MISTA THUG ISOLATION, the massive 20-track mixtape from Virginian Rapper Lil Ugly Mane struck fear into listeners’ hearts, and power into pimps’ hands. The way Lil Ugly Mane combined noise, hip-hop, jazz, and some slick rhymes over some of the most engaging and progressive beats to date is something of purely black magic.
Lil Ugly Mane starts MISTA THUG ISOLATION off with a purely atmospheric/noise track that uses these loud buzzes, static crackles, and what sound like spaceships to set the tone for the rest of the journey on MISTA THUG ISOLATION. The “journey” will be a long, slightly confusing, but ultimately impressive display on both the lyrical and musical fronts. Not only can Lil Ugly mane destroy the production aspect and proves this on his 20 other rap projects, and one single noise/ ”black metal” project simply called “SLEEP UNTIL IT HURTS YOU.” While Lil Ugly Mane A.K.A. Shawn Kemp is primarily a well-rounded musician, Mista Thug Isolation relies on primarily shock value rhymes and a grimmer style of beats.
The kick-off track on MISTA THUG ISOLATION, “SERIOUS SHIT” combines the flowing motion of The Don Randell Ian Carr Quintet samples, and the eloquence of Three 6 Mafia. The combination sounds strange, but these strange sample mixes and blends are what gives Mista Thug Isolation so much strength. Ugly Mane delivers some interesting contradictory lines throughout the track, but most famous his opening bar, “I’mma slit my wrists no tourniquet, I’m Murderous.” Then proceeds to go on a lyrical spree about how “My crib got more burners than furnishing, got a lot of haters not concerned with it. The Earth revolve around making money, Copernicus.” Within one single bar, Ugly Mane is able to put forward some quick rhyme schemes and overall some intelligent quotable lines.
MISTA THUG ISOLATION continues on to “MANIAC DRUG DEALER III” which is one of the tracks that features this impressive beat change up that destroys the previous mood set by “SERIOUS SHIT.” This track has this paranoid feel with the constant sirens blaring and Ugly Mane describing “I don’t ride with no suckers, I don’t ride with no buster.” This lyric can go into relation with Ugly Mane’s other track “POLO RIGHT (SUICIDE ALPS FOREVER RE-EDIT)” off his tape Three Sided Tape: Volume One, where Ugly explains “Ain’t no snitch in my squad, Ain’t no bitch in my blood.”
Lil Ugly Mane then continues with the track “RADIATION (LUNG POLLUTION)” which features Supa Sortahuman and yet another beat transition when Ugly’s verse comes into the picture. The polar opposites of the verses where Supa Sortahuman explains his own personal support of “Kicking it with Mary Jane,” to where Lil Ugly Mane talks more into how no one is “Smoking, Drinking, Fucking, or Nothing on his (Ugly Mane’s) level.” Ugly Mane then ends the verse with a quirky bar about how potent his “Shit” really is.
“SLICK RICK” then follows and this track is more of a callback to the classic track from Slick Rick simply entitled “Treat Her Like A Prostitute.” The way Ugly Mane further expresses how he lives by this and how his moral is “Never fall in love because a bitch is a bitch.” Lil Ugly Mane follows the saga of MISTA THUG ISOLATION with the instant classic “WISHMASTER.”
This is easily one of the hardest hitting tracks on all fronts. From the crushing instrumental of orchestral strings that blast, to the vocal sample from the song “Don’t You Wish You Could Be There?” by Crackin’. The vocal continues to ask “Don’t you wish you could be me?” as Ugly delivers one of his best verses on MISTA THUG ISOLATION. The entire track features lines where Ugly Mane delivers some dominant, quotable lines about “Catching me on the news, being interviewed, wearing your jewels,” and “I keep it so filthy that the mic septic.”
The following track is an instrumental piece titled “ALONE AND SUFFERING (INTERLUDE).” The track features one of the more graceful sections of MISTA THUG ISOLATION where the piano, percussion, and the vocalization all come together in harmony to create a more peaceful atmosphere. The beat drop in this track where the piano slowly fades into the foreground and then jumps right into the rest of the instrumental was outstanding. “ALONE AND SUFFERING (INTERLUDE)” adds more of a push to the heavier tracks on MISTA THUG ISOLATION, giving them more impact.
