Atlanta’s latest prodigy Young Thug might just be one of the most iconic rappers of all time, and not even because of his unusual cadence or his audacious lyrics. This man will go down in the hip-hop archives as a man who challenged hypermasculinity in the most intrepid fashion yet.
For those of you who have never heard of Young Thug, prepare to be impressed. The 25 year-old is straight out of the Dirty South, home to an obscene level of hypermasculinity, where Thugger’s long flowy dresses and eccentric taste in clothes is probably seen as repulsive. The artist’s style is distinctive, being that he contorts his voice in the most intriguing ways. This unconventional vocal delivery gained him a large following. Now, Young Thug has slowly risen to become one of the best mainstream artists of our time.
His image is even more distinguished. Young Thug proudly wears women’s clothing, and has stated in the past that he prefers the way women’s clothing fits on him. Whenever asked why he “dresses like a girl”, he just simply states that dresses like a prince. This level of confidence and indulgence in the way he chooses to express himself is exactly what society has been starved of since the dawn of time.
The photo above is the album cover for Thugger’s latest project, titled “No, My Name Is Jeffery”, which debuts today. This is certainly a rather brave approach to introducing his newest body of work to the world.
There are an abundance of legendary men who broke the gender barrier at some point in their career: David Bowie, Prince, and just recently, Jaden Smith. Young Thug may not be the first man to express his fluidity, however this sort of self-expression is not too common in the rap scene. There are not any rappers, especially mainstream rappers, who have entirely disregarded what society says and done something in the name of individuality and creativity. In black culture specifically, gender-roles are enforced rather heavily, especially for black men. Gay black men and transgender black women are without a doubt part of the most oppressed minorities in this country. These black men who accept themselves are already faced with overcoming internalized racism and homophobia, then they have to bear the burden of being unacceptable by societal standards.
Young Thug willingly puts himself out for the world to see who he truly is; a carefree black boy with no intention of seeking approval from his peers. Young Thug is vital to the culture because more and more of us should be confident in the things that we love and the way we choose to carry ourselves, despite the labels that we are confined to. Despite the way social media is currently crucifying him, it really does not matter: Young Thug slayed that album cover, looks incredible in that dress, and deserves as much support as possible if we plan on defeating the predetermined labels we have been confined to.
Written by @thatsojaedyn of Affinity Magazine