Listening to Young Thug is like listening to someone inventing a language from scratch. Raw sound is his primary method of transmission. Listen to his latest song, the C4-produced "You the World," which is almost entirely performed in adlibs, for proof and you'll quickly understand what makes him so special: Thug is capable of conveying feeling without explicitly vocalizing ideas. He doesn't require grammar, syntax, or the blessings of your gods to make a point He could do an entire song without words and we'd still get it. His adlibs carry his messages. So, with that in mind, I put together this handy-dandy guide to Young Thug's yelps, squawks, and barks that he peppers throughout his tunes.
Tyga's "Hookah" is a fun song that becomes much better when you cut the Tyga out of it, but that's neither here nor there. A few things that are worth mentioning, though, are the exceptional adlibs, one in particular being GOW! The GOW! is supposed to be the sound of a weapon firing; it caps off the bar, "Run up on me playing I'ma aim it at your face," which seems violent unless Young Thug is saying it, then it just feels like a friendly reminder. Thug tends to get creative with his weapon adlibs, so there aren't many more GOWs out there, but this one stands as a reminder that even the guns are more exciting in the Young Thug Universe.
("Geek'd Out My Mind," 1:12)
This is a #rare Young Thug adlib that feels like a reaction you might actually have in real life outside of a Young Thug song. It's fun to imagine this particular coo as the sound Thugga Thugga makes when he realizes the bedazzling really sets off the top coat of his nail polish.
ick, ick / CHICK!
("Rich Nigga Shit," 0:59, 1:02)
Young Thug's icks are the lesser incarnation of CHICKs, but that doesn't mean they don't pack a wallop themselves. The ick is used sparingly, and it fills relatively large gaps of empty space with minimal effort. An ick isn't so much a response to something gross as it is a chirping sound acting as a bird call of sorts. A CHICK! is like a fully evolved ick; it's much sharper and more potent. It's full on twittering.
("Extacy Pill," 1:22)
Shortly after Young Thug does the whole "Miley-sounds-kinda-like-Molly" thing in "Extacy Pill" he emits a sinister sounding, growl of a pronunciation for the word from the pit of his gut, and it is bone chilling. He continues to project the same way on the rest of the chorus' adlibs, but none hit as hard as that first one, which catches you off guard. It's almost intimidating enough to swear you off doing designer drugs. Almost.
("2 Cups Stuffed," 0:58, 1:02)
Hearing the LEAN! adlib basically has the opposite effect of drinking lean. It's rousing, it's a jolt of energy, and it's amazing, especially if you're #turnt. Only thing holding LEAN! back from being higher in the rankings is the fact that it's an actual word.
("Eww," 0:20, 0:59)
It's fitting that on a song called "Eww" Young Thug introduced an adlib that fully captures utter disgust. Close your eyes and you'll get flashbacks of every time you ever drank expired milk before checking it. Imagine what moment in time Thug has relive in order to channel such nausea. His revulsion is damn near palpable, so much so it almost feels weird to enjoy it.
The Yheaa is the ultimate way to mind-numbingly answer in the affirmative.
This is one of the best wordless vocals you'll hear. It serves no other purpose other than adding an additional layer of exuberance to an already animated Thug verse. It's hard not to be happy listening to a Young Thug song when he seems to be having such a good time making them. This is one Thug adlib that makes you think about how much better things would be if we could all incorporate Thug adlibs into everyday life.
("About The Money," 1:22)
We'll probably never see this one again. It's pretty much just modern day scatting. Completely improvisational. That's what makes it so good, and in a nutshell what makes Thug so enchanting. There's no way planned to do that ahead of time. We're blessed to have it.
("Long Time," 1:03)
The RRRAH! adlib is underappreciated (like the song it stems from), but not forgotten here. Thug upstages Migos adlibs with this one, and that's no small feat. "I catch you slipping; I pity the fool/ I take ya money I spend it on jewels," he spits before tacking on the adlib, and it's ornamental nature pushes it to the eleven spot. It puts the stress in the perfect place. Bonus points because I can't figure out whether its a roar or a gun firing.
