded verses sound disjointed on some songs, and his normal bars about living a lavish lifestyle don’t hit the same when you know he’s currently a victim of the prison system.

Best feature?

Eric: It’s a two-way tie between Drake on “Oh U Went” and Travis Scott on “Abracadabra,” but everyone killed it. Both of 21 Savage’s verses are great, too.

Jessica: Drake on “Oh U Went.” Drake’s verse is smooth and even outshines Thug on the song. 21 Savage on “Want Me Dead” is also a runner-up. 

Jordan: Drake laced every song he was on. He has a strong friendship with Thug, and that was apparent in both of the songs that he’s on.

Overall first impressions?

Eric: Does it live up to the very high bar Young Thug set with the rest of his albums? No, but how could it? He was deprived of the chance to finish this album in-person. Still, there are some very high highs (the four-song run from “Uncle M” to “Abracadabra” to “Went Thru It” to “Oh U Went” is exceptional) and it easily slides into my top five rap albums of the year so far.

Jessica: This is not Young Thug’s worst album, but it definitely isn’t his strongest. The production and guest features are solid, and some of Thug’s raps are great, but at times, he sounds disconnected from the rest of the song. But of course, considering Thug’s current circumstances, some of this makes sense.

Jordan: Business is Business feels like a mixtape with expensive features because Young Thug is loved. It’s a reminder that Thug is still here and will hopefully be back in full effect at some point in the future. It wasn’t a surprise that there was no reference to Gunna on Business is Business, although it is a bit disappointing that the two dropped back-to-back projects but it still feels like the status of their relationship is up in the air.

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