Record Routine: Unlikely pair makes monotonous album

An unlikely collaboration, a Toronto-based alternative-jazz trio and a longtime Wu-Tang affiliate come together to create a relaxed LP that is reminiscent of the calmer records in the Wu-Tang catalogue. Ruled by laidback jazz instrumentals and the fast-paced, aggressive lyricism of Ghostface Killah, Sour Soul challenges the current trend of individual producers garnering credit for a record’s production with an actual band creating the music in the tracks.

With a few intriguing features—Danny Brown and DOOM, among other lesser-known artists—this collaborative album produces a few notable tracks that linger throughout the half hour of monotony. The title track is a huge sign of what is to come in the next thirty minutes: If you like throwback hip-hop, continue; if you are already falling sleep, don’t expect the rest of the album to be any different and turn back now.

Some highlights of Sour Soul are seen on “Stark’s Reality” and “Experience,” instrumentals that are perfectly suited to be the soundtrack for a Sunday walk in the park. “Nuggets of Wisdom,” while it sounds unquestionably similar to every other track on this LP, contains one of the more unique bass lines and piano riffs that nearly break away from the album’s melancholy into an uplifting realm, just to slip back into anonymity.

The model used for this album, of using an actual backing band, makes me think that this tradition is now obsolete. Other newly released projects like Big Sean’s Dark Sky Paradise and Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late use a litany of producers and display a much better ability to hold the listeners attention for running times that are twice the length of Sour Soul. Perhaps this is a sign that ‘90s, Brooklyn, hardcore rap should finally be laid to rest for good; perhaps it is my bias towards modern, minimalist production.

Sour Soul squeezes itself into the crowded category of “If you’ve heard one track, you’ve heard them all” albums. While the meditative nature of BADBADNOTGOOD’s instrumentation is difficult to ignore, Sour Soul will sadly be rendered as yet another snore-inducing project released by an offspring of Wu-Tang.

Rating: C-

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