In Atlanta, Georgia, the heat is astringent. To step into daylight without sunglasses is an act of masochism. Nature is encroaching; the rolling hills, peppered with wealthy estates, are lush with trees. The days are long, the temperatures high. Everything's bright. It's a region of extremes - extreme wealth, poverty, politics, violence, community, faith and family. Reality television has become a booming local business due to the outsize personalities found roaming the city's 242 neighborhoods, NeNe Leakes, Joseline Hernandez and Waka Flocka Flame among them.
In a city of misfits, 23-year-old rapper Young Thug might be the most truly outre of them all. On a sweltering summer's day, the Peach State's eccentric new prince of rap stands in a deluxe rental mansion, wearing a fetishistic plastic tunic that declares 'WARNING: EXPLICIT BEAUTY'. Switching up one diamond-encrusted bauble for a weed leaf pendant in between glugs of codeine-laced lean, he shares his style philosophy. "Me and Travi$ Scott tour our shit like a rodeo, so it isn't about clothes," Thug explains. "We played 29 shows, and I brought, like, 32 Balmains. I switch clothes every set. He don't. That nigga wear the same shoes, boxers, pants, every fuckin' day. I'm like, 'Bro. Hell no. I'm a man. I have a girl. I have kids. My girl notice.'"