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  • Brix Jennings

BADBADNOT GOOD and The Future of Neo Jazz

Modern music has had a resurgence in the last decade. Leading the charge is a slew of new artists that are shifting the landscape of the industry through their incomparable artistry and their ability to bring something fresh and new to the world of music. In fact, one advantage that these new artists have is their openness to take the old with the new, which allows for sonic experimentation that more often than not becomes ground zero for innovation. And while many artists and groups are good representations of this nowadays, there is one that stands above the rest.

Toronto-based jazz group BADBADNOTGOOD is at the forefront of the new jazz movement. They've become ambassadors of the genre, breathing life into it and introducing it to millions of new listeners all over the world. Read on to know more about BADBADNOTGOOD and their meteoric rise to the pantheon of modern music!


It's sort of a worn-out narrative to say that a group has humble origins but it is especially true in the case of BADBADNOTGOOD. The group has been making music since 2010. At the time, most of their music involved reworking songs by famous hip hop artists such as Nas and Dirty Ol' Bastard. One of their first tracks that really blew up was a rendition of Nas' The World Is Yours. The group continued to do shows, many of them crowd-funded and were starting to build momentum and gain a substantial following.

Their efforts came into fruition when they were contacted by hip hop collective Odd Future's defacto leader Tyler the Creator, inviting BADBADNOTGOOD to back up Tyler and fellow Odd Future member Frank Ocean at their shows. This would give them the bump in publicity to be thrust into the mainstream consciousness, further fueling their musical aspirations.


Since 2011, the group has released five albums. And while all of these albums were great from a music standpoint, Sour Soul and IV really stand out. In a way Sour Soul, which they made in collaboration with Ghostface Killah, is symbolic as the band that used to make cover songs of Wu-Tang Clan member Ol' Dirty Bastard has now made an album with his fellow Wu-Tang Clan member. The album was critically acclaimed and was even shortlisted for the 2015 Polaris Music Prize.

IV, on the other hand, represents a group that's at the height of their power. This album demonstrates that the group has indeed come into their own. With tracks such as Time Moves Slow wherein bassist Chester Hansen achieves his notoriously crisp bass tone with the seven-band Boss GEB-7 7-Band Bass EQ pedal, which is built for handling the bottom-heavy frequencies in which he swims. The group continues to flex their ability to make melodically intricate tracks that sound both calculated and improvised at the same time. This is heard again in the track Lavender, which features Canadian artist Kaytranada, as the use of the Yamaha organ to accentuate the track gives it all the iconic characteristics of a BADBADNOTGOOD track.

While IV marked the last album that the group was together with all its original members, there's no doubt that the group will continue to push boundaries and expand the limits of genre and sound. No one knows what the future holds for BADBADNOTGOOD but what's certain is that any future with the group in it is good news for fans all over the world.

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