Yung Gleesh is a rapper from Washington DC with a style totally his own. He calls it shitbag music and it's a kind of “by any means necessary” philosophy about acknowledging the bald reality of a bad situation and doing what you have to do to get yourself out of it. He explained it the clearest in an interview with the Washington City Paper last year: “Be a shitbag, be the worst type of person there is even though it's not really permanent, it's just for the time being. It's for a reason.” His earlier mixtapes in the Cleansides Finest series are excellent primers built on “appropriated” beats and prioritising his off-kilter but deceptively complex flow, with the mood swinging wildly from deranged and dangerous to joyous and transcendent and always marked with a deep sense of resignation. He isn't a struggle rapper or a conscious rapper but there is real pain in his music and, though he doesn't explicitly try to isolate himself, Yung Gleesh is often slightly apart from the hyper-active, hyper-acquisitive mentality of many other young street rappers today.
He recently spent some time in Atlanta working with Gucci Mane's 1017 crew – a growing collection of some of the city's finest talent like Young Thug and Pee Wee Longway – and producers like Zaytoven, someone he was still jacking beats from just over a year ago. The result of that time is a dual mixtape/street album release, with the mixtape 1-8 Zone Shawty in the vein of his older work and the album Ain't Shit Changed a more developed and glossier project that clearly shows the influence of his time in Atlanta alongside collaborations with Harlem's Ryder Music Group, Chicago's GBE (there is talk that Gleesh may officially link up with Chief Keef's hybrid 1017 Glo Gang imprint soon) and his frequent DC affiliates the Slutty Boyz. Despite this creative expansion Yung Gleesh is still the main focus and the title of the album alludes to his constancy: “I might have been in Atlanta but ain't shit different, ain't shit changed” he re-iterates.
The video for the album opener '2 Thangs' featuring Wicced and produced by YDG – both part of MPA BandCamp, yet another branch of Gucci Mane's 1017 empire – is premiered here. Shot in Atlanta, it shows the cross-pollination of flashy, druggy Auto-Tuned music and the damaged and self-depreciating style that makes Yung Gleesh such a unique figure in the current rap climate.