Ogre Man (a.k.a. Earl Ray Da Ogre, Demented Da Ogre) is a hip hop artist hailing from Dallas, Texas. He is part of a group known as Dallas Zu. He was initially known as a ‘horror core’ rapper but has evolved into a multi-style lyricist. This mixtape is an extension of his Unhappy Gilmore trilogy and is his first release for a while. It consists of fourteen tracks, and contains guest appearances from several of his hip hop cohorts.
He has a hard-hitting rapping style that brought to mind the compelling and aggressive delivery of the legendary Chuck D from seminal hip-hop group Public Enemy. This mixtape has been produced by C.G. for Manipulative Music, and his role seems similar to that of Terminator X in P. E. It also features DJ Cayne, who makes his presence known during intros between tracks with skits.
The mixtape starts with Intro, which sets a party vibe before it bursts into The Industry’s Problem. The track cleverly uses a sample of a guitar riff from Korn’s Freak On A Leash, Ogre Man delivering a powerful and intense performance, depicting his outsider status as an artist considered too dangerous and subversive by the music industry.
The combination of a rock riff with a strong rapping style is highly effective and brought to mind She Watch Channel Zero from P.E.’s classic album It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back. Ogre Man sounds genuinely menacing when he intones, “I’m the one they tried to hold back, and for that I will show no slack…..”.
Second track You Must Think features fellow rappers #Skoundrellife, Killa Killeon, Chase Pat and Mz. Trinity. They are all superb rappers with very individual styles that complement each other. It features a slinky glitch-hop beat and an instantly memorable hook, baiting those who dare to call them fake or phony: “You must think we ain’t real, you must think we ain’t true…..”, and disses those who they believe are fake: “You say you’re a gangster but you sound like a pop star…..”.
Step In My Square (featuring Don Claude) is Ogre Man at his most incendiary, laying down the gauntlet for his detractors to diss him to his face and setting out his position in very clear terms: “If you’ve got a problem with me, step in my square…”. I’ts one of the most aggressive and direct tracks on the mixtape, and also one of the catchiest.
I Got Juice is another strong track, essentially an ode to his automobile. Like any good gangster rapper, he’s proud of his wheels and there’s almost a dry humour to the bravado of lines like, “Engine screams out murder every time I crank it, all you see is exhaust fumes as soon as I punch it, with 300 horses you don’t wanna face me, shaking that pavement, you don’t wanna race me.…”.
Like many hip-hop artists, Ogre Man enjoys the hedonistic side of life and this is reflected in several of the tracks. The slinky, laid-back groove is a nice contrast after the intensity of the first quarter of the mixtape and the orchestral sample really lifts the vibe. The following Know A Little Freak is more hardcore, Ogre laying down some graphic rhymes that that are not complicated by any ambiguity.
Ogre Of Lust, as the title implies, continues this theme with some ‘bad boy’ lyrics that shows Ogre can rival Eminem for controversial content. He makes Snoop Dogg look like M.C. Hammer. They are great tracks and some credit should go to producer C.G. for some skittish beats and clever use of samples and scratches.
Ninth track I Don’t Tricc (ft. Pharaoh Da Don) brings it back to street life, this one about money issues and how he feels he’s “a hustler till I die“. It’s a refreshingly blunt and honest track that has a suitably decadent musical vibe which wouldn’t sound out of place on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack.
Cipher III (ft. #Skoundrellife, Zulu) is fantastic; built around a funky 70’s style musical backing, Ogre and guests take turns laying down some rapid fire rhymes that brought to mind the best Eminem and Dr. Dre collaborations. This would be a great choice for a single, though some lyrics from Ogre Man are pretty hardcore on this one and might require a radio edit!
Eleven track We Do (The Stonecutters) is based on the song of the same name taken from the Simpsons, and it starts with a hilarious short clip of the show. The rhymes come thick and fast on this one, and sampling a song which is a thinly veiled expose on the Masons is inspired.
Ogre Man returns to his horror core roots on Saw VIII (ft. #Skoundrellife), the title coming from the torture porn franchise. Full of audio samples from horror films, the lyrics match them for graphic imagery and it makes for a gripping listen. The intricate intensity of the beat ramps up the tension nicely, and it’s a disturbing but powerful track overall.
My Basement takes things to an even darker place, and this really is the musical equivalent of the hugely popular Saw and Hostel horror films. It’s an extremely unnerving depiction of someone luring a woman to his basement. I’ll leave the details for the listener but this is a challenging piece of lyrical content, be warned.
The closing track Gun Powder (ft. #Skoundrellife) is an explosive way to complete this rollercoaster journey. It features great rapping performances from Ogre and #Skoundrellife, who spits some mind bending tongue twisters while Ogre Man keeps it as real as he has done across the whole album.
Some rappers like to accessorize gangster life without true experience, but Ogre Man is 100% the real deal. It features an amusing section of a spoken list of words that are offensive and rappers aren’t ‘allowed’ to use. A very apposite track considering both the crisis about guns and the spread of political correctness in America.
Overall, this is a shotgun blast of a mixture from Ogre Man. He shows he’s the baddest of the bad boys with just about every vice covered lyrically with great style and braggadocio, taking it to some shocking places. The collaborations are all excellent and work seamlessly in the flow of the mixtape. For the many who loved the outrageous and controversial style of Eminem, you are going to be hugely entertained by Ogre Man and his friends.
VERDICT: 8.5 out of 10