Young Thug / Future collab 'Super Slimey' takes no gambles

Monday, October 23, 2017 - 5:12pm

NOSELL

Future/Instagram

 

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Future and Young Thug seem to have taken this phrase to heart on their collaborative mixtape Super Slimey, released last Thursday (Oct. 19). They never stray too far from the slime — their beats are dominated by heavy sub-bass and twinkling hi-hats, they rhapsodize about drugs and riches and they blur the line between lyrics and pure melody.

Future and Young Thug have a lot in common —  they’re both emotive trap artists who emerged out of the Atlanta scene earlier this decade, and they use a combination of slurred vocals, auto-tune and hedonistic/self-destructive lyrics to create a drugged-out vibe. It makes a lot of sense that these two artists would collaborate, but until recently that possibility was hampered by a past (and now-squashed) Twitter beef.

This is Future’s second high-profile collab album, having previously worked with Drake on What A Time To Be Alive. Super Slimey possesses the same highs and the same lows as his previous collaborative outing — shimmering production and energy tempered by sameness and safe artistic decisions. Collaborative projects tend to bring out the most cautious side of both artists, as neither wants to risk failure when they’re apt to be judged against each other so closely. Both Future and Young Thug stick to this usual winning formula on Super Slimey. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, for artists as innovative as these two (in particular the eccentric Thugger), it feels like a disappointment.

The strongest tracks bookend the album; the stretch between “Patek Water” and “Killed Before” is noticeably weaker than the rest of the project. The last three songs are probably the strongest of the whole album, but with a project as homogenous as this, there is sure to be a fair deal of disagreement about the standout tracks. “Killed Before” is a memorable high point of the album, a sparsely-instrumented Young Thug solo joint that leaves you wondering how a song with such beautiful guitar-work can also contain the line “she suck dick like a whole tick” and still work. Another strong track is “Patek Water,” a bouncy Southside-produced track that includes the only guest verse on the album, an impressive showing from Offset.

Future’s delivery takes a much more raspy tone than usual here, and it contrasts well with Thugger’s shrill and melodic voice, which generally sounds vigorous but occasionally, like in “Group Home,” like he has a cold. Future’s verse on “Three” is also mixed fairly unconventionally; layered in distortion, his voice sounds filtered through a guitar amp. I found myself wishing Future and Young Thug traded bars more (à la Watch the Throne) — with the artists merely alternating verses, the chemistry is surprisingly lacking, in spite of the complementary timbres of their voices. At times, it feels almost like a mashup of loose Future / Young Thug verses without much design or synergy.

The project is strong, yet unspectacular, and you can’t quite shake the feeling that it came a few years too late. The production is immaculate but unmemorable and homologous; the hooks catch but they don’t always stick. It is incredibly well-crafted, but it just doesn’t feel like a step forward for either Future or Young Thug. With that being said, even if the album feels like more of a continuation than an innovation, it is still a welcome addition to the discography of both artists, and worth a listen.