Ugly Heroes Ugly Heroes

Ugly Heroes Ugly Heroes
7
Fresh off producing collaborative albums with fellow Detroit resident MC Guilty Simpson and revered veteran O.C., Apollo Brown keeps up his impressive work rate with this new group project, featuring emerging MCs Verbal Kent and Red Pill. Using Little Brother as a loose model, Apollo Brown and the two MCs deliver compelling everyman, blue-collar rhymes over gritty, pedantic soundscapes. The album's tone is set with the downcast allure of "Desperate," where Red Pill's frank vulnerability on the mental toll of poverty plays well against Verbal Kent's steely determination to overcome suicidal thoughts, with Apollo Brown fashioning a haunting choral backdrop. Brown's tweaking of vintage '90s boom bap provides a consistent, if not spectacular, foundation for the project, demonstrated on tracks like "God's Day Off," where he dusts off the infamous "Impeach the President" break, to excellent effect. Brown's sonic foundation allows Verbal Kent and Red Pill to freely plumb their emotional and mental depths, musing on everything from treatises on economic inequality ("Graves") to glassy-eyed reflections on self-destructive habits ("Impaired Judgement"). At times, the woeful subject matter threatens to overwhelm — Red Pill's repeated assertion, "I'm feeling good/I'm feeling great" sounds like a personal pep talk rather than a declaration on "Just Relax." However, perseverance and triumphing over adversity always balance things out, making it very hard to root against what Ugly Heroes are striving to achieve. (Mello Music Group)