5) Bad Bad Bad (feat. Lil Baby)- Young Thug
Jeffrey Williams has a strong case to be made when debating who’s the most important artist of the decade. No other artist feels more omnipresent and imitated in hip-hop/pop at the moment than Young Thug. You can run down the list and name all of the artists he’s helped to birth: Lil Baby, Gunna, Lil Keed, Playboi Carti, Lil Uzi Vert, Tr*vis Scott, Roddy Ricch, etc; The list feels endless.
Though his best album may always be the startlingly impeccable BARTER 6 (my favorite happens to be BEAUTIFUL THUGGER GIRLS, to be fair), in 2019 Thug dropped by far his most commercially successful project SO MUCH FUN and, unsurprisingly, it’s really good.
“Bad Bad Bad” features a gleefully playful Thug and Lil Baby over a desperately pulsing Wheezy beat.Thug waxes poetically about how he can cop his girl a new Ferrari or “play with her like Atari” or eat “her like hibachi” all in the span of seven seconds. He then proceeds to brag that he does warm-ups for half a million dollars. It’s everything you can ask for out of a Young Thug performance. Lil Baby comes in and undercuts Thug in a really effective way (much like the way Gunna, Baby’s usual rap partner, undercuts Baby in their songs) and starts prattling off how he’s 25 and has to “wear different color Dior shoes because he can’t decide which to wear” and how he doesn’t have a CashApp because “real dope boys don’t know how to work them”. It’s all so absurd in the most wonderful way.
After what feels like ages, Thug is really starting to receive his flowers and people are giving him the praise he’s deserved since 2014 (when he and Rich Homie Quan dropped one of the three best projects of the decade, RICH GANG: THA TOUR PT. 1); I can’t help but feel immensely proud of him.
4) Ingredients (feat. Fredo Bang)- YNW Melly
“Ingredients” is a song about mischievous defiance and death. Right out the gate, Melly’s rapping, ‘I just found out a new ingredient to death/Imma give it all till it ain’t nothing left” It’s manic, especially the lone verse where Melly raps about how he has demons chasing him in his dreams and that his heart can’t take any more pain. Perhaps I’m letting my knowledge of the dark controversy that surrounds Melly seep into the music (Melly is currently facing the death penalty for his involvement in the murder of two of his childhood best friends) and the fact that he has made it very public that he suffers from severe bi-polar disorder (he references that he has two personalities: one that is kind and thoughtful and one that is an evil monster), but there is something unshakably hypnotic about the whole thing.
On the surface, the structure of the song is designed in a way that makes the song sound peppy, but if you pay even the slightest bit of attention to the lyrics, it’s a fairly morbid song. Melly gleefully squeals about how damaged he is and how he’s about to shoot somebody else who’s got death on their mind over the top of an excessively bouncy and bright melody. When Melly raps about the demons in his mind chasing him, he sings in the normal octave that his voice naturally sits in, but the audio is doubled and he also sings it down an octave very clearly. It makes it sound as if two people are singing, and the deeper, darker voice is meant to create the demon. This is all done over a sunny beat that feels how Florida looks. All of the dissonance is what makes the song so compelling and infectious. And the adeptness Melly displays on “Ingredients”, and throughout much of the album the song belongs to, WE ALL SHINE, only serves to make his music and his self-caused situation even more tragic.