He encourages controversy over his intentionally offensive music, he hates gay people, and he hails from a city called Detroit, but the Eminem comparisons end there.
Ultramaddness makes no bones about the “shocking” nature of his lyrics. Even his record label appears uncomfortable with his rhyme content. On the same sticker with the standard Parental Advisory notice, MMDR Entertainment states that, though they support their artists’ first amendment rights, they “do not share his views.” In fact, they “find the lyrics to these songs to be un-American, morbidly homophobic and extremely offensive to members of the religious community.” If they disagree so strongly, then why would they put out the album? No one is forcing them, right? And I KNOW it can’t be because it’s going to make them tons of money, because Ultramaddness isn’t topping any kinds of charts.
Perhaps they just really believe in the quality of the music, regardless of the content. This “official disclaimer” though coupled with an upside-down American flags on the front of the album, a picture on the back of a ghostly head in a ski mask vomiting on said flag, and the picture of Ultramaddness wearing a black cape and cut-off leather gloves while crudely photoshopped flames substitute for his eyes are all parts of the same thing: a marginally well thought-out image, complete with ready-made controversy, courtesy MMDR for Ultramaddness.
Laid out in the album sleeve is his “Snake of the Union Addressâ€”2002”, a mission statement of sorts that explains his personal stance on the overall state of people in general. Turns out he’s not pleased. He’s concerned that our daughters are too promiscuous, he’s worried about senseless human violence, and he’s very stressed about the existence of gay people. He’s got a website that includes a list of people to hate (George W. Bush, Colin Powell, David Stern). He terms himself “The Hateteacher” and advises his audience to get to class “before the death bell rings.”
I’m sure Ultramaddness would love to be called “twisted” and “crazy.” He would love to be trashed for his views because it would bolster his shameless campaign of self-promotion. He would be ecstatic if I said his words made me feel sick, that he is vulgar beyond belief, and that he probably has dangerous psychological problems – but none of those things are true. Nothing shocks me besides original ideas and artistic conviction, and the shock-rap stylings of Ultramaddness are neither original nor convincing enough to move me at all. If music is hard to take seriously, then no matter what the intended message is, the whole thing won’t work. And since Ultramaddness’ vague message comes off sort of like Nazism, it’s already hard to swallow. Over the fifteen tracks on Vomit, Ultra’s desire to shock the listener backfires and quickly becomes annoying. Any effect he could’ve made is spread too thin conceptually, musically, and lyrically. It’s hard to listen to an album where the MC sounds absolutely desperate to offend you, and since this is the case, I can’t see it as anything but weak. In fact, listening to Vomit, I found myself wondering several times if this was all a joke.
Unfortunately, it’s not a joke. The first huge mistake Ultramaddness makes is when he decides to address 9/11 in the song “Ground Zero”. Note to recording artists: do not tackle this subject unless you are positive you can handle it with respect. As for Ultra’s take on the September attacks, he decides to enlighten his audience by criticizing the media’s portrayal of the biggest national disaster ever in American history. He comments that patriotism is being sold wholesale right now, that America immediately found ways to “market” the tragedy, and suggests that not only should we have seen it coming, but if we don’t change our national attitude it will happen again. I hate to say it, but he’s sort of right on some counts. The problem is, his criticisms aren’t as radical as he thinks, and his aggressive presentation only highlights the fact that he hasn’t completely thought his message through. Also, his delivery (which is sort of like a Mystikal rip- off) just sounds corny. This is a pattern that continues over the course of the album. Plus, his producer, Nickel-Slick, inappropriately incorporates machine-gun fire into an uninspired beat that just makes me want to turn off my stereo.
The message remains the same in almost every song: America is disgusting and we are all being fed lies, we all need to wake up, gay people are the devil, and religion is a crutch for the weak minded to forget the truth. “Jesus at ½ Price” begins with Ultramaddness just making fun of Christianity while he sarcastically sings some kind of hymn. When he says, “they snatched your ass from African shores/ brought you to this bitch/ American whore”, he just sounds crazy. And not “good crazy” or “cool crazy”, but weird-guy-on- the-street crazy. The beat is as confused as his message as it simultaneously rips off Swizz Beatz and the Insane Clown Posse. It’s as annoying as it sounds.
“Getting’ High” is unnecessarily violent, and “Kill the Beast” is entirely forgettable. “Filthyhor” is the worst song on the album and inexplicably features Ultra adopting an English accent. “Ultra’s Training Day” jacks the Fugees “Ready or Not” hook, and still is almost unlistenable as Ultra takes an opportunity to tell his audience how amazing he is. I have a hard time believing that Nickel-Slick paid for the beat, as I usually associate the Fugees with quality. I also question the legality of Nickel-Slick’s use of the Eagles’ “Hotel California” guitar line later in the album, but if they sue, that’s his problem.
All in all, the lyrical content is boring for the whole album; not one song deviates from Ultra’s “society is evil and so are you” agenda. I can’t fault him for not offering any solutions to his problems because he hasn’t really presented any issues with much semblance of clarity or thoughtful understanding. Though he can flow on the beat and occasionally says something funny, for the most part he’s just ranting. The production, entirely handled by Nickel-Slick, is mostly a synthesized mess that sounds like the same idea tweaked fifteen slightly different ways.
Unless Ultramaddness is a buddy of yours and you feel like you have to support him by purchasing the Vomit CD, leave this one alone (and if that’s the case, what the hell are you doing hanging out with this guy anyway?). It won’t be hard since you’re most likely not going to see it in your local record store.