It’s tough to stand out in Atlanta’s off-kilter rap scene when you’re up against a team that counts Outkast, Jermaine Dupri, and the Ying Yang Twins among its ranks. You have to get real weird, unafraid to dive deep into the strangest parts of your lizard brain and proudly plant your freak flag. Jeffrey Williams, a.k.a. Young Thug, doesn’t have a long way to travel down those neural networks until he’s in uncharted territory—his hiccuped stylistics, his vocal unsteadiness, and his near indecipherability all add up to some of the trippiest deliveries since Weezy first sipped sizzurp. We say bring on the strange: Even if we can’t always understand what the man is saying, idiosyncrasy is just another word for interesting.
GQ: Are you a music lifer?
Young Thug: Yeah, I’ma be here forever. I don’t want to rap forever. But I want to be rich forever.
Why not rap forever?
I don’t want to be 50 years old and rapping, man. I’m pretty sure nobody wants to do that. I’m pretty sure Jay Z don’t wanna rap right now.
Why is it such a young man’s game?
If you’re 30, 40 years old, you’re not getting listened to by minors. Like, Jay Z has some of the sickest lyrics ever, but I would never buy his CD, just because of my age and because of his age. By the time I turn that old, I ain’t gonna be doing what he’s doing.
What is the next step for you?
I hope to be like Bill Gates, bro. With all the money in the world. Like Wayne, someday I want one of those kind of careers. Or Michael Jackson.
At what age do you drop the “Young” from your name?
I don’t think I’m gonna drop it, ’cause I want to be forever young. But if I had to…
What would you change it to?
My little niece always calls me Jeff the Rapper, so I might change it to that.