In a music industry that is saturated with growing EDM artists, pop vocalists, and bands alike, it is rare to find a flare for the jazz sound intertwined with flawless hip-hop beats that inevitably rejuvenates the soul of ‘90s hip-hop and the originality and precedence of jazz music. And yet four-piece (originally three till the recent addition of Leland Whitty) Toronto artists BADBADNOTGOOD has sparked the re-birth of jazz fluidity underneath a glossy sheen of delicate and precise beats that brings each individual tracks to life.
BADBADNOTGOOD’s brilliance in producing and creating unique material has proven to be the fruit of their labour. Their collaboration with Wu-Tang legend Ghostface Killah on his latest album ‘Sour Soul’ has created quite a buzz in the hip-hop industry during its release early last year. The four-piece instrumentalists have created something different within their latest album, something quite different in comparison to their first three. BBNG and BBNG2 reinvigorates the potency of hip-hop beats without the hardness of lyrical speech introduced over it. BBNG and BBNG2 proves as a foundation to their situation; on the precipice of musical breakthrough for half a decade. ‘III’ shows a great maturity of both sound and production from the then three piece. ‘III’ indicates a sort of identity but lacked the certain variation between songs that is able to distinguish itself from other artists.
Their recent release of ‘IV’ establishes the heavy influence of jazz improvisation and risk while infusing a modern twist of beat that allows a perfect harmony between the old and the modern. The ability to create such a unique sound by layering in a new modern twist to such a heavyweight foundation of jazz music has proven to be a perfect formula for success in a music industry that is slowly on the verge of moving away from the past and looking towards the future.
BADBADNOTGOOD’s link with the up-tempo nature of jazz and fusing it with a fresher sound manifests a sound that somehow finds a perfect midpoint between laid back and ecstasy. The change doesn’t only come between the different textures of sound and layers that compose each track, but the physical change can be seen from the colour of the album cover. The transformation between the blue colouring and the openness of four men having an intimate moment by the pool in comparison to their first three album covers that is saturated with monochrome and a sense of mystery hidden behind pig masks and minimalistic features is a massive contrast. And yet, as the first song ‘And That, Too.’ starts with its fragile piano-led melody brings BADBADNOTGOOD’s style to the surface as well as introducing their fourth member Leland Whitty to the album with a saxophone solo. While he doesn’t appear on most of the tracks, his saxophone layering within ‘Chompy’s Paradise’ and ‘IV’ adds the fundamental aspect of rarity that adds variation to this new album, something that is both wanted and needed.
The ability to sample different genres without sticking to one specific sound proved to be the essence of ‘IV’ as a whole. From ‘Lavender’ that features Kaytranada laced with a heavy synth infusion while introducing subtle beat melodies that creates a perfect blend between each layer of sound that infiltrates the ears of those who are listening. BADBADNOTGOOD’s brilliance of braiding contemporary jazz with fresher beats makes this album a piece of art in its own right. Each jazz note somehow finds a way to compliment the beat within a hip-hop prism that makes ‘IV’ a gateway between the past and the present.
Out now on Innovative Leisure.