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Pheonix, United States

UG has released a 15-track album that will capture the mind and soul of any hip-hop lover. With a mix of rap flows and lo-fi beats, this is a project that truly showcases the ability of this Phenox-based rap artist.

The title of the album 'U Havent Been Yourself Lately' is an interesting one which provokes many questions. Is it as it seems? Or is it rhetorical and based on one's own reflection of the self? Only listening to the project for yourself will allow you to make that decision.

Opening with an explicit track, '40 DOLLAR SALAD' carves out the creative beginnings of this project release. A scattered trap percussion loop gives a constant to the production along with a heavy 808 that offers the only bass on the piece. A slow and sensual lo-fi piano loop offers a silky percussion whilst the vocal performance is one that is slow and conscious before abruptly coming to an end.

'AFTER DEATH' brings the hauntedness of a drill-inspired trap production with a speech opening for thought. This dark production flips the coin from a slow lo-fi opening to a dark and haunting realm. The hauntedness within the vocal samples makes this track one that is contagious, whilst luring listeners in to hear more.

‘Bad Advice’ sits in the air between both sides of the coin – from the lo-fi trap beats to the dark vocal autotunes that weave themselves in and out of the production. This is one of my standout pieces on this album along with ‘BORN’. ‘BORN combines a slow old-school-hip hop vibe with the latest collection of electronic string synths and 808s. In this space-infused floating, listeners will find themselves relating to the communication within this piece. Brilliant.

‘DAYDRINKING’ is the ultimate master of darkness. If you’re like me and you love the rawness of acoustic piano and haunting bass notes then look no further than this one. The demonic vocal samples give food for thought and a message that enhances the feel of the vocals.

'DONT STRAY' is packed with whammy bar guitar twang, soulful gospel vocal chops and the rhythmic heartbeat of trap percussion. The lead vocals are dark and keep to the reflective nature of the project.

‘A Sight To See’ is a true exorcism of demons, a potential soundtrack for Gotham, a true beauty is found within the freedom and darkness within this piece.

‘Home Brew ft. Brandon Beano’ marks the first collaborative track on the album. This chilled track goes down smoothly like an ice-cold home brew. Old School Hip-Hop with a twist stands out here and the artists work well together to create a standout energy.

‘Lebanese Fabric ft. Brandon Beano’ continues the collaborative efforts of these two artists but this time offers listeners a new energy – one that is fused with scatters of trap percussion and soulful breaks. The flow is brilliant – highly skilful, fast-paced, and catchy.

'MYSTIC MANGO' opens with pure profanity. Sometimes, the taboo can be intriguing and thought-provoking which is something that I experienced whilst listening to the lyrical content. The trap percussion is hypnotic and calming and when combined with the elongated bass-infused bell synths 'MYSTIC MANGO' becomes a relaxing track. The lyrics, are very sexual.

‘Nevermind’ has an air of dreaminess within its beginnings before moving towards reflective lyricism and experimental vocal additions. Although the beat is basic, it works well allowing for the vocal performance to be enjoyed for its sound and lyrical content.

‘Not A Cloud In The Sky’ discusses the notion of second thoughts, a reflection of God and of life’s journey. The vocal layers work well to provide a demonic lingering – something that helps to execute the words of this track.

‘Run It Back’ has massive energy from the start. The energy comes from the simplicity of distant and delayed vocal chops and the amplification of the 808s. This is a basic production which holds the attention of listeners in being so minimal. A clever production.

‘Stay Inside’ marks the penultimate piece of the puzzle – and it does not disappoint.

Introducing a new side to the production, ‘Stay Inside’ has an air of the darker production of Doja Cat – from the vocal chops to the 808s and melodies. – Think ‘Streets’, ‘Candy’ and ‘Rules’.

Now, closing the album is a song called ‘TOUCH’. Talks of psychedelics, algorithms and touching related activities, this song leaves listeners awaiting a further project from the most explorative realm.

UG’s 'U Havent Been Yourself Lately' combines the lo-fi with heaviness, the innocent with the demonic and the mind with sound. I like how many flipsides there are to his artistry, Check it out!



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