BADBADNOTGOOD & Ghostface Killah – Sour Soul (eOne Music Canada; 2015)
For what seemed like a no-brainer, it’s unfortunate just how disappointing Sour Soul is. A joint album by rising Toronto jazz fusion trio BADBADNOTGOOD and prolific, cartoonishly rugged Wu-Tang mainstay, Ghostface Killah, the resulting collaboration ignores either party’s strengths and instead settles for an incredibly brief and insubstantial assortment of lukewarm jazz-rap. While BADBADNOTGOOD provide a reliably intimate backdrop and occasionally demonstrate flashes of inspiration, their signature, energetic sound feels compromised in favour of pared-down arrangements more in line with the previous two Ghostface Killah records; it’s an unfortunate decision given BADBADNOTGOOD’s effortless penchant for controlled, moody chaos. Ghostface, on the other hand, simply sounds bored, vanishing from most songs after a single verse while providing an ambitiously stunted version of his enigmatic persona. While Sour Soul isn’t particularly bad or entirely without merit, the lack of cohesion and synergy amongst its two halves renders the entire project limp and airless. It’s less sour and more milquetoast.
Trial Track: “Ray Gun”