8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 21, at Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland.
Young Thug poses in a sumptuous dress on the cover of his acclaimed new mixtape, “Jeffery.” The transgressive image is in keeping with the fascinating persona cultivated by Jeffery Lamar Williams, the groundbreaking rapper who forced his way into the mainstream in 2016.
In a recent interview with the fashion magazine V, Williams, 25, said he hopes that his predilection for wearing women’s clothes will encourage fans to “stop believing in genders.” Not everyone accepts Williams’ nonconformity. Hip-hop, a bastion of traditional masculine norms, has a correspondingly conservative fan base. Many observers mercilessly mock one of the most vital Southern rappers of his generation.
Williams may look different, but the three solo mixtapes he has released in the past 10 months are littered with the sort of ugly misogyny, rapacious materialism and lewd decadence that make hip-hop untenable for many potential listeners.
Sterling production that’s just as distinctive as his striking fashion choices compensate for Williams’ lyrical excesses. His blurry, frequently unintelligible flow is paired with soundscapes that convey futuristic globalism. The hallucinatory “Tattoos,” a wanton selection on his “Slime Season 3” mixtape, sounds like the theme song of a cutting-edge nightclub in Abu Dhabi. Williams boasts that “my money way longer than a NASCAR race” over a nimble reggae rhythm on “Wyclef Jean,” the most popular song on “Jeffery.”
21 Savage, a coarse rapper from Williams’ base in Atlanta with a similarly left-of-center sensibility, opens Monday’s show.
Tickets cost $35 in advance. For more info, go to midlandkc.com or call 816.283.9921.
Concert previews by Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink