While we wait for Young Thug to drop his debut album, Hy!£UN35, we have a new interview with him, thanks to the French website, lesinrocks. While performing at Rock en Seine in France, he chopped it and gave us some details about his new project. The entire interview is in French, so we did you a solid and translated the entire story in English.
Thugger reveals that he nabbed both J.Cole and Kendrick Lamar for guest appearances on his project. In addition, he speaks on several collaborations he wrapped up with Kanye West. It appears after several pushbacks, that Thugger will drop his album this year, hopefully. Check it out below.
This is the first time you[‘ve] come [to] France? What [was your] image of the country before landing?
Young Thug: “The same image that I have of all the countries where I am supposed to go: it’s far, it’s different, it will be necessarily complicated … It’s another part of the world for me coming [from] the United States. So I know, every time I get somewhere, it’ll be strange. But if I understand correctly, I also have fans here and it reassures me. I’m in the middle of a tour, it’s not like I was on vacation. [I] have stayed in Europe, [I] was in London and it was cool but I do not know anything about France.”
I see that your friend wears Louboutin. Maybe she knows France better than you?
Young Thug’s girlfriend (perched on 12cm heels studded with golden tips): “Oh sure! These shoes are French, they are made in Paris. I [did not] purchase [the shoes] here but this is the first time they[‘ve] return[ed] to their home country!”
Have you had time to discover French food and wine?
Young Thug: “No, actually I know nothing of this. Right now, I’m [performing] concerts, city after city. I play, I sleep and I break. This is not the ideal.”
Why [have you released] mixtapes for years without ever having [released] something you consider an album?
Young Thug: “This is the industry that wants [music], the rap industry. You have to be on deck all the time, but you do not have the time to do the album. It is an energy, it must be present in everyday life. Continue to put them on the chin, you know? You must not you worry about leaks or pieces [stolen] on your computer. You just make songs, you gotta make music, keep stuff out. You may not know rap, but that’s how it works.”
But this first album, Hy! £ UN35, you[‘ve spoken about] for months. How will [it] be different from your mixtapes?
Young Thug: “First, I hope it will come out this year. It’s a pretty crazy thing in which I tried to make songs, real songs, not the quick stuff like on a tape. A dose of Kendrick Lamar, a dose of J. Cole… because it’s got to be an album that goes [in the] club. As your next question will be [about] the producers, I’ll tell you.. I am always with London On Da Track, Wheezy, 808 Mafia Mike Will Made It, Ricky Racks …”
When I heard Barter 6 [for the] last few months, I thought we finally [had] the first album [from] Young Thug. But you quickly said in an interview that this record was just a mixtape…
Young Thug: “A mixtape is for the street, it’s something you without necessarily thinking about it, because you have to stay in the game. It’s like writing an e-mail saying hello to your friends. An album is a project with which you have to hit hard. Mixtapes, it’s for everyone and you throw them in the trash quickly. While an album is an object that only your real fans take the trouble to buy and know you have prepared something special. I know that everybody listens to me, but only my true fans will go and buy my album.
Can you clarify your contract situation?
Young Thug: “I’m signed to Atlantic through 300 Entertainment [Lyor Cohen’s label]. That is my only contractual relationship. Gucci Mane is my brother, Birdman also, we’re working together but it is a form of brotherhood. We’re friends but there is no need to contract. In a sense, I’m signed on their labels, but there is no lawyer, no contract. I spend more time with Gucci or Birdman than 300, but all this is just family. Who cares [about] contracts?”
What about your collaboration with Kanye West?
Young Thug: When my song “Danny Glover” leaked, I was a little bummed, but it finally allowed Kanye West [to listen]. One of my biggest surprises was his reaction: he liked [it] and he said he wanted to make a record together. It was he who spoke, and then we met and recorded some songs. After, you know what it is: we all bump like crazy. I do my stuff, my “mixtapes,” as you say. We just need time to capture. After that, I do not know what he thinks, but for me, it is time to get things together.
What do you like about Kanye West?
Young Thug: His confidence in him, but also his aggressiveness, ambition and charisma. I feel close to him. We’re friends, this is not just a working relationship. [We are] clearly friends.
He said he was surprised by the speed with which you work. You yourself say that you write songs in five minutes. What is your working process?
Young Thug: “I never write. Never! I do not even remember if I can write … This is a true freestyle in general. I put a beat, I said some stuff, I retain ideas, I do it again, with a particular intonation, I test, and especially I record live. I do not always listen again but if something strikes me, I exploit it. I repeat it until it works. It is important to record, otherwise you lose ideas. That’s why I never stay away from the studio, I always [have] something to ask. I’m always in range of a microphone. I even have a studio at home.”
