Twitter and Tumblr are every ‘underground’ artist’s weapon of choice when it comes to feeding their usually rabid, loyal fan base. That’s why it’s astounding to think of where Lil Ugly Mane’s career has reached so far.
Ugly Mane—who is both Twitter and & Tumblrless—is a notoriously shadowy rapper whose sound bridges his usually self-produced Deep South, low base and chopped & screwed beats with (in his own words) morose and lugubrious lyrics that sound like dark, rhyming couplets out of Saraun’s mouth after the dark lord’s taken a generous slurp of lean brewed in the bowels of Mount Doom.
Ugly’s been notoriously hard to photograph although a few brief videos of Ugly’s performances have been floating around the net. One, is a frantic, blurred recording of the rapper running up and down a stage panting for breath, and the other is this fine–yet too short–piece of a freestyle performance.
Recently, Ugly performed with Bay Area rapper Antwon who I also can’t say enough good things about. Twitter lit up with patrons who were amazed by Ugly’s rare appearance, dope performance and–as per usual—him being white dude.
A few days ago Ugly released Uneven Compromise on his bandcamp page. The two track album may only run just over 10 minutes, but its easily the most versatile thing I’ve heard the rapper produce so far.
With the drop of a beat sounding like it was made in Beelzebub’s private recording studio, Ugly gets on his usual blood soaked swag toting lines like “Enter my chamber/ you never will leave,” “drinking blood right out dat goat horn” and throwing his usual barbed wire-wrapped, neatly packed jabs like “Cowering and broken/ I’m a victim of my evil deeds/ but I don’t need you’re sympathy/ I’m comfortable in misery.”
But Ugly’s next beat sets off in a much different direction then we’ve ever seen the rapper head. Sounding like something that DJ Premiere would dig through mounds of dusty jazz records for, Ugly embarks on a lyrically conscious song and goes a bit farther north with a more jazzy, up tempo N.Y.C beat.
Removed from dark evil throne surrounded by weed and double stacked styrofoam cups, Ugly weaves us a story about a heroin addicted friend. “I was puzzled by his feelings of inadequacy/ then I saw the track marks when he pulled back on his sleeve/ my homie got a habit it seems.”
One step further, Ugly brings up his own supposed history of addiction:
“I know that I was lied to back when I was on it/ so even when I was nodded/ I was feeling broken hearted.”
Hard to say what’s fact from fiction with Lil Ugly Mane, but if the rapper can harvest his demonic swaged out sound and incorporate this consciousness—he’ll be a rapper to reckon with.