“My music is trash,” says Ugly God, wearing an Ash Ketchum hat while scrolling through his Instagram timeline. “I’m off-topic, I say random shit, and it’s just vulgar trash. I’m rapping about shit that’s not supposed to be heard by children. Trash.”
For those unfamiliar with Ugly God, here’s some context: the 20-year-old, self-ascribed meme rapper uses consistently ludicrous lyrics (“I’m a Pornhub specialist / Booty squishy like a jellyfish”) in his songs about butts, masturbation, and cartoons. After dropping out of the University of Southern Mississippi, where he was double-majoring in engineering and web development, he founded the Little Dick Clique (self-explanatory), and went on to record tracks with the likes of Famous Dex and Wintertime. The day after playing a show in NYC, Ugly God is sitting in the P&P offices, proudly boasting an assortment of faux accessories.
“My grill is fake. All my jewelry and watches are fake. Fake is the new cool. Me telling you all my shit is fake, that’s me being real with you. Fake is the new real.”
With a relatively limited Soundcloud catalog of a dozen-or-so uploads, Ugly God does give us us a vague hint at his first proper release: “[I’ve been working on the Booty Tape] for the past eight years. It might drop tomorrow, it might take another eight years.”
It becomes clear very quickly that Ugly God doesn’t care what you think of him. When we discuss traditional hip-hop heads potentially feeling resistance toward his offbeat persona, he admits he “honestly couldn’t give a fuck,” and he chooses to stay an underground rapper because, “people have shaped mainstream artists to be what they are. They’re not as honest with what they’re saying. I don’t have to care about what I say—I can rap about what I want.”
Making the choice to stay underground is an interesting new approach in the Internet-driven music industry, especially when the artist offers nonconventional traits. There are a number of newer artists like Ugly God—Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert—who aren’t hiding their left-field traits in an attempt to be more marketable, and it’s working.
Ugly God has nearly 700K followers across across Twitter, Instagram, and Soundcloud, and has become a sort of icon for a bizarre realm of the online world. In a music industry where the Internet now calls the shots, Ugly God is finessing. Whether he’s rapping about his smaller-than-average genitalia or clipping tiny lizards to his nostrils in Instagram videos, he’s perfecting the art of weird entertainment for his own profit.