This morning we woke up with Young Thug's "Digits" stuck in our head—the track's pre-hook looping, easing us out of bed and through our a.m. commutes like a motivational mantra. However, we arrived at our desks only to discover that we all had different ideas of what exactly Thug says on the song: is it hustlers don't stop, they keep goin' or horses don't stop, they keep goin'? We tweeted a poll on the subject: it turns out we weren’t the only ones wondering about this, results were split about 45 to 55 percent "horses" to "hustlers."
The more we listened, the more obscured that word began to sound. (Maybe it's a little bit of both?) So, we checked in with someone in possession of a much sharper ear and who happened to have been the engineer working the boards the night two years ago when Thug recorded "Digits," Alex Tumay. Over text Tumay told The FADER that he had always thought Thug was saying "horse," but that "hustlers" would also make sense. He said would revisit the session.
Sharing his findings on Twitter, Tumay began by isolating the vocal track. "I still think horses," he wrote.
When he stretched the isolation and boosted the s's, though, it sort of began to sound like "hustlers" again. There is one too many consonants in there to be "horses."
Two Periscope sessions and who knows how many loops later, Alex has come down on the side of "horses," as in, Horses don't stop, they keep going.
Next we called up the track's producer, London On Da Track. London has no doubt that the line is Hustlers don't stop, they keep going. "I just understand everything Thug says," he explained, noting that he and Thug were friends before collaborators. "I've been around long enough to know exactly everything he's saying." Fair enough!
However, he further complicated the matter when he reiterated a point first made during an interview about Slime Season 3, which is that Thug recorded "Digits" in one go and it was restructured to be the song it is today after he left the booth. "Like I told you, he just freestyled the whole song," London said today. "He did it quick, and we just kept it. One time, he said it. I don't think he cares like that." Did Thug start out saying "horse" and change his mind half way through?
Young Thug, what say you? London said. (A representative for Young Thug did not immediately return our request for comment.)
Update 4/14/2016 10:30 a.m.: It's "hustlers."
A representative for Young Thug has confirmed that the lyric in question is, in fact, Hustlers don't stop, they keep going. Thanks everyone for playing. 🐎