By Jack Barnes

Eccentric rap superstar Ugly God continues his meteoric rise to the top with a coveted appearance on the cover ofXXL as part of their Freshman Class 2017, reveled today. Previous XXL Freshman Class’ have included hip-hop heavyweights like Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, Future, and Macklemore.

The cover reveal also marks a massive milestone for Ugly God’s breakout hit single, “Water”, which has surpassed 225 million streams (cumulative). The track also previously landed Ugly God his debut on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

Ugly God is set to perform at Made in America Festival, Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival, Breakaway Music Festival (Columbus, OH), and Summer Set Music & Camping Festival.

After organically collecting several-million spins on Soundcloud as an independent artist, last November Ugly God partnered with Asylum Records (previous home to Gucci Maine, Waka Flocka Flame, Paul Wall) to release his viral track “Water”. With a massive social following – thanks to posts like a compilation of catching lizards and wearing them on his nose – the Houston/Biloxi, MS rapper’s odd and provocative charisma quickly caught the attention of hip-hop gatekeepers and he was dubbed “the internet’s most loved rapper” (Pigeons & Planes). Ugly God is currently prepping to release his anticipated debut mixtape, ‘The Booty Tape’.


Society tends to put pressure on valuing looks over personality traits. As a kid, Ugly God, born Royce Davison, picked up on this quickly when people called him ugly. Some comments were jokes, while others were snide remarks about his appearance. After hearing it so many times, he learned to take their bullying in stride and embrace his unattractiveness. “I stopped giving a fuck at a young age,” he says. “I always just said how I feel. When I got old enough, I knew my word and my opinion mattered.”

It wasn’t until about a year and a half into his career that Davison started calling himself Ugly God. The 20-year-old rapper came up with the name due to his aforementioned experiences with the word, tacking on “God” to show he’s the ugliest of ugly. His idea of not caring about his appearance is empowering to his fans. To him, it’s OK to accept your imperfections in order to be successful. “Don’t live a bad life because of how you look,” he says. And that’s Ugly God’s whole shtick: roll with it and just have fun.

As the first artist under the newly launched Asylum Records, previously home to Gucci Mane, Waka Flocka Flame, Paul Wall, and more, Ugly God is bringing new energy to the label with his provocative personality. One scroll through his Instagram and you’ll find some things he’s really interested in like Pokémon and wearing lizards as nose rings. These eccentricities have helped built his cult fanbase along with a handful of songs on his SoundCloud that are blatantly sexual. Take the video for Ugly God’s recent single “Water,” for example, which shows him on a boat turning up with two women. He pours liquor on one girl, and even licks her chest. In another shot, he’s on a beach dancing to his lyrics while wearing a shirt that says hentai. It’s oddly obsessive to watch.

Without an official project out yet, Ugly God is preparing to drop The Booty Tape in 2017. His influences range from Lil B to Soulja Boy (“Soulja Boy did not give a fuck about shit”), so think The Booty Tape will contain a lot of idiosyncratic rhymes over left-field beats. Just judging from some of the song titles—“Bitch,” “Booty on My Dick,” “Lil Dick Clique”—he’s trying to make music that both shocks you and goes against the grain. “It’s a song for all the little dick men,” he says of the concept behind “Lil Dick Clique.” “You know how you watch porn and you’re like, ‘Damn, that dick big! Damn, that dick small!’ It was just a message telling them it’s OK.”

In 2017, Ugly God is predicting some major shifts in hip-hop. As part of the new class, he’s ready to own his lane as a strange outsider breaking the norm. “If anytime like ‘I Beat My Meat’ gets into the hip-hop industry, that’s not the same,” he says. “2Pac is probably looking down pissed the fuck off. Michael Jackson pissed off. They mad. Or they might be happy. They might like it. I don’t know.”

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