1) Ghostface is really rocking shit in this one.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m as much of a Ghostface fan as the next guy who grew up ripping bongs and staying up late on a Friday night rinsing that very first Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 demo that only had the Marseille competition level on it. It’s just that, in all honestly, I’ve always loved what Raekwon was doing a little bit more. Cuban Linx, ‘Catalina’ and all that. Obviously Ghost was [and still is] Rae’s close running buddy and as such their rhyme styles and subject matters will always be more than intrinsically interlinked, so now that I think about it, I’m questioning what is really up with that earlier statement?
Whilst Rae gave the world another taster of his self-styled coke raps on Cuban Linx 2 and a couple mixtape projects, it’s felt like, along with the concrete confirmation of that long mooted DOOMStarks project, Ghostface’s presence has been ever hovering large, forever threatening to do something fantastically incredible. Admittedly I’ve completely glossed over last year’s whole 36 Seasons project and you’re damn right, I’m so po-faced that I haven’t even searched for it on YouTube, but I don’t feel like I need to because Sour Soul proves to be a record that purely showcases Ghost lyrically firing on all cylinders.
There’s a quartet of genius in the run of ‘Street Knowledge,’ ‘Ray Gun,’ ‘Nuggets of Wisdom’ and ‘Food’ that’s probably best encapsulated with the opening somewhat throwaway line of ‘Food’ where Ghost states: “I used to rob and steal, now I make food for thought.” It’s not that the album’s pitched as a walk through his personal nostalgia, nor is it an ode to his regrets. But on it he’s in a more wistful mood, trying to help the young’uns out, providing encouragement whilst also leading from the front and showing them the heights of what’s truly possible.
2) BADBADNOTGOOD are clearly in their element.
I get the distinct impression that the young Canadian BADBADNOTGOOD trio are living their dream working with a veteran someone like Ghostface. It’s like their excitement is channeled into and wrapped up in everything the album does. From the sweeping string arrangements to round the LP off and the restrictive palette they’ve chosen to work with it sounds like they’re acutely aware of his influence [on them] and his discography.
Now, I’d hate to come across like a spirited buzzkill, but more often than not, live hip hop bands do kind of suck – and I say this as a guy who paid to go to numerous The Herbaliser live shows way back when. I’ve had a good think about it over the past couple of days and I really don’t know why that is? I mean, hip hop shows with a DJ can fucking suck too, so I’m definitely not saying it’s a phenomenon I can level purely at live bands.
Maybe there’s just a magic in the MPC that you can’t replicate?
That argument falls totally short because BADBADNOTGOOD seem more than able to produce that magic too. They make music that sounds like the sort of music your favourite gnarly rap producers would want to sample effortlessly making those ‘70s cop show style soundtracks that come complete with the vintage grit and crispness you’ll only get from dusty library records.
3) DOOM’s verse on ‘Ray Gun’ is… well, it’s really very, very good.
Nah, mate. Don’t call me out on the tone here. I’m a massive DOOM fan. People know that. Take Me To Your Leader is a really important record to me.
This I include simply for the naysayers and the doubters.
DOOM x BADBADNOTGOOD is a medicine.
Sour Soul is out now on Lex Records.
Buy at Bleep.