Songs of the Decade: “Lifestyle”

Over the next month, I’ll be going long on some songs that have stuck with me for whatever reason. Here’s Rich Gang’s “Lifestyle”:

In the summer of 2014, the Rich Gang iteration consisting of Birdman, Rich Homie Quan and Young Thug dropped the single, “Lifestyle,” for the yet-to-be-released (never) Rich Gang: Tha Tour Pt. 2. It would mark a lot of what we’ve come to expect from these artists through the decade: Thugs vocal gymnastics, Quan giving an under-appreciated yet over-shadowed performance, London on da Track’s signature keys and breezy melody, catchy albeit near incoherent hooks, wild one-liners (Thug’s “n***as couldn’t see me if they had a genie,” or Quan’s “I’m in her mouth just like toothpaste.”) and Birdman talking all over a song—showing how helpful and healthy his support for emerging artists always was (I’m sorry, that was unnecessary).

“Lifestyle” marks the end of a duo that, for a moment, could have joined the duo Mount Rushmore with the likes of UGK, Mobb Deep and Outkast. Instead, Thug rose to near superstardom and Quan continued a productive if subdued, by comparison, career. The duo complemented one another perfectly; Quan’s mouth half-closed rasp after Thug’s open-lunged wailing is euphoric.

We deserve an anthem for this past decade and I nominate “Lifestyle.” The song is entirely cathartic and celebratory; it feels like running to the top of a mountain full-speed only to be rewarded with the most breathtaking view of the sun setting over the ocean. It’s an announcement of Quan and Thug’s arrival. It’s just you and your’s, never them: “Still screaming ‘fuck the other side.'” We should all try to be Birdman on the outro this decade.

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