Before Richmond-based Lil Ugly Mane opened for SALEM and appeared, chopped-and-screwed, on Spaceghostpurrp's Blackland Radio 66.6 (1991) mixtape—at which point he'd fully transformed into the anachronistic devil's spawn of early-’90s Memphis rap—he recorded noise music and black metal. It makes sense, pulling in a legacy of darkness to explain some of the imagery behind his unreal album art, which he designs himself, and it justifies the painfully harsh first track on Criminal Hypnosis, a collection of unreleased tracks that didn't make last year's incredible Playaz Circle album or its followup singles.
Most (if not all) of the songs are produced by the Mane under his alias Shawn Kemp, with wormy beats, like on "Polo Right (Suicide Alps Forever Re-Edit)," that drudge up every great feeling from when witch house first came out and bites those feelings in the throat. The whole thing's a dense head-fuck. When Lil Ugly Mane's pitched-down voice gets hard to understand, it's not even bad, instead lending realism to the songs' fucked-up, druggy paranoia. The only lyrics on the last song are swear to god I wanna just slit my wrist.
His command of classic Southern flows and word accents is respectable and respectful, showing a real admiration for the purple pools he's back-floating across here. On "Magic Potty Baby Bitch," he closes the last verse with a tornado, repeating the last line over and over—When you see the whole block blocked off/ You can bet ya bottom dollar Ugly Mane popped off—before working his way back into the complex diss that is the song's title. For an artist whose whole identity points back 20 years, Lil Ugly Mane is wildly creative. His Mista Thug Isolation cassette tape comes out soon on Ormolycka.
Download: Lil Ugly Mane's Criminal Hypnosis