BADBADNOTGOOD & Ghostface Killah: Sour Soul (Lex) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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BADBADNOTGOOD & Ghostface Killah

Sour Soul

Lex

Feb 18, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Ghostface Killah has gotten around in the last three months. In December came the long-awaited new Wu-Tang record, A Better Tomorrow. A week later, Ghostface delivered his latest album: the quasi-concept LP 36 Seasons. Sour Soul, his third release in as many months, isn't technically his recordbut it's the best of the lot.

Over the last five years, Canadian jazz trio BADBADNOTGOOD have dug out a singular niche with their hip-hop covers and collaborations. For their fourth full-length, they tapped Wu-Tang's own Ironman to provide primary vocals, and they're a fantastic pairing. BADBADNOTGOOD's instrumental backing tracks sound as if they could have been soul samples lifted from the soundtrack to an obscure '70s blaxploitation flick, which is to say they sound more like a vintage RZA production than anything Ghostface has rapped over in a long timeincluding A Better Tomorrow. (The similarity shouldn't be a surpriseBADBADNOTGOOD assisted on tracks for RZA's his kung fu movie pastiche, The Man with the Iron Fists.)

Lyrically, Ghostface seems to be loosened up and having fun here, perhaps freed of the narrative constructs of his latest solo outings. There's a lot of old-fashioned boasting: "I'm an activist, socialist, deadly-ass poetrist/Supreme Clientele, I'm a goddamn vocalist" ("Gunshowers"). Most welcome is the sense of humor on display; it's downright silly at points. Sour Soul also features cameos from MF Doom, Elzhi, MC Tree, and Danny Brown; Brown's nutty verse on "Six Degrees" brings the same sort of unchecked energy that Ol' Dirty Bastard's outbursts brought to vintage Wu-Tang joints.

With Sour Soul, BADBADNOTGOOD work like film directors. They went in with a certain kind of movie in mind, and knew how to cast it. They got a great performance from their lead and surrounded him with a fantastic supporting cast. The manner in which they've appropriated and recreated the early Wu-Tang vibe is practically Tarantino-esque. It may be a knockoff, but it's one of the most fun Wu-affiliated records of the past decade. (www.lexprojects.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10



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tomasz.
June 22nd 2015
5:35pm

“a knockoff” of what?