As his buzz continues to build, Young Thug's label situation has been a frequent topic of conversation among rap fans. Is he signed to Gucci Mane? Is he part of Future's Freebandz? What's his association with Young Money?
Some clarity has been provided by an extensive piece on Buzzfeed.
"He'd signed a contract...that he couldn't get out of," the story explains. "According to multiple sources, he felt ripped off and went rogue, seeking out new advisers, while those at the label that now owned a percentage of his income scratched their heads and waited."
It's a lot to sift through, with plenty of moving parts, but we've got what you need to know.
It starts before Thug was popping on a large scale thanks to his singles "Stoner" and "Danny Glover" — making fans of everyone from Drake to Kanye West along the way — when the Atlanta rapper was working closely with Gucci Mane. Though the terms are unknown, Thug signed a production deal with Gucci and began releasing music, including February 2013's 1017 Thug mixtape.
However, once, Gucci Mane was sent to jail in September, Thug began looking for a new deal; he thought his previous agreement was void, according to the story. This led to the 22-year-old's signing with Artist Partners Group, an Atlantic Records imprint, not long after Gucci was locked up.
This created a partnership between Gucci and APG that neither actually knew existed — since Thug didn't disclose, and maybe even didn't know, that he was still in business with Gucci. Until last year, Gucci and his 1017 Brick Squad label had been signed to Atlantic themselves, though reports say that both he and 1017 were dropped from the major in 2013.
"If APG knew about his deal with Gucci at that point, they might have not even signed him," a source told Buzzfeed. But they didn't know, and they did sign him — reportedly to a "full-blown 360 deal" for just $30,000, including a $15,000 advance.
Things seemed to sour relatively quickly between Thug and APG, exemplified when the label allegedly declined to pay for his expenses if he signed on as an opener on Danny Brown's tour. These days, although Atlantic is still responsible for working "Stoner" at radio, APG and Thug no longer communicate. He "felt ripped off and went rogue," according to the story.
Apparently ready to move on from both Brick Squad and APG, in January, Thug said that he signed with Future's Freebandz, which is distributed by Epic/Sony. Then, in February, after a brief stint where Abou "Bu" Thiam managed him, Birdman came on to manage the young rapper. At that point, he started claiming Rich Gang as his set — though isn't signed to YMCMB.
So, after all that, who is Young Thug really signed to? In various ways, it seems, he is indeed aligned with Gucci Mane, Atlantic Records, and Young Money, in a complicated situation.
Regardless of who officially should put out the music, Young Thug will: he reportedly has separate releases in the works with Gucci, Rich Homie Quan and produced Metro Boomin.