Photo Credit: Andrew Toth
Young Thug’s latest release Business Is Business disappointingly falls flat, failing to capture the anticipated bite and intrigue from an artist returning from a year-long incarceration. The album’s eclectic nature gives the impression of a farewell album, with Thug’s performance feeling strictly business and considerably diminished. The album only manages to spark interest through the guest features, with tracks like “Money on the Dresser” and “Hoodie” delivering catchy yet uninspired materialistic lyrics.
Inconsistency plagues Business Is Business, as standout performances on tracks like “Want Me Dead” and “Abracadabra” remind listeners of Thug’s past brilliance, while his verse on “Cars Bring Me Out” fails to deliver any standout bars. Though there is still chemistry between Thug and Future, it proves insufficient to salvage the lackluster delivery. Despite the potential impact of Thug’s prison time on his musical career, the album fails to explore this theme compellingly, leaving listeners yearning for deeper and more meaningful content.
The album begins with “Parade on Cleveland,” setting a melodramatic, mafioso tone with Drake delivering an underwhelming opening verse on Thug’s behalf. It takes over two minutes for Thug to even make an appearance, and when he finally does, his verse lacks the depth and energy found on past album intros. The opportunity to address his relationship with Gunna, who accepted a plea deal and was released from prison, is apparent with lines like “Just pushin’ more Peter // more sweeter, more completer than any Peter pusher around,” but the editing leaves us guessing at the true context behind the quote.
While violence, snitching, and criminal behavior are customary topics for Thug’s lyrics, they lack the weight and introspection needed to truly engage listeners. Instead of pushing the boundaries of his comfort zone and tapping into a personal narrative, Thug falls back on familiar themes. This stands in stark contrast to collaborator Gunna, who recently released a Gift and a Curse, an album that delves into the toll his legal battles took on him. It is a missed opportunity for Thug to offer a more candid reflection on his own situation and life.
Although, Thug’s vocal prowess remains undeniable, showcasing his technical skill and versatility throughout the album. On tracks like “Gucci Grocery Bag,” he reaches gleeful heights with his trademark squawks and coos, while “Went Thru It” showcases a vulnerable side with strained vocals that heighten the emotional impact. Thug’s acrobatic antics are matched by the likes of Lil Uzi Vert and 21 Savage, who push him to deliver even more animated performances on tracks like “Hellcat Kenny” and “Want Me Dead.” However, his supporting cast often falls short, disrupting the flow and momentum that Thug builds with their inferior imitations.
The production, led by Metro Boomin, feels disappointingly safe and uninspired. The beats lack the nocturnal accents and cinematic scope that have defined his previous work, leaving the tracks feeling generic and unremarkable. Contributions from Wheezy and London on da Track suffer a similar fate, with limited experimentation and clean, formulaic percussion patterns. The lackluster production does little to enhance the overall experience.
Thug himself acknowledges that Business Is Business is simply work, lacking the energy and jovial attitude present in his best material. Unfortunately, this sacrifice of his trademark style fails to yield meaningful results. Young Thug’s unique vocal talent can only carry an album so far when it lacks the substance and straightforwardness that could have made it truly compelling. Ultimately, Business Is Business falls short of its potential, leaving listeners craving the idiosyncratic details and depth that Young Thug failed to deliver.