Ugly God is still finding his footing in this mixed up, crazy rap game.
The good, the bad, and the ugly...god. Ugly God's recently released debut project The Booty Tape showcases Ugly God's potential on his own terms. The often self-deprecating artist/producer doesn't take himself too seriously, and by extension neither should you. Already an XXL Freshmen and the architect behind a viral hit or two, it is still generally unclear where Ugly God will fit into the hip-hop landscape, in the longterm. To his credit, this is something Ugly himself is acutely aware of. He calls his first release "not really a mixtape and definitely not an album...but more of a... collection". It's an apt description, with the collection varying in terms of song strength.
The mixtape opens with "Welcome To The Booty Tape," which samples a YouTube clip of an upset mother reacting to one of Ugly God's videos for the first time. At one point the woman says "I'm pretty open-minded," shortly before adding that Ugly wouldn't be successful because of just that-- "He's not that attractive." At the minute mark, the script flips and the drums arrive with the famous "Thanks Ugly God" tagline. Ugly immediately begins flowing effortlessly over the subdued beat while remaining as offensive and hilarious as we've come to expect. The record itself serves as a giant F-U to any naysayers, and as double-duty to that effect, Ugly God proves that he can actually flow with his southern, short-breathed drawl.
However, that's not necessarily setting the tone for the rest of the tape, as the song that follows pushes us in the opposite direction."Stop Smoking Black & Milds" is a decidedly more trap record-- and while the sound is "ignorant," the content itself varies from educational to downright disrespectful. While there certainly are some witty one-liners to be found in this song, it lacks the depth and context of the first track.
The ignorance continues with back-to-back downtempo tracks-- the titles alone are an indicator-- "I'ma Nasty Hoe" and "I'm Tryna Fuck." It's interesting how Ugly contrasts what is generally belligerent lyrics with softened production, as though this is his way of being romantic. Still, he fares better when the production has slightly more energy to side with his simple, short rhyme schemes. Case-in-point: "Fuck Ugly God." The project's centerpiece and perhaps the best record on the release. Ugly himself is yelling (as much as his voice allows), over the heaviest beat on the Tape, relentlessly dissing himself line after line. Ugly lays it all on the table in hilarious fashion: "You act like a freak, but you aint never sucked no toes" shows Ugly God's ability to laugh at himself. That in itself is something to be appreciated, and a key component of Ugly God's unconventional style.
Like Lil B before him, Ugly God's music works at the intersection of outrageous lyricism and slurred production. His hit single, which closes out The Booty Tape, is a perfect example of this sound. Ugly God certainly deserves credit for being unapologetically himself. That level of self-acceptance is somewhat of a theme on The Booty Tape. Ugly God knows himself and doesn't try, or even want, to be like most other mainstream rappers. From ethering himself on "Fuck Ugly God" to the "bedroom beats" that he uses blasphemously through out, he's doing the opposite of expectations set up by hip-hop's unwritten rules.
The Booty Tape could have been a way to cement Ugly God as hip-hop's class clown and the sound attached to it, but it fails to really do so. It's not a memorable debut release. With the exception of “Fuck Ugly God,” none of the song topics throughout the tape really live up to the eccentricity expected, while production feels repetitive by the end of the tape. The fact is that most of the tracks on the tape run incredibly short (the total runtime is around 23 minutes). Thus the majority of the records feel underdeveloped and underwritten. On the flip side, though, songs are equally a struggle to get through, like a joke that’s gone on too long. Here is the piece of the puzzle that Ugly God must put in place, to bring his craft and his career to the next level: how will he create a fully-realized song, keep the joke intact, and have it as engaging as he seems to be IRL?