"Slime Language 2" Leaves Emerging Rappers in the Lurch

Throughout the late 2010s, Young Thug proved himself as one of this era’s most significant rappers, shaping the genre both sonically and stylistically. While his eccentric delivery and untamed vocal inflections have inspired countless imitators, Thug has also directly promoted several relatively unknown artists by signing them to his Young Stoner Life (YSL) Records imprint under 300 Entertainment. With YSL’s latest release “Slime Language 2,” the follow-up compilation album to 2018’s “Slime Language,” Thug attempts to showcase several of his label’s lesser-known acts. These signees, however, are largely overshadowed by the slew of powerhouse artists who dominate the first half of the project.

With Young Thug and Gunna’s consistent presence, and features from Travis Scott, Drake, Lil Baby and Lil Uzi Vert all within the first seven songs, “Slime Language 2” initially feels more like a who’s who of Young Thug’s famous friends rather than a display of YSL’s emerging talent. This approach, however, generates several memorable moments that stand out among the album’s bloated tracklist. On “Solid,” Drake fluidly delivers lyrics like “Find me somewhere out in London/You know that’s the hideaway” and “Walkin’ from here to my bedroom/It feel like it’s miles away,” demonstrating his unique ability to make his obscenely opulent lifestyle resonate with listeners. On “Proud of You,” Uzi and Thug gleefully declare  their admiration for one another in an infectiously endearing way. These two tracks, along with “Ski,” the lead-off track “Slatty” and Future’s comical yet catchy “Superstar,” will remain staples of my playlists for the foreseeable future. 

Despite the prominence of mainstream acts, a few up-and-comers on “Slime Language 2” do make the most of their opportunity. Lil Keed, YSL’s most promising young artist, brings contagious energy to his appearances on both “Warrior” and “Came Out.” On “Real,” Young Thug’s older brother Unfoonk unleashes emotionally charged croons about love and loyalty, making sure not to be outdone by his little bro. Currently boasting only 7,500 monthly listeners on Spotify, Unfoonk’s remarkable performance stands out as one that may actually bring him significant attention. 

Largely produced by YSL’s in-house producers (Taurus, Turbo and, more frequently, Wheezy), “Slime Language 2” has very few songs that should be classified as bad — with the exception of “Como Te Llama.” The album’s larger issue is that it doesn’t offer too much that we haven’t heard before. Take, for example, “Paid the Fine,” produced by Wheezy. In the song, Lil Baby delivers an impressive verse, complete with clever lines like “Think I walk on water but I never let no bridges burn.” However, his flow and the track’s instrumentals sound strikingly similar to “Catch the Sun,” a standout from his 2020 album “My Turn.” With a staggering 23 songs (31 on the deluxe edition), this project also does not feature enough sonic diversity to remain interesting throughout the latter half of its tracklist. Less than an hour in, the songs begin to blend together, requiring greater effort on behalf of the listener to remain fully engaged. 

By placing them next to some of the most popular artists in the world, YSL and Young Thug provided opportunities for many up-and-coming rappers to boost their name recognition. Some, such as Unfoonk, took full advantage, delivering captivating performances in hopes of  kick-starting a career. Others did not fully rise to the occasion.  With its extensive tracklist and lack of consistent highs, “Slime Language 2”  is not as memorable as other rap compilation albums such as those from the late 2010s, like A$AP Mob’s “Cozy Tapes” or Cactus Jack’s “Jackboys.” Anyone who is a fan of Young Thug, Atlanta trap music or modern hip-hop in general should give it a listen nonetheless. In the worst-case scenario, you will find a couple of worthy additions to your playlist, while, in the best-case, you may discover an exciting new artist to follow.