Let's be clear: Slowthai was always a punk rocker. A punk rocker dressed in today's clothes, i.e. like a rapper. But a punk rocker nonetheless, with the related disrespect, irony, aggressiveness, and caustic words; with his way to despise his country, Great Britain, while representing it proudly. And with his third album, it is more visible than ever. Supported by Dan Carey, Tyron Frampton steps openly into rock music territory. He fully deploys the expected plaintive chants, possessed howls, hostile guitars, and frantic drums.


None of this is new. The Northampton rapper already used ferocious guitars on "Doorman", his defining single. And more recently, he seconded Damon Albarn on "Momentary Bliss", the Gorillaz single. But here, he buckles down. If Slowthai wasn't known as a rapper, we would instantaneously label as "indie rock" a large part of this new album.

Slowthai uses post-punk drum patterns on "Selfish". He resorts to the sad acoustic guitar of Ethan P. Flynn on "Never Again", and to a distorted one on "Happy". He befriends with Irish band Fontaines D.C. on "UGLY", a song that turns into shoegaze rock. "Falling" recalls the Pixies. "Wotz Funny" brings to mind the Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog". And "Tourniquet" looks like a lost ballad from Radiohead.

And in addition, he leverages some of the darkest and most twisted forms of electronic music, like on "Yum". When mixed to hip-hop remanences, this reminds the techno cyberpunks of Prodigy, more than the original punk rockers.

UGLY is an acronym for "U Gotta Love Yourself". Pursuing the introspection of his last album, TYRON, continuing the deep dive into his own self announced by the "Selfish" single, UGLY is about a recurring theme with Slowthai: self-loathing, and the necessity to overcome it. All of this is so deep, so visceral, that he tattooed this very word on his cheek, close to his scarred noise, as shown by the cover art.

Slowthai doesn't have a high self-esteem. He looks for motivation by repeating, as a mantra, that he is a genius. He kills himself with drugs, sex, and alcohol ("Yum"). He tries to convince himself that he is feeling well, but all of this looks ironic ("Feel Good"). And his own "Happy" song is much less joyous than Pharrell's. On "Fuck It Puppet", the most rap moment of the album, he discusses, desperate, with the bad genius in his head. On "Falling" he sees himself losing ground. And of course, on the dispensable "25% Club", like elsewhere on the album, he talks about a few heartbreaks.

However, even when he confesses about him, Tyron doesn't forget the others, the little people, those stuck at the bottom of the society, he represented on his first album. UGLY talks about the underprivileged, through a few testimonies and life anecdotes. The homonymous track is about beauty standards defining the poor as ugly people. "Wotz Funny" is about the misfortunes of poverty, for example, a mother forced to prostitution. As for "Never Again", it is about Slowthai meeting a former girlfriend who turned into a junky and who married a ruffian about to beat her to death.

These people are like him. Very early in their lives, they were taught to despise themselves. They were asked to destruct their own selves. They were told they were ugly. As a result, they lost self-confidence, and therefore any chance to climb up the social ladder. Those are the cursed ones, the damned people of the English land, those who could only escape and find models through the best British music, be it some old socially engaged rock 'n' roll, or the rap music of Slowthai.

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