("The Blanguage," 0:54)
Young Thug evokes real pain for this one. Not the pain you feel from a tough break up but the pain you feel from stubbing your toe or banging your hip on the jagged edge of a table. It almost channels an adolescent brush with injury. The best part about it is the cry follows the mention of an activity that most would perceive as enjoyable. Who knows why he seems to be aching in the background. Unpredictability is one of the ATLien's greatest weapons.
bap bap bap
"Treasure," fittingly, is a treasure trove of great Thug adlibs (including his most common one, which is ranked a bit higher), as well as great rapping. The one adlib that sticks out over Dun Deal's menacing production is the 3x bap, which is punching and completely unnecessary, but it enhances the sensory experience.
The autotuned Thug adlibs are usually dope, but this one is particularly special because its a reference to the incredible Ola Playa song of the same name that features Thug and its acronym. It's also a gang tag. sliiiiiime is to Young Thug what Soo Woo is to Wayne. Any time it pops up, he croons with so much passion it's impossible not to be transfixed by it.
("No Fucks," 1:06)
When Young Thug sneaks in the ZHAO! on "No Fucks" it's supposed to be a salute to a fallen comrade, a battle cry of sorts, but it feeds the aesthetic just as well as a random chant. In fact, it is even more mesmerizing if you think of it as an unplanned outburst. There simply aren't enough ZHAOs in the Young Thug canon.
("Danny Glover," 0:31, 1:53, 3:15)
It almost sounds like Young Thug is clearing his throat or hocking a loogie right before dropping into the hook on "Danny Glover". Either that or he's charging up in anticipation of delivering one of the most fire choruses of 2013. The right HAAAT! provides the perfect build up to an exceptional Young Thug moment. It is powerful and inspirational.
Woop Woop Woop
Young Thug Woops are less celebratory and more like sirens, but they still ring off enthusiastically and let you know something exciting is happening with his new car (it's geeked up in this instance). He completely breaks in the middle of his verse to pop off three of them in a row on "Hookah" and it is a huge pump up. The Woop is a great attention grabber that is electrifying. Take a moment to imagine every Chris Berman Woop and then replace it with a Young Thug Woop, and then you will find peace.
("Chasen Paper," 0:13)
It's ironic that a Thug verse almost entirely adlibed by Gucci Mane is highlighted by the one Young Thug adlib that kickstarts the entire song (this song is more or less a Young Thug song on a Gucci album). A Thug grunt isn't quite as robust as say a Rick Ross grunt, but has twice the impact and isn't nearly as worn. The careful nature with which it is used increases its effectiveness.
Most times, when Thugga drops a SHEESH! it feels like he can't even believe how dope the last thing he said was. 100% of the time, it's warranted. The SHEESH! adlib pops up in instances when it's so obvious Young Thug is the most exciting rapper on the planet that he too has to acknowledge it. We all should always acknowledge it, though.
("2 Cups Stuffed," 1:05)
In the shout-happy lean anthem, "2 Cups Stuffed," Young Thug unleashes the blood-curdling scream of a fleeing damsel-in-distress in a slasher flick right in the middle of his verse, and that's pretty much everything you need to know about why it's so high, and why Young Thug is one of the best doing it right now.
The TCHEE! adlib is a recurring sound that pops up in many of Thug's best songs, and with good reason: it is like nothing else in rap, even more so than other Thug adlibs. It literally sounds like a word from an alien language. You could even make the argument that it is his signature sound, but Young Thug has so many it feels wrong to pigeonhole him. He often varies the pitch and volume to suit the beat and cadence, but when applied to "Stoner," the woozy and wobbly ethereal synth produced jam from Dun Deal, it is otherworldly. Hard to make a case that any other Young Thug adlib is better.