Enigmatic Atlanta rapper Young Thug is gearing up for the Oct. 15 release of Punk, and he let Complex into his world as he put finishing touches on the record.
The publication’s “Young Thug Week” features multiple interviews with the 30-year-old artist and many of his YSL cohorts, including Gunna and Strick, about his unorthodox lifestyle and recording process. We’ve rounded up five of the most interesting tidbits we learned about the So Much Fun rapper’s upcoming record and provocative lifestyle below.
1. Thug requires an all-white dress code during recording sessions – artificial snow included
Though no clear explanation was given, Thug had a strict dress code for anyone who stepped into the house where Punk was being finished. All guests and collaborators were to wear all-white, and even though it was a 70-degree September day in Atlanta, the house windows were covered in ice and artificial snow was placed on the ground outside. Inside, white curtains draped the windows and a centerpiece TV played slow-motion footage of icy glaciers.
2. Punk is a focused effort in personal storytelling, above all else
In contrast to the easygoing, celebratory nature of his 2019 effort So Much Fun, Thug took his time to conceptualize the themes and focus of Punk, prioritizing personal storytelling in his verses. There’s a new layer of seriousness in tone throughout the record that he believes will surprise some fans. “I usually don’t show emotion, which is why my storytelling songs be so hard,” he says. “Y’all usually don’t see nothing from me, so when you hear a song that’s really serious, you’re like, ‘Oh my f—ing God.’ You remember a n—a human.” He later adds: “Punk is just real-life stories. The whole album is purified. It’s just real.”
3. Nate Ruess of Fun. lends vocals to Punk
Fun. lead singer Nate Ruess laid down vocals for Punk in a fuzzy white sweater, abiding by Thug’s dress code. Ruess has been living in semi-retirement following the disbandment of Fun. in 2015, with sporadic songwriting credits in the years following. Thug has been a longtime noted fan of Fun. and Ruess, and while the extent of his involvement on Punk is unspecified, expect to hear the Fun. lead singer somewhere on the record when it’s out.
4. Thug has multiple exotic pets; all are named Tootie
Bainz, Thug’s preferred engineer for recording sessions, shared the story of Thug’s initial interest in exotic domestication, further explaining that they have since adopted snakes, tarantulas, a mini bulldog and a Bengal cat. The presence of these exotic animals inspired the name behind YSL’s main recording studio, aptly called the “Snake Pit.” Gunna later added that they all share the same name. “They all family,” Gunna told Complex. “We treat them like family, and they’re all named Tootie, every last one of them.”
5. He served as the inspiration behind Drake’s Hot 100 No. 1 Hit “Way 2 Sexy”
Thug shared an interesting anecdote about the studio session that birthed Drake’s Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 “Way 2 Sexy,” proclaiming that he was the inspiration for the song’s general theme. He hilariously recalled track collaborator Future complimenting his looks as he showed up to the session. He also added that he helped guide the creative direction of the song’s creation. “‘2 Sexy’ is one of those songs that I coached,” Thug said. “[Future] and Drake feel the same way, like, ‘Damn, without Thug on this, there is no possible way this song could have even came to be.'”
Thug is slated to perform on Saturday Night Live on Oct. 16 following the release of Punk. He previewed songs from the album during a July NPR Tiny Desk Concert and shared pre-release single “Tick Tock” with fans.