A delirious British debut show...
Young Thug (Credit: Blaow)

Most don’t sell out their first London show in a matter of hours but then again few have cared less for social boundaries than Young Thug has. He shows up to the O2 Academy Islington looking somewhere between Cam'ron and Kanye West, clad in all pink, tipped off with a flushed burgundy fedora.

Anticipation was high for Thug’s London debut and his welcoming was the closest thing trap rap has got to Beatlemania. Eight hundred wide-eyed fans chanting his name, unremitting until he steps out onto the stage. He doesn’t disappoint either, rolling straight into 'With That' and other cuts from April’s 'Barter 6'. The 23-year-old has amassed a cult following in what has been a relatively short career, and a frenzied reception was expected but nobody had planned for what took place. When he wails along to '2 Cups Stuffed' and 'Get TF Out My Face' the heaving crowd jostle and throng spilling over into the section cordoned off by the entrance to the stage.

The O2, packed to the rafters, gave off an energy more akin to Eskimo dance or one of those Class A-fuelled illicit warehouse raves in the woods somewhere off the M25. Girls on shoulders, inhibitions left with the bouncers pat down and a potent stench of weed. It’s the natural cue for Thug to launch into 'Stoner'; one of a handful of breakout hits. Pacing back and forth he demands to know “Where all my stoners at!?” turning even the most sober amongst us into 4/20 patrons. He continues on the narcotised tip with the Tyga-assisted 'Hookah', the melodic hook inciting further rapture.

The unruly atmosphere never settles after that and Thug launches into some of his leading cuts, Danny Glover and Check. In the midst of the anarchy a few iPhones fling through the air; lost to stomping trainers and crashing high heels. Security bullies to the front and hoist a limp teen on their shoulders. It was too much for some to handle. Thug takes it all in his stride, sold out shows are like a Monday for him; regardless of how frantic the crowd or the fact that he’s half way around the world for the first time.

In terms of buzz Thug is second to only Drake at the moment. He loses the fedora and his top; continuing with his melodic half sang half rapped drawl that stirs the demon inside all who hear it. When he asks what to perform next the building descends into a mesh of illegible screams. “Check!” a guy screams next to me, “No, Lifestyle!” shouts his friend. The breadth of selection is a small insight into why he has been rap MVP since 2014. Not even the 6 God has amassed more hits in the last 18 months. This seems to register with Thug and for a second he breaks from his engraved blank stare and allows himself a small grin.

“Who knows my friend Jamie xx?” he beams; hollering “I know there’s gonna be…” before dropping the mic to the crowd who yell back in unison, “Good times!”

Words: Aniefiok Ekpoudom (@AniefiokEkp)
Photo Credit: Blaow

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