Young Thug's second album Punk has finally arrived. Thug has been teasing the project since he released his official debut album So Much Fun back in 2019 and while many thought it would arrive sooner, it comes two years after that project. It's worth the wait though. Punk is an intimate, stripped-back version of Thug with plenty of acoustic guitars and emotional declarations, and another absolutely beautiful album cover.
As always with Thug projects the guest list is stellar too. He's gathered Future, the late Juice WRLD and Mac Miller, Drake, Doja Cat and more. Here are our initial favourite moments.
The Emotional Honesty Of Die Slow with Strick
Die Slow immediately sets the tone for the album with Thug with one of his most emotionally bare vocal performances to date. It's basically a train-of-thought rambling that has him watching boats pass his window in Italy as he laments on everything from family to his sexuality. At the end collaborator, Strick says, "Slime, what's going on? It's feeling like they won." You get the feeling that Thug is going to build from here.
The Hook Of Stupid/Asking
The last time we heard Thugger dabble in acoustic music was on the country-leaning Beautiful Thugger Girls. Stupid/Asking has him in that lane once again proving that he's always been a singer/songwriter presenting as a rapper. The hook on part one of this cut is perhaps his strongest on the album, giving us a delectable melody over a spacious, acoustic beat. He then matches that with an ethereal hook on part two of the track. A classic, one-two punch and the first true highlight of the record.
Gunna And Thug's Address Of Police Brutality On Recognize Real
Thug has been vocal about racially motivated police violence throughout his career and on Recognize Real Gunna and Thug juxtapose their luxurious lifestyles with societal problems. It's Gunna who comes through with some of the most potent takes on the hook singing, "I won't be victimized Judge and the police takin' my people's lives." It's a subject that comes up once again on the Future-featuring Peepin Out The Window with Future rapping, "All I see is a bunch of racist ass cops."
The Camp Fire Singalong Of Livin' It Up with Post Malone & A$AP Rocky
Livin' It Up with Post Malone and A$AP Rocky stands out as the most instantly catchy cut on the record but it's not your typical Thug hit. It's so minimal and guitar-led that it sounds like Thug, Malone, and Rocky are sitting around the campfire putting the song together on the spot. It's an intimacy that we're not used to hearing from any of the three artists.
Andrew Watt and Louis Bell's Production On Fifth Day Dead
The list of producers on this record is esteemed from Wheezy to Pi'erre Bourne but Watt and Bell standout as two of the only pop-leaning producers on the record. They're known for their work with Malone, Miley Cyrus and Dua Lipa and here they bring a distinctively luscious beat to the mix allowing Thug to deliver some of his more melodic work.
Doja Cat's Appearance On Icy Hot
Thug and Doja Cat make sense as a duo. They are two of the most charismatic rappers in the game and can both deliver some of the strangest sounds around. They go toe-to-toe here trying to outdo each other with high-pitched noises. The chorus is where they really come to play, sounding otherworldly as Doja's auto-tuned vocals hypnotise in the background. Her verses are just as endearingly wonky too.
Thug's Emotional Stadium Moment Love You More with Nate Ruess, Gunna & Jeff Bhasker
Thug is not one to deliver a torch song but he proved on the Elton John-sampling High that he could go there if he really wanted to. On Love You More, he goes back into that realm with a rousing Nate Reuss hook and an emotive piano-led beat. It's a strangely affecting love song with Thugger sincerely loved-up.
Mac Miller's Closing Verse
Right before Mac Miller passed, he was working on material with Thug. Mac was reportedly very excited for these songs to see the light of day and now one of them finally has. Day Before closes out the album with Mac appearing over an angelic beat. He sounds at home over the minimal backdrop, perhaps even more so than Thug. These kind of soulful, luscious beats were where Mac shined and it's emotional to hear him over them again.