Mysterious and prolific Virginia-based rapper Lil Ugly Mane emerged from the shadows of the Internet around the beginning of the 2010s. His cloudy production and sinister lyrical style followed in the footsteps of Texas rap heroes like Geto Boys or Three 6 Mafia and early horrorcore acts like Insane Clown Posse, but he twisted those influences into something more inhuman and scary sounding on key releases like 2012’s Mista Thug Isolation. After briefly concentrating on work under the alias Bedwetter, Lil Ugly Mane returned in 2021 with the sample-heavy lo-fi rock album Volcanic Bird Enemy and the Voiced Concern.
Before taking the alias Lil Ugly Mane, Richmond musician Travis Miller worked in a variety of styles and genres. He dabbled in rap, noise, and black metal under various aliases, first appearing as Lil Ugly Mane in 2010 with tracks he posted online. With pitched-down vocals, anxious lo-fi production, and lyrics so gory and desperate they sometimes bordered on farcical, Lil Ugly Mane’s style was a messy blend of various rap styles and experimentation borne of the Internet era. His first mixtape, Playaz Circle, was released in 2011 and was followed by a proper studio debut with 2012’s Mista Thug Isolation. The album recalled DJ Screw’s slow-motion production and the most roughly crafted mid-’90s underground Southern rap styles and quickly became a cult classic.
Though Miller often threatened to retire the Lil Ugly Mane project, he continued to release smaller projects, extensive and sometimes mostly instrumental compilations, and the slightly stylistically divergent 2015 album Oblivion Access. In 2017, he announced he would be releasing music primarily under the new moniker Bedwetter, but Lil Ugly Mane material still showed up on occasion. In 2019, an eight-song Lil Ugly Mane collection appeared with the self-explanatory title Songs That People Emailed Me About Asking Why I Hadn’t Put Them on Streaming Platforms. Volcanic Bird Enemy and the Voiced Concern, a surprise left-turn into sampladelic alternative rock recalling the output of ’90s labels like Slabco and Grand Royal, appeared in 2021.