The Rickety Old Shack

Backxwash — God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It

album cover

Since hitting the hip hop scene in 2018, Montreal's Backxwash has been steadily grinding away, refining a unique and sinister sound over the course of 2 EPs, a single, and now this full-length project, God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It. Billing themselves as an it / cryptid, Backxwash not only boasts a unique blend of sonic elements, but their transgender status confers a perspective to the material that further distinguishes it from the milieu. The record's themes of anger, violence, alienation, anxiety and coping through substance abuse carry an understated authenticity.

While not explicitly billed as such, I would classify God Has Nothing To Do With This... as an EP, given that its running time is just over 22 minutes, including a pair of interlude tracks. Classification pendatry aside, the album is a concise helping of material that evokes the creepier aspects of horrorcore rap and the abrasive, manic intensity of Death Grips. The latter influence being most obvious on the chorus refrain of "Into The Void," where a combination of digital effects and tone sounds exactly like MC Ride for a second. It's not copying in any sense, just a case of artists working with the same tools. Sonically, Backxwash is more than the sum of their parts.

The sound of this record is very intriguing, containing references to classic heavy metal and industrial sound elements. The album opens with a Black Sabbath sample and includes a song titled "Into The Void." As a fan of projects like Heavy Metal Kings and Body Count, I am always happy to see cross-polination between metal and rap genres. Even the inclusion of guitars on "Black Magic" and "Redemption" stand-out despite the prevalence of guitars in modern rap. Backxwash borrows instrumentally from trap without producing the kind of aggressively mediocre tracks that continue to flood the market. The songs aren't densely lyrical, but they're also deeper than a couple of copy-and-pasted verses consisting of designer clothing brands and ad-lib noises.

Backxwash can synthesize their influences with simply reproducing them, knows how to write a decent hook and makes great production decisions throughout the album. God Has Nothing To Do With It... flows smoothly, and there's a cohesion that elevates this above a simple mixtape: where an artist just dumps material onto the Internet. The interludes didn't feel all that necessary, but they were short and didn't detract from the listening experience either. It would have been nice to get more material, but that's an ideal outcome for any project. The product is dark and infectious, Backxwash spits with fire and conviction and I'm excited to hear what's next.

Summary

The debut album from Montreal's Backxwash, God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It is a showcase for an intriguing new artist in the hip hop scene. Blending a myriad of influences, including metal and industrial, this is a very strong initial offering, and an encouraging sign of the overall potential of this project. Backxwash is worth a listen and keeping an eye on going forward.

Album Information

Release date: May 28th, 2020
Record label: Independent

Backxwash — vocals, production
Ada Rook — guitar (track 2)
Malldate — guitar (track 6)
Devi McCallion — additional vocals (track 3)
fatherflake — production (track 5)
SKIN — production (track 9)
Will Owen Bennett — additional vocals and production (track 10)

Track Listing

  1. God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It
  2. Black Magic
  3. Spells
  4. Black Sheep
  5. Hell's Interlude
  6. Into The Void
  7. Adolescence
  8. Amen
  9. Heaven's Interlude
  10. Redemption

Link: backxwash.bandcamp.com

—by Derek

Published: July 15th, 2020.