In the relatively short time we’ve known Young Thug (relative, at least, to the hundreds of songs he’s released since his 2011 debut, I Came From Nothing), we’ve attempted to dissect him as a character again and again. Mostly, these efforts have been in vain; what can be known about Jeffery Williams lies not in his fashion choices, or the playful misdirection he deploys in interviews, but in his troves of music, recorded obsessively and released (or not) according to his whim. But now that we’ve gotten the superficial stuff out of the way, we can focus on the most interesting part of Thug—his songs.
Ranking Thugger’s music can be a unique challenge for a few reasons: the sheer mass of it, for one, with many of his projects varying wildly in quality and organized not so much by earthly chronology than by pure impulse. Thug is not one for linearity: the songs on any given project may have been recorded years prior, and his narratives, if you can call them that, move from Point Q to Point D. In that sense, it can be a bit confounding to apply some hierarchy to his tracks—most of all, because that doesn’t feel like a very Young Thug way to think about music to begin with. The best Thug songs make me feel like I am seeing the world through Thug’s sharp, abstracted perspective, and so our process in ranking them felt based less on popularity or cultural relevance than sheer intuition. (Basically, our brainstorming session looked a lot like Agent Cooper’s rock toss.) —Meaghan Garvey
These are the 35 best Thug songs (yet).