Where do you live now?
Young Thug: In Atlanta, Ga.!
[Do you] still [live] in the neighborhood where you grew up?
Young Thug: No, certainly not! Today I live in the suburbs, in a neighborhood [that’s not] too bad. But I can not tell you where exactly…
What memories have you kept from your childhood [from] Sylvian Hills?
Young Thug: “It was stressful. It’s always been complicated, honestly… I do not really want to tell you, actually. It bothers me that you want me to tell this …”
It is there that you discovered rap?
Young Thug: “Of course. For a long time I heard rap without paying attention, but it is still a way of life, even when you’re a kid. I never took it seriously, I always knew I could rap, and in a sense I always rapped. And [I’ve] always behaved like a rapper. But I started to take it seriously when I recorded with the people of Brick when I started to receive some money.”
That was important to you at that level?
Young Thug: “All those who came out of my neighborhood before me. Beyond those you see on TV, the most important people are those who are close to you because they share the same reality. And when you see them be successful, however small, you say to yourself, wow. And everything becomes possible. Never denigrate, to say we will not succeed.”
In France, many people are trying to copy American rap, whether rhythmic trap or auto-tune. But with few exceptions, it is unbalanced. Can you give us some advice?
Young Thug: The best way to use the auto-tune is not to! And that’s what I do: I do not use auto-tune!
A little bit anyway …
Young Thug: I know I have this image but in reality, if you take all my records, I had to use five or six [tracks]. And this is where the guys who copy me are planted: I do not use auto-tune, I sing. That’s my advice! After, on the software itself, ask my sound engineer, because it is above him who uses it. I am not versed in production software. I have basic knowledge, but it ends there.
You record a lot?
Young Thug: “Yes, maybe 20 or 30 tracks per weeks, four to five per day [that] do not go out on my mixtapes. I must have in stock 3000 songs you’ve never heard.”
[We’re in] Paris, so I also wanted to [ask] you about fashion. In terms of aesthetics, silhouette, where do you [shop]?
Young Thug: I just put anything on my back. I take what I have on hand.
Something tells me it’s more studied than that …
Young Thug: “No. I was born with that, I do not really care. I do not watch what is happening in fashion. But ultimately, it is also a style…”
You remember all those baggy [clothes] in the 2000s? The “skinny” kind of silhouette that you share with A$ap Rocky or Future, is something recent from rappers…
Young Thug: “It’s possible. But I remember at the time I did not have a fashionable style. I wore baggy [clothes], but it was not really baggy. They were always a bit more fit than my friends, not wide enough to be in on [the trend]. I’ve always liked little skinny stuff.”
Your stylist Joanna Zarur, told Pitchfork that you bought some children’s clothes…
Young Thug: What? I’m try[ing] to understand who you’re talking about but I have never had a stylist. You have to be confused with Kanye West! I see that this is Jojo but [she] has never been my stylist. She was hired on a video shoot, she had brought some clothes but it did not suit me. I dress as I want, but it’s true that [I do] buy clothes too small. I do not remember if it was really children’s clothes, but you can still play with your style. It’s fun to choose clothes that are not “hip-hop” for example.
Outside [of] hip-hop, [what do] you listen tot?
Young Thug: “At the moment, I listen [to] Fun. I think they are American. Their song is called “Some Nights.” (He sings the lyrics…): “Some nights I wish my lips could build a castle”. Check it on YouTube, it’s amazing. The song is incredible [He pulls out his phone and makes us listen to the song, while his companion starts dancing on the chair – Ed].”
Since the beginning of our conversation, I [saw your] gold teeth but I do not read what is written on it …
Young Thug: “Have you tried to read on my teeth? Seriously? You’ve read it?”
I can not precisely …
Young Thug: “‘Thugger.’ That’s my name, that’s how they call me. And if not, it is written that everyone must be ready for the release of my mixtapes: Slime Season, Volumes 1 and 2, then my album! Hy £ UN35 and the third volume of Slime Season [and] I will keep you posted all that. anyway. Follow me, be ready!”
What is your goal in life? Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Young Thug: “In ten years, I would like everyone to do what I’m doing. That would be the true fulfillment. And I want to make money too, it makes sense. The money is the result of your greatness. And because of that people follow what you’re doing. You’re a teacher, and people pay for what you sign.”
There are hundreds of tickets in your clips. You look rich enough already, right?
Young Thug: “Of course not ! I do not consider myself rich. As I told Kanye West, as I do not have eight digits on the clock, I’m not rich. Seven digits. You’re not rich when you have five million dollars. If you do nothing, your five million [is] melting fast. Wealth happens when you’ve [got] 80! At least.”