Ghostface x BADBADNOTGOOD – Sour Soul

This album has absolutely no filler – and flows coherently from cover to cover. It’s intricate, down to the last detail, atmospheric and full of depth.

There’s something to be said for live instrumentation, or rather, using actual musicians to record live music. It’s a practice that was often reserved for (some) live performances and platforms like SNL and Jimmy Fallon; however, with exception of a few groups, namely The Roots, there has historically been a severe lack of Hip-Hop bands. It’s actually perplexing, when you stop to consider the amount of live instrumentation that has actually gone into the work of some of the most iconic producers of our day. That’s beginning to change though, and over the past few years there has been a rise in live hip-hop. Some notable collborations that I personally enjoyed were Elzhi and Will Sessions, and Cormega and The Revelations. Today though, I have a new favourite. Ghostface Killah and GOODGOODNOTBAD have unleashed their jazzy new project Sour Soul on the people – and it’s marvellous.

Argue that Ghostface Killah isn’t one one of the hardest working cats in the game today. Pro tip: you can’t. Fresh off of 36 seasons, which was one of my favourite albums of 2014, the great Ghostini is back in effect, this time collaborating with Toronto-based hip-hop/jazz outfit BADBADNOTGOOD (BBNG). If you’re not familiar with that name, they’ve collaborated with Tyler, The Creator on multiple occasions, opened for Roy Ayers, and backed Frank Ocean at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival as band-in-residence. They’ve also produced for Earl Sweatshirt and Danny Brown.

This album is first, and foremost, a true collaboration. It’s just as much a showcase of the trio’s musical ability as it is a showcase of Ghostface’s infinite potential to drop bars, on bars, on bars (and so on). In fact, GFK even sits a few of the tracks out, letting the guys shine. Tracks like Mono, Stark’s Reality and Experience add mood and character to the album, as do extra long outros and transitions. 

There are a few guest 16’s on this album, including Elzhi on the heavy hitting Gunshowers, Danny Brown on Six Degrees, and the ever elusive – and always dope – MF Doom on Raygun. A standout for me was the Wet Willie-tinged Street Knowledge featuring Tree. This album has absolutely no filler – and flows coherently from cover to cover. It’s intricate, down to the last detail, atmospheric and full of depth. Ghostface gives the listener jewels that range from the overbearing nature of the alphabet boys on Sour Soul, to some overwhelming positivity on the aptly titled Nuggets Of Wisdom.

This album is a breath of fresh air, and is sure to inspire many MC’s to work with live musicians for their next project. Oh and if anyone in the game STILL isn’t up on BBNG, they are about to be – in a major way.

Riley About Author

Riley here — father, artist, videographer, professional writer and SERIOUS hip-hop head. I'm a member of the Universal Zulu Nation, and I think everything is better on vinyl. Add me on Twitter! @specialdesigns