Country : United Kingdom Label : Interscope / Method Genres and styles : Grime / Hip Hop / punk pop / rap Year : 2023

Slowthai – Ugly

· by CCJ Gabriel

UGLY, an acronym for “U Gotta Love Yourself,” is only slowthai’s third studio album, and boy does it deliver. Personally, reviewing this project was my first time listening to slowthai, and now I’m a fan who finds myself seeking out his previous work. UGLY sees slowthai add punk rock elements to his typically more hip-hop sound, which was received well by both fans and critics. 

In order to fully appreciate this project, I recommend checking out the visualizers and music videos that accompany each and every song. The visuals not only tell somewhat of a cohesive story in and of themselves, but they also add layers and much more depth to the music as well. As soon as the first song called “Yum” kicked-in, I was unsure how I felt about slowthai and his musical stylings. I couldn’t tell if he was being serious or if this was some sort of elaborate troll like Oliver Tree or something along those lines. Once I got a few tracks deep, I quickly realized that slowthai is an incredible creative force who should be let loose to unleash his artistic brilliance in any medium he desires. Give this man money, and let him make things. 

Sonically, the production, the unique and infused vibes, the passionate and emotional vocals, nothing is subpar. slowthai has seemingly mastered the ability of making music that is very real and emotional, but still lighthearted and fun. Although UGLY is a bold and courageous effort, the album is still grounded and relatable. Every track just feels so raw and real, and it’s as though the listener is a part of slowthai’s journey, which is why he has such a deep connection with his fans. 

“Sooner” and “Feel Good” give off vibes like old Rancid tracks, while still maintaining a bit of slowthai’s hip-hop elements. slowthai’s “psychotic Slim Shady-type” raps on “Fuck It Puppet” are great, but honestly, stellar tracks like “UGLY” and “HAPPY” accomplish the same angsty/edgy messaging while staying true to the overarching vibe of the album. That’s truly my only “knit pick” when it comes to this project. “Tourniquet” really stood out to me for many reasons. The mixing on that track is phenomenal and slowthai’s performance is passionate on a level that’s hard to describe. The layering of slowthai’s emotional screaming and cadences on this song is perfectly balanced, and every string plucked on the acoustic sounds so crispy, that it’s as if the instrument is being played in the same room as you. 

As I said earlier, UGLY is best paired with its visuals, and slowthai is an unstoppable creative force, with a tremendously bright future ahead of him. If you’re a fan of music at all, I implore you to listen to this joint.

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