Ghostface Killah and BADBADNOTGOOD's collaborative LP is here. Sour Soul features the Toronto trio backing up the Staten Island MC on a 12-song project that clocks in at just over a half hour.
The album may be short, but the quartet packs a powerful punch. There's no choruses, giving it a vibe like it's more of a jam than anything that has to do with mainstream rap in 2015. The formula is simple: Ghostface Killah, and sometimes a guest, kicks a verse chalk-full of wordplay before bowing out to let BBNG take the reins on some instrumental psychedelic soul. The versatility of the backing band continues to impress, as the electronica-jazz of their first three LPs has transitioned in to something Daptone Records would release.
"Mono" eases us in to the soulful affair before the title track gives us a glimpse of what's to come. Ghostface spits a nice verse before a string arrangement intensifies the outro. This album is definitely musical in nature, meant to be appreciated as much for its fuzzy guitar tones as its verbal metaphors. Danny Brown lends his vocals to "Six Degrees," forming a dynamic duo alongside Ghost, with two completely different styles.
"Gunshowers" takes the musical psychedelia up a notch while inviting Detroit's Elzhi in for a feature. "Tone's Rap" is a pimpin' anthem before diving in to Pink Floyd sensibilities, which is a sentence that doesn't apply to any other record in the history of music. That's really the appeal of a project like this: you're getting flavors you love in a way you've never tasted them, like the first time you dipped a french fry in a frosty.
BADBADNOTGOOD offers a few instrumentals to space out the album. They act as scene-changes in an LP that plays out very much like a short movie. Any of these instrumentals would fit in a film score, adding to the epicness of Sour Soul.
MF DOOM lends his metal-masked raps on the upbeat "Ray Gun." The track plays out like a car chase, musically and lyrically. "Catch bullets with my hands and teeth, I break faces / Wild car chases, don of all ages / I saved the world that's fucking history pages," Ghostface raps before letting DOOM kick a quick 16 bars.
Ghostface's most captivating rap comes on "Food." The MC rhymes about turning his life around through rap music. "I used to rob and steal, now I make food for thought / Fresh like the air you snort / I drop jewels, little nuggets of wisdom / Seeds that keep growing / Paying my debts to society, so no more owing." After that, BADBAD knocks the finale straight out of the park on the horn-led instrumental, "Experience."
Sometimes a short album is the way to go, and this is a testament to that. There isn't a stale moment with most songs clocking in under 3 minutes, and none exceeding 3:40. It's as concise as a punk record and as progressive as anything you could ask for in 2015 hip hop. Truly a match made in heaven, hopefully this is not the end of the collaboration between BADBADNOTGOOD and Ghostface Killah.
Source: BADBADNOTGOOD's Soundcloud