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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slowthai – “TYRON” review

slowthai is a 26 year old rapper from Northampton, United Kingdom who came onto my radar in 2019 off his debut album Nothing Great About Britain. His profile continued to grow shortly after due to his feature on BROCKHAMPTON’s latest album at the time GINGER but with the 2 year anniversary of his first album coming up in the spring, slowthai has finally delivered his long-awaited sophomore effort.

The album starts with “45 SMOKE”, where slowthai talks about the world being his over an abrasive instrumental. The next song “CANCELLED” with Skepta serves as a well written response to cancel culture over a ghostly beat with some whistling while the track “MAZZA” with A$AP Rocky finds the 2 talking about the meaning of insanity over an off-the-wall trap instrumental. The song “VEX” talks about people irritating him over an energetic instrumental, but the following track “WOT” is so short that there’s no point to it being on here.

The song “DEAD” introspectively dives into the subject of the afterlife over a shadowy beat while the track “PLAY WITH FIRE” talks about feeling like he’s got his head in a blender over a playful instrumental. The song “i tried” opens up about a suicide attempt slowthai once had over an oxymoronic beat while the track “focus” talks about his brothers being in prison over a weary instrumental from Kenny Beats.

The song “terms” talks about how things in life could be worse over some cloud rap production while the track “push” talks about how no one wants to see you grow over a bare piano instrumental. The song “n.h.s. (national health service)” provides reassurance in a post-COVID world over a sparse beat while the penultimate track “feel away” pays tribute to his late brother Michael over a soft instrumental. The album ends with “adhd”, where slowthai talks about how “the passenger always been a witness” over a low trap beat.

Dude might be the best up-&-comer out of the UK right now because I enjoy this album more than I did Nothing Great About Britain. I mean as much as I enjoy slowthai’s previous full-length effort for how gritty & political it sounded, the production on TYRON is cleaner & the lyrics are more personal this time around.

Score: 4/5