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The Elusive Lil Ugly Mane

The enigmatic Lil Ugly Mane makes his first appearance in San Diego with a show at Space Bar on Aug. 17

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    Lil Ugly Mane performs at Space Bar on Aug. 17.

    On Friday, Aug. 17, elusive Southern rapper by way of Richmond, Virginia -- Lil Ugly Mane -- will be performing at Space Bar. It's his first appearance in San Diego and a chance for local listeners to catch him in person.

    That's said with good reason, too, as there's mystique here. From his aliases (Shawn Kemp is one of the production handles he's used) to a kind of rap retirement in 2013 -- he's hard to pin down, almost slippery. And in the same way an artist like DOOM sparks interest with his identity tucked behind a mask, so too does Lil Ugly Mane via different monikers and long sabbaticals.

    It's not all hiatus periods and alter egos though. There's also an extensive back catalog, a cornucopia of early demos, loosies and three-sided mixtapes.

    But it's arguably his 2012 "Mista Thug Isolation" album that he's best known for. A project that not only demonstrates his studio virtuosity (he produced the entire thing) but also a quasi-homage to Memphis hip-hop circa 1997 -- a post-millennium extension of the DIY sound acts like Tommy Wright III or even Triple Six Mafia helped to pioneer.

    Indeed, he's a genuine curiosity. With an over-the-top persona backed by runaway drum programming and off-kilter samples, his is a perspective built from never-ending weed, easy women, and bottomless cups of lean.

    With support from 1207's Malik Burgers, Lemon Grove punk band Sustivity, and a surprise guest DJ set by Deafheaven, it's music to get lost in -- and a perfect way to ease into the weekend.

    The Travelers Club presents Lil Ugly Mane at Space Bar (3519 El Cajon Blvd.) on Friday, Aug. 17. Tickets are available here.

    J. Smith, aka 1019, is a San Diego native, rap fan and one half of the rap duo Parker & the Numberman.You can follow him on Instagram at 1019_the_numberman or on Twitter