Drake took a moment on his upbeat new album Honestly, Nevermind to reference a serious and pressing matter: the ongoing incarceration of Young Thug.
“Hey yo Eric, bring them girls to the stage, ’cause/Somebody’s getting paid and/Free Big Slime out the cage,” the 35-year-old opens his second verse on track six, “Sticky.”
Drake’s friend and collaborator Thug has been locked up in Georgia since May 9 amid a RICO case involving 28 YSL affiliates in a 56-count indictment. Drizzy is far from the first to use “free Big Slime” as a rallying call for the liberation of the man behind the Slime Season mixtape series, songs like “Slime Shit” and “10,000 Slimes,” and the 2020 Chris Brown collab mixtape Slime & B. That project’s “Big Slimes” track also features Gunna, who is currently locked up in the same YSL case and shared an impassioned letter this week proclaiming his innocence.
Drake doubled down on the sentiment—and extended it to the wider Young Stoner Life/Young Slime Life family—in his nine-and-a-half minute “Falling Back” music video. Just before the two-minute mark, a slime-green font pops up to declare “FREE YSL.”
At Hot 97’s Summer Jam last weekend, Young Thug made a video appearance to show his gratitude to supporters and direct them to the recently launched “Protect Black Art” petition, which calls for legislation limiting the usage of art as evidence in trials.
“I just want to say thank you to all my friends and my family for coming out and supporting us. You know, your support during this time means a lot to us. … This isn’t just about me or YSL,” the 30-year-old said of the imperilment rappers in particular face when it comes to lyrics being misleadingly and erroneously used in court. “I always use my music as a form of artistic expression and now I see that Black artists and rappers don’t have that, you know, freedom. Everybody please sign the ‘Protect Black Art’ petition and keep praying for us. I love you all.”
Drake and Young Thug have connected three times since spring 2021 alone, on Certified Lover Boy’s “Way 2 Sexy,” Punk’s “Bubbly,” and Slime Language 2’s “Solid.” For the 6 God’s birthday last October, Thugger gifted him an impressive custom double-sided charm by Elliot Eliantte on Instagram. Some thought clearly went into the present, with one side showing the OVO owl and the other sporting an image of Drizzy and his now-4-year-old son Adonis.