French artist Pierre Gaignard recalls first hearing Young Thug on a friend’s car radio. “At one point, my two mates were wailing,” Gaignard tells Rolling Stone. “I mean ‘wail’ in a melodic way. They were singing along to ‘Treasure’ featuring Zuse, and there was a sort of energy and nostalgia mixed in. At that moment, I noticed that this thing had transfixed me — I was witness to the scene, like an out-of-body experience. I had touched on something important from our generation.”
The experience inspired Gaignard to create a “fictional biopic” stitched together from images and footage he researched and found of Young Thug on social media. The short film, “Thug Roi, an Extraordinary Meeting With My Brother,” is part of a larger exhibit titled 2 Cups Stuffed, which also refers to a hit by the Atlanta rapper. The film will be screened at Galerie Eric Mouchet in Paris on February 23rd and the artist has shared an exclusive three-minute clip, which can be viewed above.
Gaignard explains that after he become obsessed with Young Thug, he began to follow him through different social-media platforms. “I talked to him without answering,” the artist says. “It was very strange. He offered so many things about his private life that I felt like I was a part of it. I wasn’t a fan, but part of his family. He made me discover Atlanta. I never physically went there, but at the end of the project, I was capable of walking alone in the city. I even knew the right exit on the motorway to find Cleveland Avenue.”
The artist says he’s tried to get in touch with Young Thug’s manager but never received a response, so he hopes that the rapper will see the film and reply in some way. “This film is like a letter addressed to him, a message in a bottle,” says Gaignard. “Maybe he will find it, maybe not.”