BadBadNotGood 'IV' Review

Joe Dexter provides his verdict on the latest melting pot of hip hop and jazz from Canada's BBNG.

Ben Smith

Last updated: 20th Jul 2016

Image: BadBadNotGood

Canadian musicians seem to be running music at the moment. With the likes of Justin Bieber, The Weeknd and Drake taking control of the charts and Kaytranada's uprising from the underground. Of late, one name is set to add to that contingent which includes four white guys taking over the jazz scene, but with a twist.

BadBadNotGood have an impressive catalogue already, having established themselves on with three previous albums and their mind-blowing collaboration tape with Wu-Tang’s own Ghostface Killah.

Their fourth album IV does not disappoint, taking elements of Hip-Hop, R&B and Jazz from their previous work to create an enjoyable rollercoaster of an album. 

As the album plinks into life with ‘And That, Too.’ You are drawn in with Leland Whitty’s smooth saxophone skills and by the end of it left in awe of his talents.

‘Speaking Gently’ follows suit but their more obvious Hip-Hip roots come into play. With a few minor adjustments it could easily be moulded into A Tribe Called Quest or Kendrick Lamar style, jazz infused beat that cries out to be rapped over, yet can work just as well on its own. 

The initial trio of Matthew Tavares, Alexander Sowinski, and Chester Hansen had always shared a love of artists such as MF Doom and A Tribe Called Quest - they even covered Gucci Mane’s ‘Lemonade’ (listen below) as one of their first collaborations. 

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Their passion for rap comes across in ‘Hyssop of Love’ featuring Chicago’s own Mick Jenkins. Jenkins’ laid back style flows effortlessly over the groovy beat, reminiscent of the groups earlier work on their ‘Sour Soul’ collaboration album with Ghostface Killah. 

The band also recognise the success of their previous albums with ‘Confessions Pt. II’ featuring master saxophonist Colin Stetson - following on from ‘Confessions’ on their third album III.

The album contains an impressive roster of features including Future Islands frontman and eccentric dancer, Samuel T Herring on ‘Time Moves Slow’. The track boasts their ability switch up styles as they create a melancholic R&B slow jam. Another stand out collaborator is fellow Canadian Hip-Hop producer, Kaytranada, who adds his own touch with some heavy synths on ‘Lavender’.

The album refuses to stick to one genre as it blends in different elements of the band’s influences. Each member is allowed to show off what they bring to the table in each track with an impressive Saxophone solo on ‘And That Too.’ to the jittery keyboard solo on the title track ‘IV’.

Having successfully conquered jazz, Hip-Hop and R&B, it will be a delight to see just what they will come up with next.

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