Review Summary: BLAMMO
BADBADNOTGOOD have been turning heads over the past few years for their tasteful mix of hip-hop and jazz. Their earlier albums, such as BBNG
, would take popular hip-hop instrumentals and convert them into creative jazz interpretations. BBNG’s last album, III
, saw the band produce all original compositions which was a welcomed change of pace for the group. This year, they combine with famed Staten Island rapper Ghostface Killah. Ghostface is well known for his involvement in the legendary Wu-Tang Clan rap collective. Although the Wu-Tang Clan’s activity has drastically slowed down since the early 2000’s, Ghostface has been enjoying a fruitful solo career and has released two albums in the past two years. Sour Soul
shows the beginning of a strong musical relationship between BBNG and Ghostface with an excellent debut.
opens with the one minute intro “Mono” and the title track, “Sour Soul.” These songs immediately set a smoky and laid back, but slightly dark atmosphere, a quality that resonates in much of BBNG’s discography. When Ghostface makes his appearance on the microphone, he oozes that New York City confidence and swagger many hip-hop heads know him for. The lyrical content on the title track is also solid with Ghostface rapping about governmental corruption and depicting himself as a twisted and mysterious figure. The third song on Sour Soul
, “Six Degrees,” is arguably the album’s best song. BBNG lays down an incredible beat that features a guitar riff that seems to creep and crawl all over the track and this instrumental is accompanied by good verses from both Ghostface and the guest rap artist Danny Brown. The track following “Six Degrees” is also terrific. “Gunshowers” showcases skillful rapping from Ghostface and featured rapper Elzhi with lines like “My vocab is powerful, spit *** subliminal / Slang therapist, my whole style is criminal” and “As I palm another phenomenon rhyme thesis / Because on the contrary, I get it popping like Dom Perignon beyond / Tom, Harry and Dick / You can declare me sick.” The action packed “Ray Gun,” the ninth song on Sour Soul
, is another highlight. This track has fantastic verses from Ghostface and DOOM and is backed by equally great instrumentation by BBNG.
The beats and production that BBNG provide on Sour Soul
are exceptional. The mood BBNG sets with their instrumentals sounds awesome behind Ghostface’s verses. The reverb on the guitar, the crisp sound of the drums, and the occasional string sections are all on point and well played.
As far as flaws go on Sour Soul
, the run time is pretty short and has some bland moments. The interludes on the album, like “Stark’s Reality,” are solid for what they are, but could use some improvisation to spice them up. BBNG’s solos on their previous albums are impressive and could have been used on Sour Soul
. The record clocks in at about 34 minutes and could have used more substance to help this effort feel like a complete project.
Overall, Sour Soul
is a successful collaboration album, even if it is rather brief. On the album, BBNG consistently lay down great beats and Ghostface, as well as the other guest rappers, have satisfying performances. It’s nice to see veterans like Ghostface collaborating with young talents like BBNG. Hopefully, this union of hip-hop artists has a few more albums in them because Sour Soul
also shows a huge amount of potential for the group.