Young Thug: Barter 6

Promising Atlanta rapper's latest offering underplays his biggest strengths

Credit: Roger Kisby/Getty

At his best over the past two years — on one-off puffs of narcotized minimalism like "Stoner" and "Danny Glover" — this 23-year-old Atlanta trap star reveled in an unhinged musicality, his whoops, barks, yelps and rhymes communicating an aggrieved freedom. But here that's submerged beneath an endless slurry of syrupy tracks, as tales of murking, licking, smoking and spending spool out in an undifferentiated haze. Young Thug's cocaine is white like Justin Bieber, his diamonds are yellow like Funyuns, his cars are foreign and his clothes designer. But he doesn't sound like he's having much fun. There are a few memorable hooks (notably the T.I. feature "Can't Tell" and the rooster crows on "Never Had It"), but not nearly enough. Too often, it all sounds boastful and sad in the same moment, like a promising young fighter warning you he can hit so hard it doesn't matter if he's too messed up to form a fist.