After releasing the first three installments of his mixtape series I Came from Nothing throughout 2011 and 2012, Young Thug caught the attention of fellow Atlanta-based rapper Gucci Mane, who went on to sign Young Thug to his label 1017 Brick Squad Records, an Asylum/Atlantic imprint, in 2013. Thug subsequently released his first project on the label, his fourth mixtape, 1017 Thug. The mixtape was met with positive reviews from music critics, which noted it for its original style. 1017 Thug was included in a number of year-end lists for 2013, such as the Pitchfork Albums of the Year: Honorable Mention and Complex’s The 50 Best Albums of 2013. FACT called it the best mixtape of 2013, Rolling Stone placed it at number five on their 10 Best Mixtapes of 2013 and The Guardian placed it among The Five Best Mixtapes of 2013. Young Thug’s song “Picacho”, was noted as one of the standout tracks from the mixtape, although it was not released as a single, the song was included on a number of 2013 year-end lists, such as Rolling Stone’s 100 Best Songs of 2013, Pitchfork’s The Top 100 Tracks of 2013, and Spin’s 50 Best Songs of 2013.
In July 2013, Complex included him in their list of 25 New Rappers to Watch Out For. In October 2013, Young Thug released his commercial debut single “Stoner”. The song spawned a number of unofficial remixes by several rappers, including Wale, Jim Jones, Jadakiss, Iamsu! and Trick-Trick, among others. Thug expressed his disapproval for the remixes, commenting “If you feel like my song isn’t tough enough to the point where you have to freestyle… Don’t think I’m happy that you’re doing it because of who you are. I’m ready for war.” His song “Danny Glover” also received a number of remixes by Waka Flocka Flame and Nicki Minaj, among others. In October 2013, Young Thug also appeared on a few tracks on 19 & Boomin by Metro Boomin, including “Some More”, the first song he made with Alex Tumay, who became his go-to engineer for almost everything from then until “Slime Season 2”. In December 2013, Thug performed at Fool’s Gold Day Off show in Miami, among Danny Brown, Trick Daddy and Travis Scott.