In a world that is often cruel and unfair, the Ugly Heroes (made up of producer Apollo Brown and rappers Red Pill and Verbal Kent) aim to be modern day champions. The self – titled album Ugly Heroes is a concise one, consisting of 15 tracks. The theme and message are clear as Verbal Kent and Red Pill waste no time laying down their lives and perspectives on each of Apollo Brown’s masterful instrumental. As expected by the fans who know him, Apollo comes with top of the line beats that are forged from excellent sample work. Songs like ‘Take It or Leave It” and “This is Life” are the best examples of Brown’s music both standing out on its own and setting the mood for the gritty rhymes of Kent and Pill.
The two have quite a lot to say. Instead of fancy lyricism or gimmicky delivery, Kent and Pill opt for straight bars to comment on the realities of the world. ‘Desperate’ is a song about the harsh life at the bottom of the social ladder. ‘Graves’ features the two rappers reporting on the lifelong struggle to earn enough to survive. ‘Impaired Judgment’ offers a relatable tale about the two dealing with their inner doubts and issues. ‘God’s Day Off’ features the two MCs at their best lyrically as they both spit about maintaining their efforts towards success despite their human flaws. The album closes with ‘Push’, an inspirational track with line about perseverance and fighting for your dreams despite the circumstances.
This is music with a meaning that most will have no trouble relating to and sympathizing with. It is clear from the concentrated number of the songs, the high quality instrumentation and bleak rhymes that the Ugly Heroes wanted to make an impact on whoever takes the time to listen. This album succeeds on all fronts with only minor gripes. The simplicity of the song structure is disappointing with music coming from such a creative team. Either Verbal Kent or Red Pill will start off with hook following then the next rapper after that. Like I said, it is a small issue that does little to diminish the impact of this powerful project.
Ugly Heroes makes the audience take a hard look at a harsh reality and provides examples to follow in the day to day struggle to make something from nothing. This album is for listeners looking for pure and honest hip hop that pulls no punches.