Lil Ugly Mane then goes back into his peculiar rap style with another instant classic, “BITCH I’M LUGUBRIOUS.” This track has one of the best choruses in a rap song, and the entire track is so quotable that I would have to say that it is the best track on MISTA THUG ISOLATION. “Bitch I’m morose and lugubrious, I’mma let the Uzi spit, turn his face into gooey shit,” continues to echo through the track and Ugly yet again shows his lyrical strength. Bars like “You actin’ like I’m new to this, I been sick since the uterus,” and “Grabbing the Ruger and cocking it back, psycho mentality, kill ‘n attack, sippin’ on Alize, counting the stacks, half of my salary, nothing but crack.” Ugly Mane speeds his rhyming tempo and flow up through this section of the track, making his words feel like they are being fired through a machine. Ugly Mane then shows no signs of slowing down with the following track being “CUP FULLA BEETLEJUICE”
“CUP FULLA BEETLEJUICE” has this ghostly sounding vocalization that continues through-out the track that screams behind the beat. It adds an entirely new level of depth to the track and brings the focus more on Ugly’s verse. The chorus is the real shine of the track where Ugly proclaims “It’s hard to worry about these suckers when you stacking up this dough.”
The next track opens with the sounds of an air horn and a classic 80’s style beat. “BREEZEM OUT” relies on this air horn throughout the track as a way to add emphasis to Ugly’s punchlines. Lil Ugly Mane explains throughout this track that “Haters always gonna be up in your face, but that’s a part of the chase.” This track feels as though it is a shout out to all the people who called Lil Ugly Mane’s music a gimmicky mess. While most of his tracks are straight hip-hop and he is immensely talented, it is all a façade and just simply done for the fun of rhyming. There are several tracks where Lil Ugly Mane explains how rhyming was just a means of passing the time and he never expected MISTA THUG ISOLATION to become as big as it did.
One of the following tracks “MONA LISA OVERDRIVE” is what Ugly Mane calls a song for “The Ladies.” This track is however all about taking the ladies to a “Far away land I (Ugly Mane) calls the erogenous zone.” The track is a love song in the most gangster way possible, Ugly Mane then gets “Back to his business” with the following track “TWISTIN” with a feature from Denzel Curry.
“TWISTIN” is another track that just feels like an instant classic from the first time it is heard. The way Ugly Mane lets Denzel Curry start the track off with a slick verse repping RVIDXR KLVN (Raider Clan) and how he is the best thing coming straight out of Carol City, Florida. Lil Ugly Mane then overshadows Curry by explaining his up-rising in the rap-world to one of Ugly’s best closing lines throughout his career where he explains “We keep it more than underground, we in a dungeon.”
MISTA THUG ISOLATION then finally comes to “NO SLACK IN MY MACK” which is yet another song displaying Ugly’s strength and audacity in lyricism. He keeps it grimy, explaining that he is “Steady keep the product moving like a conveyer belt,” and “Got guns, bread, because their ain’t no slack in my Mack.” This track has seen several transformations where it was originally much different sounding than what was displayed on MISTA THUG ISOLATION. The original version is a much darker sounding creep of a track that is honestly outstanding, but did not fit the theme of MISTA THUG ISOLATION as much as the current version.
“LEAN GOT ME FUCKED UP” is one of the next tracks that features a hard-hitting 808 bass line, a great synth lead that sounds like a horror movie’s dream, and Ugly’s best verse on MISTA THUG ISOLATION. The entire verse is just outstanding and is a perfect recommendation to anyone who has never listened to Ugly Mane’s music previously. The way Ugly explains “I’mma project ghost, I’mma hood apparition,” to the “Explaining what murder mean.” Lil Ugly Mane delivers his hardest hitting set of bars on the entirety of MISTA THUG ISOLATION.
Finally, MISTA THUG ISOLATION comes to the finale of a track, “THROW DEM GUNZ.” This is an all-star of a song that features Ugly’s favorite instrumental he has ever produced to date, another outstanding verse, and the perfect send-off into the bonus/secret tracks. Ugly Mane is describing his hustle of selling to get by in life, and how that has changed the lives around him. He explains how he is “Standing in the rain feeling bad about the mommas losing jobs over the rocks that I (Ugly Mane) be passing out, but that’s the way it be on the block.” This is the first breakthrough of sympathetic emotion showed from Ugly Mane in all of MISTA THUG ISOLATION, showing that even the coldest of Killers still have a heart.
The bonus tracks, “LAST BREATH (OUTRODUCTION),” “BONUS: BITCH I’M LUGUBRIOUS (COLD SHOULDER EDIT),” AND “BONUS: SEND EM 2 THA ESSESNCE,” are nothing outrageously exciting, excluding “SEND EM 2 THA ESSENCE.” This was a track where Ugly Mane gives another full verse and fully explains his reasoning for not wanting to rhyme for money, fame, or the spotlight. Ugly describes “Oh you out for notoriety? You rappers so precious, send they ass a message when I send em to the essence.” This just further captures what Ugly Mane is all about, bringing dope music to the hopeless, and looking fly doing it.