Mixtapes are a different animal to LPs; there isn’t really stylistic or narrative coherence. Each track has to be treated as if it were some sort of standalone demo, a half developed idea that wouldn’t fit anywhere on an album. So Slime Season can be excused from a directionless approach, right? Hmm.
There is undoubtedly some really interesting stuff here. ‘Wood Would’ shows how adept Young Thug can be as a songwriter – his voice fits the washed beat brilliantly and his yearning is enthralling. The mixtape hints at brilliance with the dark ‘Freaky’: a punchy beat lets Thug use his welloiled flow to deliver good lines on one of the standout tracks. He can do both, but only when they’re clearly separated and defined. Unfortunately, he’s certainly guilty of trying to do too much in too small a space.
Slime Season loses its way within the tracks themselves far too easily. When the beats aren’t topquality they’re absolutely woeful, and often Thug’s eclectic vocal style results in a warbling mess in place of any poignancy. ‘Be Me See Me’ is musical sludge and needs either tougher instrumentation or harder vocals. ‘Overdosin’ is one step away from drunken yodelling. Maybe that’s the aim, but Young Thug is not a convincing, or consistent, enough songwriter to really engage with the role he’s trying to play – he seems too reluctant to find an identity. It’s a really weird situation; he’s at his best when rapping over heavy beats, but he doesn’t play to his strengths.
His vocal range is good for the most part and his ability to rap well and sing decently is appealing, but when he’s using five different vocal styles in four minutes it’s difficult to see where the direction is within the track. The philosophy’s only barely passable because Slime Season is a mixtape, designed for experimentation, but it’s frustrating when his full studio release Barter 6 has tracks that are much more coherent. Modern hiphop needs some sort of sharp, defining edge (think Death Grips, Kendrick Lamar et al.) and Slime Season feels a bit like a dull blade.