Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Rich Gang ft. Young Thug & Rich Homie Quan – Lifestyle

Set of blurbs, or commentary on who feels old?


Maxwell Cavaseno: “QUAN VOICE!” Jeffrey The Giraffe, aka Thugger Thugger, comes through over a breezy instrumental in full-fledged futuristic kid on summer vacation mode, courtesy of Birdman Sr’s vanity singles label. Young Thug hasn’t established any concrete success yet, but he’s earned the respect of his hero’s daddy, so he’s in full-fledged leap into the air and click your heels together heaven. Meanwhile, his fellow sparring partner Rich Homie Baby provides a slurry sea of rap that anyone who knows Quan from his turn-up anthems and key-shattered hooks would be sorely deprived of. Supposedly the duo’s EP might actually still happen, so here’s hoping this and Quan’s “Get TF Out My Face” are the harbingers of some true greatness from such lovable misfits. Oh, and yeah… “QUAN VOICE!”

Alfred Soto: A quiet competition to see which rapper can pitch his voice the highest (it’s as if this is the point of the “lifestyle”) or repeat clusters of words.

Jessica Doyle: This isn’t the best introduction to Young Thug, is it? It’s like someone told him to bring the voice but none of the loopy free-association to go with it. Y’all tell me what part of the back catalog to listen to; meanwhile I’ll stick around just long enough to appreciate that, in the midst of an also-not-his-best verse, Rich Homie Quan gives the late Willie B a shoutout.

Megan Harrington: I gather that Rich Homie Quan is not a beloved quantity. On the occasions I’ve admitted to being a fan, I’m met with derision. Partnering with Young Thug exponentially increases the chance that no one will understand what he’s saying or listen closely, but in his own strangely metered way, Quan finds a lane on “Lifestyle” that doesn’t demand flaunting and bragging. He shouts out Clipse and Lupe Fiasco before ending his verse “Hey, I’m on the top like toupee/ Hey, I’m in her mouth like toothpaste.” They’re charming lines, testaments to Quan’s humility and sense of metaphor. 

Crystal Leww: Minya Oh’s book Bling Bling: Hip Hop’s Crown Jewels is my favorite coffee table book because it makes me look smart and interesting while still being a book full of pictures of rappers. Miss Info just has a way of asking the questions that make hip hop’s greats reveal great truths about their histories and motivations. She never outright says it, but interview after interview, it’s clear to me that when hip hop artists talk about jewels, there is something aspirational about their materialism and showing openly that they are taking care of the people around them. Masked by a turn-up chorus and asides about women and weed, “Lifestyle” is at its core all about how Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan do what they do for their moms, their dads, their kids, their siblings. This is a brag anthem about taking care of the people around you that are important. The black bro love that shines through between Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan is also invaluable to how this song reads. I can’t help but feel deeply emotional when I listen to “Lifestyle.”

Rebecca A. Gowns: I appreciate Young Thug’s dedication to his family and friends. His voice is mesmerizing; I am a deer in the headlights.

Hazel Robinson: Y’know, I like this. It’s got some rambling vocal touches that are so endlessly indulgent I’m kind of incredibly angry I live in London and the reason my transport rides real slow is cus it’s a bus, rather than Miami with a Cadillac. But at the same time it never actually gets a hook in that would elevate it anywhere above a momentary, immersive pleasure.

Andy Hutchins: Thugger is barely even finishing some syllables, much less bars, here, but that isn’t the part of “Lifestyle” that makes me feel old: Quan, who is several months older than I am, saying “I’m skatin’, like that nigga Lupe” — “Kick, Push” is eight years old now — is the best reason to be acutely aware of my own seasoning, and Birdman shouting Miss Gladys to remind me of 2005’s “Get Your Shine On” is runner-up. Still, Thug plus (insert anyone) is dynamic where so much is inert.

Anthony Easton: The echoing finger snaps are a really fantastic sound, his voice is smooth as hot butter on toast, and the whole thing is sad in a self conscious way, I like how smartly this is constructed.

Brad Shoup: Those snaps hurt, or I’m old. Thugger’s gift for pictures is tarnished a bit, but he might be the only person who could sing this hook like it’s an inspirational poster. This song’s actually pitched somewhere between comeup and game maintenance, despite the presence of Birdman, the most genial vampire in music.

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: Never mind Birdman verses, but Birdman song-ending adlibs are the Rap Game Tanooki Suit: upgrading something that already flies high and slamming down hard. Also, Birdman has the emotional range of a statue, so it’s fitting. Young Thug is the opposite, a quivering shaky post-digital AutoTuned noise that exists for capital-E Emotion. He went through a lot for the lifestyle he now leads, and even if you can’t decipher eighty-five percent of his gurgles, you can hear that gratification loud and clear. His savvy mispronunciation of “college” is a trick adapted from mixtape-era Lil Wayne, lending “Lifestyle” an odd sense of coronation before its Birdman hand-rub outro commences. To use wrestling terminology for a moment, this is the head of the company putting over the next champ, the guy who’s meant to lead us by the hand into the future of the YMCMB promotion. Thugga is Evolution-era Batista, a freakishly athletic force the company’s happy to be behind; Birdman is Ric Flair, aging disgracefully and wonderfully as the Nature Boy did; Rich Homie Quan is Randy Orton, an underrated workhorse with glimmers of dextrous ability.

Josh Love: My absolute favorite part of this song (second place: everything Young Thug does in general) is on the hook when Thug goes “This is only the beginning,” and I don’t know what exactly he was aiming for with his delivery since it’s always gloriously ridiculous, but right there he sounds like nothing so much as a petulant Brit-rocker, like Thom Yorke circa 1993. I’m glad that bit gets repeated several times in this song because it makes me giddy every time.

Reader average: [7.14] (7 votes)

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8 Responses to “Rich Gang ft. Young Thug & Rich Homie Quan – Lifestyle”

  1. Jessica, if you were quite serious, buy “I Came From Nothing 2” off of iTunes or wherever it’s available right now. I care nothing of this ‘free-association’, it’s ALL about the voice.

  2. Maxwell: I was. Thank you!

  3. standing up for the free association- ‘foreign car outside that bitch got two digits/money stand, like, eight feet just like two midgets’

    actually those are perfect rap lines in just about every sense I can imagine

  4. Maxwell, I’m listening to it now and my first considered critical reaction is disappointment that “Bonjour” is only 1:32

  5. ICFN2 is actually a masterpiece. I’m still a bit stunned “Keep In Touch” got slagged as much as it did here.

  6. I was so so wrong about this.

  7. Alfred, if you want to make up for this, listen to Thug on his duo tape w/ Bloody Jay “Black Portland” on the song “Forever Bloody”. It’s mixed like shit, but I swear, Jeffrey sounds like a kid on a big-wheel tricycle rushing down a street. It’s v. close to what Josh was getting @ w/ the Yorke comparison (which is weirdly effective).

    I actually have a top 10 of absurd Young Thug moments, and obv. that and “QUAN VOICE!” are in there, because there is nothing more adorable than watching Quan and Jeff look at each other and grin and point and scream “QUAN VOICE”. These two need to be in a buddy comedy ASAP, fuck the Judd Apatow crew.

  8. An acquaintance zipped YT’s best solo and guest appearances this year; it’s all I’ve listened to today.