- SPIN Rating:4 of 10
Label: 1017 Brick Squad
Presumably cobbled together using old recordings from back when waning trap hero Gucci Mane wasn't in jail, and released now to capitalize on the 2014 buzz surrounding bizarro baby talk rapper-on-the-verge Young Thug (thanks to street hit "Danny Glover" and radio oddity "Stoner"), Young Thugga Mane La Flare is as half-assed as its ugly-as-hell cover.
For grizzled veteran Gucci Mane, Young Thugga Mane La Flare doesn't even rise to the level of the umpteenth "I'm still standing" declaration like last year's mixtape series, Lean, Molly, and Gas. Sure, as the anchor of the tape, Gucci still stacks words like few others, but he's pretty much checked out, his delivery Fox Mulder-bland and unaffected. Only "Stoner 2 Times" fully exhibits the rubbery charms of his best writing and rising and falling delivery (here, with some artful enjambment and meter-adjusting lyrical trickery): "All I ride is Forgiato, strip club making 4 gs out of/ Porches and Rolls Royces/ I got chargers, all my clothes designer/ Damn that belt is hard to find, Versace blanket, matching anklet, pinky blingin', smokin', stinkin', fall asleep but still drinkin'."
You're listening to a very talented but dying-inside rapper, here. You're also hearing Young Thug, the next wave of street rap eccentricity, propping Gucci Mane up waiting for his bonkers hooks. Too bad Thug isn't trying that hard either. Or rather, Thug's skills are molting into something else every couple of months now, so even stand outs like "Bricks" (featuring Thug doing a mousey high-pitched accent at the end of every word) and "Ride Around the City" (which finds Thug twisting his croon around filter-trap effects) already feel like time capsule tracks looking back to early 2013's 1017 Thug mixtape.
Then there's "Siblings" and "OMG," which have got to be two of the most bizarre things Thug has ever recorded. On the former, he sounds like a ghoul melting into the ground as he whines about wanting "your siblings," and on "OMG" he sounds like Grady from Sanford & Son singing over G-Funk. That something this insane even made it out to the public is fascinating, though it also proves that absolutely no quality control was exerted over this tape. Perhaps Young Thugga Mane La Flare is best used to see Gucci Mane and Young Thug, two very talented and rarefied rappers, lacking almost all of their interesting qualities. And in that sense, it's like putting on They Live sunglasses and viewing these guys as the "real hip-hop" contingent hope to see them all the time: As listless, blathering personalities not even trying.