Rolling Loud 2018: Young Thug

Aslesha Kumar/Staff

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The moment a recently bailed-out Young Thug came out to his Rolling Loud set Sunday in a huge chain, yellow hoodie, black coat, plaid pajamas and dad sneakers, it became evident that the coming hour was going to be anything but a letdown.

Young Thug is a leader of new-school rap, who innovates his music by filling the empty gaps between his bars with squeaks, chirps and other intelligible melodic vocals. On each song he releases, Young Thug displays not only his amazing technical ability to rap but also his tasteful ear for beats and his unique, infectious melodies.

This raw talent transferred over well to his set Sunday. As soon as “Audemar” — from the new album Slime Language — began playing on the stage speakers, the entire crowd began singing along to Young Thug’s walrus impersonation ad-libs that lead the song. This collective vibe continued when Young Thug played his 2014 T.I. collaboration, “About the Money.” The audience at once danced, shouted the lyrics and fed into the rapper’s bubbling energy.

Bottled smoothie in hand, Young Thug kept this energy going as he moved into more songs from old and new projects. “Killed Before” from Slime Language mesmerized the crowd as Thug did his best attempt at keeping up with the backing track. “Best Friend” from Slime Season threw fans back to 2015 when the rapper was approaching the legendary status he holds today.

Young Thug’s set was centered around its theatrics. From the fireworks that set off when the beat dropped on “Check” to the throwing of money into the audience during “Chanel (Go Get It),” each move elevated the songs from their already high levels to make for a creative, engaging live performance.

Justin Sidhu covers music. Contact him at [email protected].