Hi everyone, welcome to Leak Lore, a new weekly series all about the history behind leaks and leakers. I hope to cover all sorts of genres and maybe even expand outside of music eventually. Let me know what kinds of stuff you'd like to see in future installments. All that aside, let's get into the story behind one of the most prolific leaks of all time, Young Thug's "Disguise."
Young Thug is an artist known for many things. Some know him as the rapper who wears dresses, some know him as the YSL label boss, some know him as the father of the current generation of rappers, and others know him for dozens of other reasons. However, his most dedicated fans know him for previewing songs that he has no intention of dropping. There are hundreds of Young Thug snippets all over the internet, sourced from Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Youtube, and really any place Thugger or his crew can preview a song. A few snippets end up releasing on each album, and a fair amount get leaked online. However, the large majority of these songs end up collecting dust on Thug's hard drives.
(Young Thug premieres a song from his laptop we will likely never hear, 2019)
Given the sheer quantity of unreleased Young Thug songs, most fans only know some of the snippets. This is totally fair as there are just a riduclous amount of them. If you ask most fans what their favorites are, they'll tell you a few of their personal picks, and then will likely get to listing the "grails." Grails are unreleased songs that the whole community wants, they're usually the best of the best of the snippets. The best example of a grail would be Kanye West's "Can U Be," an unreleased song desired by so many that offers to purchase it end up over ten thousand dollars. Young Thug fans have their fair share of grails, from the scrapped Slime Season 2 single "Party Tonight," to the Slime Season 3 cut "Passing," among others like the recently released "Cartier Gucci Scarf." However, none of these come close in hype (or likely quality) to the 2015 scrap "Disguise."
"Disguise" was first premiered on May 27th, 2015, during This interview saw Wil Da Great sit down with Thugger and his fiancée, Jerrika Karlae at Thug's house. As one might expect, Young Thug took this opportunity to preview new music, and so the first few minutes of the interview feature Thug talking while "Disguise" played in the background. Considering the recent release of Barter 6, "Disguise" could very well have been a leftover from that tape. However, at the time, Thug was gearing up to releaseTha Carter V, which never saw the light of day, meaning "Disguise" could have been a track planned for that project as well. As the song didn't appear on this scrapped tape, fans thought it could surface on an upcoming project, but the rest of 2015 saw two entries into Thug's Slime Season series with no "Disguise." It was seeming like this song would go the way of many other snippets, lost in a youtube compilation never to be heard in full. However, in 2016, Jerrika Karlae began to preview the song on (note, this is a compilation of snippets, the original full videos proved impossible to find). This was uncommon, maybe Thug was actually going to release the song. Unfortunately, fans had no such luck. 2016 came and went, with I'm Up, as well as Jeffery releasing. As you might have guessed, "Disguise" didn't make the cut. The following year, unbeknownst to fans, Thug may have considered including the track on Beautiful Thugger Girls, but again the song didn't appear on the project. At this point, in fans eyes', this song was as good as lost and could go join "Party Tonight."
Seemingly out of nowhere, in December 2018, over three years after the initial premiere of "Disguise," a beacon of hope appeared on the Leakth.is forums. The user known as PRIVATEFRIEND was ready to part with the song and sell it in a groupbuy. Fans were ecstatic, and waited for the buy to start. Unlike most groupbuys, however, "Disguise" was sold without a set price. PRIVATEFRIEND simply posted a thread, asking fans to pledge money, and when they decided enough was raised collection would begin. This was bizzarely unorthodox, but the community pushed forwards and began to pledge. Going was slow, so PRIVATEFRIEND used motivatiors: if this buy finished, they indicated that Kanye's "Can U Be" would be coming next, and big donors would privately recieve songs such as the A$AP Mob & Lil Uzi Vert collaboration "Clouds" or the Huncho Jack leftover "Lo-Fi." This format of dropping pledges in a thread until the seller decided the total was good enough was wildly unpopular, and for good reason. It was incredibly easy to sell at unfair prices this way, and as a result the groupbuy was less than succesful. After a few months of waiting on pledges, in March 2019 the thread was locked. "Diguise" was lost yet again.
Two months later, however, on May 29, 2019, Leakth.is user and famous lizard Progex put the song up for sale, with a real price this time. Former Leakth.is head admin Vittorio coordinated the $2,000 groupbuy, and thanks to huge donations from users like Renvhar and Rambo, the song was ready to be posted on May 30, the very next day. Any song of this magnitude leaking was sure to make waves, and "Disguise" sent a tidal wave throughout the community. Most fans agree that "Disguise" actually lived up to the hype and was worth the price, which doesn't happen very often. Aside from all the fans posting about the song, notable figures in the rap industry also took note of the leak. DJ Sky High Baby posted a picture of fan-made art for Disguise on his Intstagram story, saying the song took him back to the Rich Gang Mixtapes. In a shocking turn of events, Thugger himself shared that same post on his own Instagram story.
This is one of the only examples of an artist supporting, sharing, and promoting their own music leaking, and a far cry from how Young Thug used to feel about leaks. On his 2016 song "Texas Love," Thug said that "I done had enough of these leakers." It seems, however, that Young Thug's opinion has changed over time. In a 2019 interview with FADER, Thugger had this to say about leaks: "I feel good about [the leaks]...I probably never would have put [the leaked songs] out, so I’m just happy that they was out." In embracing the consistent leaking of his music, Thug has found a new way to connect with fans, bonding over the release of long-lost songs from albums and years gone by. And aside from that, considering the sheer number of projects it was considered for, its likely that Thug was trying to get "Disguise" released, but couldn't find a place for it. At the end of the day, it seems that the right way for "Disguise" to be shared with the world was right here, on Leakth.is.
Thank you all so much for tuning in to Leak Lore, and I'll see you guys for the next installment.
*Special thanks to @Alek, @Chimp, @stupid, and the Young Thug discord for helping me gather info. You guys are the best.
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