BADBADNOTGOOD and Ghostface Killah – Sour Soul

Aside from obvious collaborations with former Odd Future members Frank Ocean, Earl Sweatshirt and Tyler the Creator, Toronto jazz trio, BADBADNOTGOOD have largely been known for their reinterpretations of tracks from a diverse collection of acts including A Tribe Called Quest, My Bloody Valentine and James Blake… until now.

Following the release of last year’s III – their first all original release – the trio have teamed with Wu Tang alumni, Ghostface Killah for Sour Soul. The collab with one of Staten Island’s finest is a very smart choice indeed. Here is a man who’s hit a rich vein of creative form recently: the critically acclaimed 36 Seasons and the Wu-Tang Clan comeback A Better Tomorrow. Guest spots from DOOM, Danny Brown and former Slum Village member Elzhi give Sour Soul extra colour but there is no mistaking who’s show this is.

BBNG serve up their unique brand of laid-back yet excitingly unpredictable jazz that pays homage to the ‘70s yet remains distinctly modern. There’s a wonderful fill at the end of ‘Six Degrees’, for example, that comes as an unexpected delight after a fairly sinister, raw first third of the song. This is just one of many highlights. While still, largely, a hip-hop album, Sour Soul caters to a wider audience due to its complexity. The unmistakable, ever-reliable vocals of Ghostface provide a gritty realism to the dark subject matter, contrasting nicely with the smooth, layered atmosphere laid down by BBNG.

Slick, elegant and accomplished, it’s the kind of album that would stand up on its own as an instrumental; such is the audacious musicianship on display. Fittingly, two instrumental tracks, ‘Mono’ and ‘Experience’, open and close the album. The message is clear: this is the future of hip-hop.