Ghostface Killah and BadBadNotGood - Sour Soul (Review)

Ghostface Killah and BadBadNotGood - Sour Soul (Review)

"Sour Soul" is a collaborative album between Wu-Tang Clan's Ghostface Killah and Canadian hip-hop band BadBadNotGood. The album features guest appearances from Danny Brown, Elzhi, MF DOOM and Tree, with all songs being produced by Frank Dukes and BadBadNotGood themselves. It is set to be released on February 24, 2015 via Lex Records.

1) Mono - Instrumental intro.

2) Sour Soul - The first real song on the album finds Ghostface Killah spitting some almost paranoid rhymes about "microchips in your meds" and "steroids in your chicken" over a crazy instrumental from BadBadNotGood and Frank Dukes. The beat is beautiful, with layers of guitars and ethereal strings that weave in and out over the mellow drums, and Ghost sounds really good over it, especially when the beat reaches its peak during his second verse. I also got a good laugh out of the "with the strength of ten midgets, I'mma murder you son" lyric, reminding me of Ghost's verse on "Guillotine (Swordz)" when he said "gorillas injected with strength of eighty midgets". Anyways, dope way to start off the album. - 4/5

3) Six Degrees (featuring Danny Brown) - The beat on this cut is just as nice as the one on the previous song, with BadBadNotGood and Frank Dukes delivering an exotic feeling instrumental full of reverberating guitars and light drums. As far as the lyrics go, this song finds both Ghostface and guest Danny Brown kicking some violent (and often humorous) rhymes full of drug references in their usual styles. Another dope track. - 4/5

4) Gunshowers (featuring Elzhi) - This song was one of the singles that was released in promotion of the album and it's my favorite cut on the project so far. The beat is dope, mainly consisting of a smokey guitar loop that compliments both Ghost and Elzhi's punchline laden braggadocios bars perfectly, and both emcees rip it. Yeah, I'm really feelin' this one. - 4.25/5

5) Stark's Reality - Instrumental.

6) Tone's Rap - This song finds Ghostface spitting a single verse about being a pimp over what is easily the most laid-back instrumental on the album so far. The beat is dope though, with layers of guitars that go on for over a minute after Ghost is done rhyming, and Tony himself sounds good enough over it, adding emotion and cadence to his rhymes like only he can. I can't help but feel a little disappointed with this one though since it feels like Ghost just dropped his verse and was out. Still, not bad by any means. - 3.25/5

7) Mind Playing Tricks - Frank Dukes and BadBadNotGood come through with another banging instrumental on this cut, upping the energy level after the hazy previous track and delivering a beat full of subtle synths and guitars, soaring horns and lively drums. The beat is fire and Ghost rips it,  spitting some more boastful rhymes that paint a picture in your mind. I'm really feelin' how he starts off the first verse with - 
"Evil emotions, it seems like my mind's playing tricks on me
I have RZA and The Gravediggaz do mix for me
Sinister, I drive niggas off to the dark side
I send Ichabod Crane on his horse ride"
This one's a banger. - 4.25/5

8) Street Knowledge (featuring Tree) - The beat on this cut returns to the more mellow and intimate vibe of many of the albums other tracks, with BadBadNotGood and Frank Dukes utilizing more atmospheric reverberating guitars over laid back drums. The production is dope though and both Ghostface and Chicago rapper/producer Tree sound great over it, with each emcee kicking some rhymes about the streets and such. - 4/5

9) Ray Gun (featuring MF DOOM) - This was another one of the singles released a few weeks back and it's real nice. The production has a kind of playful feel to it to go along with the whimsical comic book rhymes from both Ghostface and Metal Face DOOM and I'm really feelin' the way the beat changes up after both emcees are done with their verses. Dope song. - 4/5

10) Nuggets of Wisdom - Ghostface Killah drops some knowledge and wisdom over a beautiful instrumental that is one of my favorites on the entire album. His rhymes are positive and uplifting and the production compliments the subject matter of the song perfectly. Too bad this shit is so short since it's really good. Really Ghost.....just one verse? Regardless, dope track. - 4.5/5

11) Food - The final song on the album (before the last instrumental track that is) is also another of the projects standout cuts for me, with Ghostface Killah building off of the positive vibe of the previous song and kicking some more inspiring rhymes about bettering yourself over a smooth instrumental. Both verses are crazy, but I'm really feelin' it when Ghost spits -
"The light is the sun, the sun is the father
The father is the man on Earth, we try harder
To teach one, preach one
Just knowledge the wisdom
Can't figure right from wrong, it's a tough decision
My vision is light so come to me when yours black out
Follow the footprints as I lay the tracks out
He's a righteous God, I want the best for mankind
Navigate through this war without blowing a landmine"
This one's a banger. - 4.5/5

12) Experience - Instrumental outro.

I'm going to rate the album

4 / 5

because it's very good. The production from BadBadNotGood and Frank Dukes is stellar throughout, with mostly all of the instrumentals having a laid-back, jazzy feel that compliments Ghost's style very nicely. While many of the beats do have a similar feel, the short length of the album helps to alleviate the sound from getting stale (more on that later). As far as the rhymes go, Ghost doesn't spit quite as hard as he usually does until the very end of the album. Lyrically Ghostface has already cemented himself as a legend years ago, but some of these songs just seems like he spit a quick verse and then dipped. Don't get me wrong, Ghost still brings it with his rhymes, but I find myself having a little bit of a hard time getting reacquainted with Ghost just straight spitting instead of crafting stories like he did on his past two albums "Twelve Reasons To Die" and "36 Seasons". I guess that is the downside of following up two conceptual albums with a more traditional project. Anyways, my only other complaint about the project is it's short length, which just left me wanting more in the end. As I stated above, the albums short length is probably actually one of it's strengths since it keeps the sound from getting stale, but I still prefer to hear Ghostface spit more than one verse on each track. Overall, however, "Sour Soul" is yet another strong release in the discographies of both Ghostface Killah and BadBadNotGood.


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