6/1/17 – Lil Ugly Mane “Oblivion Access” (2015)

Like I mentioned in my review of Mista Thug Isolation (2012) yesterday, this was the much anticipated follow up album from Lil Ugly Mane. This wasn’t the sequel that many fans expected or for many of them, wanted. Oblivion Access is a radically different album from his underground hit, with much more influence from his (Travis Miller) Noise background. Lyrically the album is much more serious, self-destructive, political, and imaginative. The production has also changed, with a lot less focus on the Memphis DIY aesthetic, and much more smooth ambient mixed with abrasive noise.

Like the other album, Oblivion Access also starts off with a Noise intro, Ejaculated Poison Wrench. The sounds he chooses are fascinating and varied, with lots of tape loops and power electronics. Grave Within A Grave is one of the darker songs on the already bleak album, blurring the lines between life, death, and endless imprisonment. Opposite Lanes is one of the singles released before the album and it instantly stuck with me. For a while it was my only liked song on the album, because it’s one of the few songs that reminded me of Mista Thug Isolation. I love it’s gigantic, fuzzy, heavy bass that works so well with his aggressive rapping, and it’s got my favorite line in the album: “I play the resurrector like the Tribe cassette / cuz your third eye is just a fucking hole in your head”. Although the album is bleak and depressing, and how harsh the production can be, there are a lot of extremely chilled out beats underneath Lil Ugly Mane’s rapping. Achilles Foot is a great example of that, and it also has another line I love: “I could read a billion books still not know what pill I took / I could have a million guns still walk with Achilles foot”

Collapse and Appear has a sick beat but Lil Ugly Mane is ghostly and very detached here, full of echo and reverb. The second half of the song is what sounds like a suicide note spoken by a text-to-speech bot… it’s definitely disturbing the first time you hear it. Leonard’s Lake mixes Noise with the Hip-Hop perfectly, a rare feat. He follows that up with two absolutely brilliant tracks Persistence and Drain Counter. The latter being my favorite on the album. He takes a trip to the past and the production emphasizes the nostalgia so well, I really feel along with him. I wish the song was twice as long, but it does have my favorite verse in the album:
“See a landscape littered with the blisters of potential
People letting ghosts govern most of they mental
The opposite adults your folks hope you’d resemble
Doomed from the get like a goat in the temple”

Intent And Purulent Discharge is a complete rejection of modern criticism, mocking those who look so deep into something they just project their ideas on to it. Kind of ironic that I’m dissecting this song right now, but I don’t feel like he’s taking a shot at me, at least I hope not. I hope I haven’t been the type of critic to over analyze and project onto someone else’s art, rather I want to celebrate it and share it. Oblivion Access is a completely different album than Mista Thug Isolation, and it really took me a while to appreciate the difference, and now I feel I’d much rather have this than a straight sequel. This album has a lot more beneath the surface that you can sink your teeth into on repeated listens, and fans of experimental Hip-Hop should absolutely check this out.