On a cold evening in February, right after Drake performed for a room of celebrities and TV executives at a private Super Bowl party in New York's Meatpacking District, his DJ played one song to close out the night: "Danny Glover," by the 22-year-old Atlanta rapper Young Thug. Seated in the VIP section, Paul McCartney and Kim Kardashian's little sister Kendall Jenner listened as Thug's voice shifted shapes, darting between quick yelps and warbled singing over drums seemingly set to the time of someone skipping. Earlier in the night, the crowd had sung along as local radio jock Funkmaster Flex spun wedding classics like "I Love Rock and Roll," but now the room felt momentarily off-balance and charged with attention. "Danny Glover" was a challenging proposition, but not unwelcome. A handful of guys dressed like bankers howled along: "Money stand like 8 feet just like twoooo midgets."
"Danny Glover" is a strange song that sounds immediately familiar, its melody and Thug's elastic delivery carrying more meaning than its lyrics. The instinctive response to hearing it is to loosen your limbs and throw them at the air - or at least that's what Drake and Kanye West did with admiration at different clubs as DJs spread the song in January. Later that month, Nicki Minaj mimicked Thug on her own version of "Danny Glover." "It was one signature stylist welcoming another to the club," the New York Times wrote.
By February, Kanye had reportedly summoned Young Thug to California from his home in Atlanta to record. "Danny Glover" could be heard on radio stations nationwide, along with his song "Stoner," a singsong anthem that also became the unofficial soundtrack of a Vine dance craze.