Roughly a year ago, rapper Young Thug was charged with eight major felonies, including intent to distribute methamphetamine and hydrocodone. This headline came and went, and the Atlanta star seemed to be in the clear. Two weeks ago, while on tour with J. Cole, Thug posted an Instagram picture of a notecard that read, “On The Rvn,” implying a soon-to-come anti-authority album and bringing to the surface his legal issues. Just days later, he turned himself in to the authorities, delaying the release of the EP.

Now released on bail, Thug finally dropped the project. The six-track EP is limited in features and primarily showcases beats from London On Da Track, the same formula used for Thug’s most impressive mixtape, Slime Season 3. After the release of the mediocre full-length album, Slime Language, which seemed to reflect a regression in the rapper’s ability, On The Rvn is a redeeming return to what works.

Unlike on Slime Language, Thug is not fighting for space with featured artists who sound just like him; the only guests are 6lack and Jaden Smith, and their contributions are limited and very well-suited. Additionally, London On Da Track’s beats make the project an easier listen overall, as he provides dynamic sounds that stray from the hackneyed trap of Slime Language.

To cap it all off, the EP ends with an official release of Young Thug’s remix of Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” a track that has bounced around SoundCloud for a few years. With a gorgeous falsetto that slides to trembling baritone, Thugger reminds listeners why he is one of the most innovative rappers alive, an important move after his prior release left fans doubting his relevance. 

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