As a whole, Young Thugga Mane La Flare, the long-awaited full-length collaboration between Young Thug and label boss Gucci Mane, isn’t as interesting as it should be, considering we’re talking about the two most enigmatic rappers in the game. Many of these songs have likely been sitting around for a while (Gucci’s been incarcerated for almost five months); where Thug’s Black Portland collaboration exploded with ideas, much of La Flare feels like it’s missing a certain spark. But despite neither rapper firing on all cylinders here, it’s still weirder and cooler than anything that came out this week by a mile. It gets off to a sloggy start, aside from the incredible “Hot Boyz” intro, but the last trio of songs (“Siblings,” “OMG,” and “Lef Some”) make up for it all: playful and inspired and bizarre and impossible for anyone else to pull off, exactly what music from these guys should be. Gucci’s not rapping his best here, but has a handful of brilliant moments, stuff that rolls around in your mouth and makes you laugh out loud when you think about it later (I don’t know who more ratchet, your bitch or her Grand Am). In its more mediocre bits, the production picks up quite a bit of their slack: Thug sounds bored on the hook of “Stoner 2 Times,” but the beat, operatic and menacing and massive, is a showstopper.
Highlights: “OMG”—not to be confused with “OMG BRO”—is the tape’s strangest and best offering, even sans Gucci: a slippery, elastic slapper that Thug warbles over in a hilarious White Dad voice (though its West coast vibes make a lot more sense in its finalized version featuring Iamsu!).
WTF: There’s a lot that makes no sense here (and that’s not a bad thing), but Thug’s deranged skrrrrts on “Ride Around The City” burrow indelibly into your soul.