This is the promising collaboration between smoky jazz/hip-hop collective BADBADNOTGOOD and rap champ Ghostface Killah. Inspired by the '60s/70s soulful music they grew up on the album eschews the sample heavy hip hop of the modern day for live playing which gives the album an atmospheric, organic feel.
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Here’s an idea: bring together the best of Wu-Tang’s alums with a jazz collective famed for their overpowering live prowess. BADBADNOTGOOD are not exactly working within the trends of hip-hop right now, which is favouring a free-for-all sampling approach that has resulted in some of the most creative work in the genre’s recent history; instead, these dudes want to hone in on the supposed virtue of live performance and recording, taking the musical aesthetics of the ‘60s and ‘70s as their queue. Fair enough; everyone’s gotta have their “those were the days” moment. This can be theirs.
Whether or not the branded liveness makes a difference to Ghost’s tracks is debatable; the record is lent an unbelievable flow simply because BBNG are elevated, allowed the same gravitas as the MC they’re working with; instrumental segues flow through the record, and “Mono” becomes “Sour Soul” seamlessly, echoing one of the outfit’s fluid live shows. At times, Ghost feels like little more than a stamp on proceedings; he raps throughout “Tone’s Rap”, but the dingy bass and sulking guitar makes his part feel more supplementary, like he’s just signing off on a sealed jam. It works within the parameters of ‘Sour Soul’, though; this is a smoky record that juxtaposes bluster with subtlety, and so it’s only right that Ghost fades in and out.
As far as Ghost goes, though, his rapping is surprisingly reserved, with less frantic and dense raps and more stuff that works in tone with the smoothness BBNG provide. He’s still overpowering in context -- when put against Danny Brown or the chill-as-shit Tree, he sounds breathless and full of his old urgency -- but this record grounds him impressively. Ghost has obviously spent a lot of time cramming himself in-between samples (shout out to that weird moment in his career when he threw off “2getha Baby”), and following his inspiringly pantomimic work with Blaxploitation soundtrack artist Adrian Younge, BBNG do well to offer an easy backdrop for one of the most self-contented moments in his career. It's no bad thing to hear Ghost knowing he's great.
7/10 Mikey Customer review, 18th March 2015
Its the Ghost. Face. Killlaaaahhh...no one could get iller.
Ghostface Keep Killah rapping over a live band. Think of similar Wu Tang/Ghost collabs with Adrian Younge, El Michels affair, Menahan Street Band.
Its very nice if this is your thing. Different enough from the collabs above to buy right now but won't blow your wig off. 7/10
I have no more to say but the form won't let me submit unless I say more so I'll just say have you checked the Joey Bada$$ album out? This is worth a listen.
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- Sour Soul by BADBADNOTGOOD & Ghostface Killah
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