LIL UGLY MANE
At first, there was mystique. Lil Ugly Mane started generating attention six years ago via his work with Raider Klan, the youthful Miami rap collective that helped make ’90s Memphis hip-hop stylings fashionable again. But while ringleader SpaceGhostPurrp signed to a label and started popping up in the music press, Lil Ugly Mane rarely granted interviews or performed shows. “I don’t feel the need to have a physical presence. It’s secondary to me, it’s not important,” he once said.
The Richmond, Va., producer/rapper—most of his production is credited to Shawn Kemp, which isn’t his real name, but another alias—remains elusive. Yet as of late, he seems more omnipresent than ever.
While his earliest verses are characterized by an undeniable sadness (“I’ma slit my wrists, no tourniquet, I’m murderous / My crib got more burners than furnishing / got a lot of haters, not concerned with it”), on recent releases, his penchant for self-deprecation has curdled into self-loathing. Throughout his new album, volume 1: flick your tongue against your teeth and describe the present, Mane wrestles with overwhelming feelings of helplessness, and his attitude toward himself is relentlessly unforgiving.
“Can’t stop thinking, that’s my mind on liquor/Mind on liquor, now my mind half gone/Mind half gone ’cause I wish I had a family/Family ain’t here ’cause I been living wrong,” he raps. Mane offers no explanation for why volume 1 was released under yet another moniker, Bedwetter. But considering the album’s vulnerable lyrics, in which he confronts his own misery head-on, it makes sense that Mane might want to deflect the inevitable scrutiny by hiding these brutal confessions in a childish name.
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As an engineer, he worked at Volume Studios, Semaphore Recording, and Engine Studios