Over the years, we’ve been given fleeting glimpses of two of Young Thug’s sisters, Dora and Dolly. Towards the end of Barter 6’s searing “OD,” Thug cried, “Dollywhite I do it for you slime / Dora I do it for you slime.” On last fall’s “Best Friend,” Thug mentioned keeping his sisters close — “My lil’ sister Dora eat them Lucky Charms and give me luck” — and the women appeared, briefly, in the song’s surreal video. Thug’s love for his sisters is by no means undocumented, but our knowledge of them has always arrived in fragments. But on “Family,” the final track on Thug’s excellent new mixtapebutitcostsmoney Slime Season 3/I’m Up, Dora and Dolly are finally grounded as formative human presences, each given the space to spit a sparse, painful verse on their brother’s record. The glimpse becomes a full view. Thug’s true genius lies in his ability to tuck brief moments of searing pain and brutal reality into braggadocio-filled bars, and it’s this contrast that makes him such a compelling artist. Here, he shares that skill with his sisters. As Dora raps, “Everybody know who I be / Lil’ Dora from that fuckin’ Zone 3 / Determination / Dedication,” we hear Dolly in the background moaning — painfully, but proudly — “Sliiiiiiiime.” It’s one of the first truly beautiful musical moments of 2016, a profoundly deep connection to a lifesaving sibling translated into a single word. Of course, the teacher will always have a leg up on the student, and as such Thug gets the last word when it comes to statements of emotional heft. Case in point: Towards the end of his verse, the beat drops out for a second and Thug offers what is perhaps the most achingly undeniable of inner-city aphorisms: “Cuz if you got dope then you got hope.” Like all the most affecting Thuggerisms, its force is ephemeral. His next line: “Baby pussy wide as a boat!” Thug’s words disappear as the gently twinkling London on da Track production rolls along, just another cloud of vapor carried to the studio ceiling. But I dare you to ignore the pain – and the love – in his voice. Indeed, “Family” stands as a compelling display of genuine human affection and dependency — something intangible that flows between Young Thug, his ten siblings, his mother, and the six children of his own, all of whom depend on his star power for survival. Thug’s world is quite literally on his back. Here, though, we get the sense that they’ve got his back, too.
Listen here. Image from here.