Jazz-trained hip hop heads make good on a well-hyped collaboration.
Blending the fresh instrumental jazz sensibilities of Toronto’s own BADBADNOTGOOD with the seasoned hip hop stylings of Wu-Tang Clan alum Ghostface Killah could have been a discordant disaster. But Sour Soul nicely fuses the two, delivering a short yet satisfactory album.
When folks heard the emerging Toronto trio would be collaborating with Ghostface, eyebrows were raised. No doubt BBNG (Humber College jazz program graduates) have hardly been shy about showcasing their hip hop proclivities―but could they keep pace with Ghostface? Have no fear, Sour Soul goes down easy.
Within a surprisingly short runtime, the 12-track album is a simmering slow burn, with Ghostface’s dangerously dexterous rhyme flow vibing nicely against a jazz soul backdrop. Jazz purists have often had a bone to pick with BBNG’s musical proficiency, but they do the job here, providing the funky backdrop to grimy street tales as spun by Ghost. Guest spots by names like Danny Brown, Elzhi and MF Doom pop up to further legitimize the proceedings, and beats swerve heavily into head-nod territory.
Ultimately the album is substantially more than a mere vanity project as was initially feared. Sour Soul sees both parties in high form as they deliver a sharp take on classic hip hop sounds.