wubz: Pure Aggression in the Age of Anxiety
Violence is splattered across wubz’s persona, born from lyrics that express the frustrations of the American youth. Talk of testing patience to the point of being put in the ground and damage (all they know is causing damage) paints wubz as a fed up reactionary with murder on their mind. But wubz is a perfect example of how lyricists are not always autobiographical; rather, they are storytellers attempting to process the darker sides of their personality without ever acting on these impulses in the real world. Instead, the character of wubz exists online, their uncharacteristically pitched-down vocal stylings providing the yin to the scene’s pitched-up yang.
In many ways, wubz stands out from their contemporaries, but ultimately wubz is just another artist who makes beats in their bedroom and plays Minecraft with their fans on Discord. Their real-world experiences are more often marked by the anxious repose of an internet-bound 20-something, rather than the active aggression of one who takes to the streets. But it is this anxiety that catalyzes wubz’s creative process—sometimes with the help of paramedic intervention—and makes them an accessible narrator for those looking to escape into the catharsis of aggression.
“I make a lot of stuff that I don’t drop because it’s not what I call ‘perfect,’” wubz says in reference to their musical process. Anxiety is what deters them from dropping track after track a la the style of their more active peers, but it is in these moments of self-doubt that wubz is able to mull over the quality of their work in order to create a compelling sound. Since the release of “cursed” in early September, wubz has established a simple instrumental formula that lends itself to their considerably emotive vocal stylings. wubz says that they “just hop into FL [Studio], find any shitty guitar loop, and start singing over it.” The beat usually develops after this initial mic session, and is mixed and mastered along with wubz’s vocals that have recently fallen into a much deeper register than their early work. wubz says that they were inspired to pitch down their vocals after listening to so many of their peers pitch their vocals up over the past year, and so wubz said, “Fuck it. I’mma pitch them down.”
This bold move paid off, with “cursed” rising to the top of wubz’s most-streamed SoundCloud tracks, but this was not due to technical audacity alone. The delivery of “cursed”’s lyrics feel like an emotional crossroads—caught somewhere between aggression and anxiety. And while wubz claims that their more aggressive lyrics like “I remember when that dumb motherfucker tried to rob me / same day I caught a motherfucking body” are not representative of wubz’s reality, the overall feeling of being cursed is. When wubz sat down to write the track, they were having “the worst anxiety attack [they’ve] ever fucking had,” which led them to “feel like I’m cursed / head fucked up / and my heart don’t work.”
“Basically my brain was convincing me that I lived in hell or some shit,” wubz says. But “cursed” is not the only song that was pushed into production because of their inner demons. Just prior to releasing follow-up track “cremation,” wubz says that their anxiety peaked once again, this time prompting them to call 911 as they felt their heart rate climb. After the paramedics had come and gone, deeming their patient shaky but stable, wubz knew what they had to do: drop the unreleased track.
“I dropped [“cremation”] right after they left. I’m like, ‘I’m about to fucking die,’” wubz laughs, in retrospect. “That was my anxiety. It turns on and off, like right when I don’t want it to happen.”
As someone who feels like they were “always kind of shut out,” wubz first found their footing as an artist releasing “meme shit,” which was met with approval from their high school friends. Once they started making music that dealt with more serious and emotional themes, though, wubz says that their real-life audience dwindled. Over the past year, however, wubz has found their audience once again, this time in the form of the underground SoundCloud scene. Here, wubz is praised for their brand of pitched-down, glitched-out alt rock—though their music is often classified as “quote-unquote hyperpop,” despite their overtly violent themes being somewhat uncommon in the genre.
“I feel like I’m too serious in my music. People think I’m all intimidating and shit,” wubz grins. “I’m always talking about robbing people on these emotional-ass beats for no reason.”
Though wubz believes that “lowkey selling the violent narrative works,” their daily routine is far less brutal than the fictional narrative they communicate through their lyrics. They spend most of their time online, playing video games and making music in between bouts of Twitter shitposting. It’s a far-removed reality from the wubz character that says they’ll “pull up on a stranger / beat that motherfucker up / the damage major,” but it doesn’t stop wubz from exploring these violent themes as a means of catharsis.
Their latest track “damage” is a perfect example of this, demonstrating how wubz has so clearly hit their musical stride over the last few months. Equipped with a driving emo guitar riff that dips in and out of the musical narrative, the listener is left with a barebones beat that was conceived with vocal support in mind. Warbling moans marinated in vocal manipulation create a real sense of despair as wubz descends into bitter lamentation—their resentment shadowed only by their violent acts. But within the lyrics of such a brutal narrator, the listener finds the undercurrent of anxiety that defines wubz’ true character. “Evil motherfucker, do I gotta say it / everybody looking at me like I’m crazy,” wubz sings, labelling themself the “evil motherfucker” character that their audience has grown to expect. However, it is wubz’ real-life anxiety that so often leads them to hide behind unreleased, “imperfect” tracks for fear that their audience will be “looking at [them] like [they’re] crazy.”
Neither wubz nor their constructed persona can fully escape the anxieties that plague their mind, but it is in these vulnerable moments that wubz is most engaging. While there is an undeniably cathartic appeal to wubz’s violent personage, this aggression would fall flat were it not for the emotional delivery of someone truly struggling from behind the microphone.
“It feels like I have to keep going,” wubz says, knowing full well the mental adversity ahead of them. “I ain’t proving shit to nobody but myself.”
Stream wubz on SoundCloud, Spotify, and Apple Music