Through the conduction of a narrative, each segment persuades the listener or reader to focus on the linear ebb that the main character is taking. Whether the characters take his or her path in the natural, heroic way of thematically instilling their gallant or brave personality or the character’s serves as a warning sign of delving into humanity’s most malevolent instincts. Unwavering and untampered through its already grody stories and distraught noise constructed by heavy and lo-fi samplings, Mista Thug Isolation by Richmond musician Lil Ugly Mane is unlike any other musical project released in the submerged layer of Bandcamp or SoundCloud music.
The story isn’t exactly a chronological diaspora of a typical story character, but an exploration of a character’s mishaps and demons, vexed violence and ravenous sexual gnawing. From the first track to the eerie bonus track at the end, each song exposes the moniker for the cartoonish villain he is, what he plots, and what his end goal is. This album was roused from the sedimentary layers YouTube and Bandcamp and managed to screech through the seismic waves of inane and clean commercial music scratching the walls of the musical abdomen ready to explode. The first recognizable nods this album conduces are the familiar samples and reworks from those who familiarize with the works of early Three 6 Mafia’s harrowing revolution and the revolting induction of SpaceGhostPurrps’s revitalization of the Three Six sound. By 2012, much of the Memphis-influenced sound from the cassette and CD era began to fling out of the mush that had been buried within the slushy mud due to the popularity of 17-year old Denzel Curry and his crew of ominous vagabonds, Raider Clan.
Although Travis Miller, Ugly Mane’s corporeal title, managed to gain some eyewitnesses from his previous Lil Ugly Mane projects and his punk band, Vudmurk, it was this album that shifted the attention from dollying music heads and pretentious underground music journalists towards his talents. Through sheer will and displayed attention from the prolific authority of social media and digital streaming, Mista Thug Isolation had the power to display its oddball sounding rap choruses and humorously daunting lyrical abstractions. With eighteen tracks long, it’s commendable that this album manages to keep a consistent twang and understands the direction it wants to purge through, but with each song, the familiar direction leaps forwards, cowards down, exalts into the heavy space, and leans back with bravado suave.
After a harrowing instrumental introduction to the eclectic and chaotic sounds of the first track, MISTA THUG ISOLATION (12th movement), the first introduction of the narrative delves into the foreboding title of Serious Shit. Miller’s articulates every menacing word he expounds on this track with clever analogies and creative similies such as the line, “The earth revolves around my currency. Copernicus, I leave you scared stupider than Ernest is.” Each song in this narrative draws two analogies or concepts together and blends together a functional product of Ugly Mane’s traits. The character in this story is an intransigent hustler who follows the formula of aggressive and reactionary impulses, grotesque and laissez-faire sexual desires, and the sacramental need for endless cash flow. These traits are only accentuated by the fast peddling track, Maniac Drug Dealer.
The latter levels of the album play with this character by trickling down to his emotional features by the time it reaches the track, Bitch I’m Lugubrious, which depicts the emotional toll of what his dastardly doings pull from him. Each segment in this projects nearly reiterates what this character is capable of, but what allows this project to succeed is the outward expression each song eludes and the literary talent Miller holds in his genetic coding. Miller enunciates each line with at least one word and two metaphors that warp the line together, leading the next line to coincide with the previous line in a necessary lineage of whirling and mind-boggling bars.
Once Mista Thug Isolation received the cult status it intended to develop, the cult curators of the underground slime and sewage of Rap music cultivated their own art and leveled the plane of the legacy that both Ugly Mane and Raider Klan reinitiated. This album allowed Miller to levitate to his next pursuit of Rap-inspired music, writhed by his abstract abode that is his mind. Although the majority of the album is bouncy, fun, titillating, and muscle tensing, much of the themes here exaggeratingly coalesce with the everyday struggle of the modern world.
I became familiar with Miller’s work by my later high school years but did not fully appreciate the spectrum of his creative mind until my earlier years in college. During that time, I ran back and forth between going to classes I did not want to take and standing at a job I did not want to work at. The repetitive, droning lifestyle this had on me led to discover this album once more, and fully appreciate the outer worldly spectrum that Miller’s talents were able to conduct and display for the public eye to comprehend and understand. The main point of any piece of abstract art or literary work is to help the consumer escape from their objective reality and temporarily submit them in the abstractive realm of psychedelic creations. Mista Thug Isolation is the result of another successful adaptive story of a psychopath and his macabre endeavors but nonetheless differs from the rest by Miller’s technical hand with arcane instrumentation and his technical digression of poetry.