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young thug is launching his own label, ysl records

But how will the brand feel about its name?

by Emily Manning
|
Nov 17 2016, 8:10pm

Young Thug is unquestionably the most unique hip-hop talent to emerge in quite some time (a Bernie Sanders meme describes his intoxicating sound best: "Thugger raps like he is pulling melodies out of thin air, like the room is running out of oxygen"). So news that the 25-year-old Atlanta iconoclast is launching his own record label is all the more exciting, considering his well-tuned ear for the new and next.

The label will be called YSL Records and operate as an imprint of Thug's current home, 300 Entertainment. In a series of Snapchats, Thug revealed the label's new logo, team, and offices, as well as excerpts from a motivational speech 300 co-founder Kevin Liles delivered to the new team. "[Thug] starting a new venture is going to take us to a different mindset," Liles says.

It's unclear who exactly Thug will sign to YSL's roster, although his frequent collaborator Duke (who guests in "Webbie," the latest music video from Thug's outstanding No, My Name is JEFFERY) is widely suspected to be in the mix. Even though Thug has worked with some of the biggest names in the game — he counts Birdman and Gucci Mane as mentors — he's long been committed to keeping things in the family, literally. Thug's sisters Dolly and Dora made a guest appearance on Thug's I'm Up mixtape before releasing their own nine-track project Family Ties earlier this year.

It's also unclear how YSL (as in the brand Yves Saint Laurent) feels about the name. Thug's abbreviation stands for "Young Stoner Life," and he's been shouting it out on tracks and in videos for years. Crossover between brand names and rap monikers is relatively common, but some artists have adopted these personas with less trouble than others. For example: Gucci Mane has been spitting since 2001 — that's three Gucci creative directors — without much fuss from the Italian house (he even reviewed its new collection for Vogue). Yet Lil Yachty's right-hand man Burberry Perry was slapped with a trademark infringement lawsuit from the British brand this summer.

Yves Saint Laurent has filed such trademark infringement suits, too. In 2015, the firm which owns the house's trademarks sued the maker of "Ain't Laurent Without Yves" slogan shirts (still nowhere near as amusing as Louis Vuitton's legal action against a South Korean chicken joint). But given Thug's immense influence in high fashion — and the fact that his longtime friend and collaborator Travis Scott recently starred in YSL's trippy desert video — we have a feeling his new venture will fare well.

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Text Emily Manning

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