slowthai – “U.G.L.Y. (U Gotta Love Yourself)” review

This is the 3rd album from Northampton recording artist slowthai. Emerging during the backend of the previous decade off a couple EPs & eventually the full-length debut Nothing Great About Britain, his profile continued to grow shortly after due to his feature on BROCKHAMPTON’s 5th album GINGER the same summer as the latter & even the introspective sophomore effort TYRON backed by AWGE Records & Interscope Records, which just celebrated it’s 2-year anniversary last month. So considering that, it was only a matter of time until he finally unleashed U.G.L.Y. (U Gotta Love Yourself).

“Yum” is a chaotic EDM/hip hop crossover with slowthai aggressively admitting that he needs an intervention & been lacking motivation whereas “Selfish” really sets the tone for the whole thing from the artsy post-synth-punk instrumental to the lyrics about thinking for himself. “Sooner” has a more peppier, summery approach to it looking back on being broke & not having a pot to piss in prior to “Feel Good” has a more dance-punk/post-punk revival groove to it talking about feeling so good.

Moving on to “Never Again”, we have slowthai over some pianos & drums going in depth of walking away from his shadow & never thought of seeing it again just before the short yet raw hip hop cut “Fuck It Puppet” finds him confessing to trying to O.D. & pondering why the voices make him act impulsively. “Happy” is a catchy post-punk revival ballad about it being ok to cry, but then the title track dives into shoegaze turf pointing out that the most beautiful people do the ugliest things.

“Falling” is a vulnerable post-punk jam asking if anyone feels like they’re driftin’ away through space” while the song “Wotz Funny” goes into rapcore territory asking what the fuck’s so funny. The penultimate track “Tourniquet” weaves some keys into the fold admitting that he still can’t learn from burning bridges until “25% Club” comes through with an acoustic sendoff to the album singing about having a vacancy that only his significant other is capable of filling.

Between this & Lil Yachty’s latest album Let’s Start Here. that we just got a little over a month ago, slowthai is the 2nd hip hop artist to successfully crossover into a new genre in 2023 as of me writing this. The overall sound is more post-punk with some minor synth-punk, post-punk revival, dance-punk & UK hip hop influences with a profound message throughout of self-love.

Score: 4/5

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