Future and Young Thug have circled each other for years like binary stars. The two boundary-pushing Atlanta rappers have alternately tweeted at and about each other with a mixture of respect and contempt while also showing up on albums together and incessantly teasing collaborative projects. The rumor goes, as with so many prolific rappers, that they’ve got whole albums worth of music in the can. Last night they proved they have at least one by surprise-releasing the excellent joint mixtape Super Slimey. 

Advertisement

With production by a murderer’s row of reliable producers, including Southside, Zaytoven, and Mike Will Made It, the record works as both a surprise mid-fall bump in the rap release calendar and a fascinating case study of their contrasting styles. Future has made collaborative albums with Gucci Mane and Drake before, but in Thugga he finds his most compelling contrast. Future’s hallucinatory style has long blended R&B-style emoting with technically virtuosic rapping, rendering moody beats into imagistic portrayals of excess, loneliness, and occasional, fleeting bliss. Young Thug’s pursued a similar fusion to different ends, this year releasing a “singing” album that spatters his mellifluous style over country, dancehall, and anything else he sets his sights on. His obvious antecedent Lil Wayne attempted to go rock and derailed his career, but Thug determined he could do anything and somehow stuck the landing.

The two rappers spiral around each other here for 40 minutes, interrupted only by Migos’ Offset, who you should always let interrupt you if he wants. It’s a welcome blast of new stuff from two of the most innovative rappers out there, and if you’re not familiar with either, a great introduction to their styles.