Written Before Listen
Backxwash is a Canadian rapper and producer who made buzz with her 2020 breakout “God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It”. She came as somewhat of an enigma to me as there weren’t that much interviews and history in her. I listened to it when It came out and i enjoyed it. The only thing is that there were a lot of things missing such as cohesiveness and overall completion of her appeal. With that being said, I’m coming in this record with high hopes. I think she can come with something great here.
Backxwash is not only a rapper, she is a producer as well. Her production style is always cutting edge (at least to me). Her instrumental choices are amazing as they usually consist of occasional vocal samples, distorted guitars and 808s, distant trap drums and suspenseful keyboards. It’s like a mixture of Industrial Metal and Hardcore Hip Hop that is very similar to her Industrial Hip Hop contemporaries.
Backxwash is not a rapper that brags, If anything, she’s the complete opposite. Her thematic statements are dark and angry. She talks about drug use, hatred of religion and politics, the occult and suicide. In her own words, the title track is “about living in a state of diaspora. Leaving a place that you cannot return to but grew up in and how that affects your general mental health”. Songs like “Terror Packets” and “In Thy Holy Name” talks about the discrimination she gets as an African American transgender. Songs like “Songs Of Sinners” and “Blood In The Water” come off as horror stories in a way. “Blood In The Water” seems to be a storytelling track about someone being murdered and drowned in the water and “Songs Of Sinners” seem to be an argument between her and a pastor. The last two tracks are probably the darkest as “Nine Hells” is about using drugs to numb the pain and “Burn to Ashes” is about suicide. As you can see, she is no sunshine rapper. She is truly one that focuses on darkness
Looking at her themes and her production style, her Aesthetic is pretty clear. She exhibits herself as somewhat of a “freak show”. Someone thinking that she doesn’t belong in the world and the only way of accepting herself is going against common behavior. A cryptic image in some way. A style like this might not be for everyone, but for the people who like this stuff usually love it. Let me just say that I like this stuff…meaning that I love the aesthetic.
Alongside her image, production skill and topical focus, she is technical as hell. Her flows are sharp, her rhyme schemes are impressive and her delivery is precise. Its not like she’s a lyrical miracle either. Obviously, topics are first for her but the technicality aspect seems to be second nature for her.
Similar to “God Has Nothing To Do With This…”, a lot of the songs seem unfinished. Luckily it’s not like that for a lot of the tracks. The majority of time, the songs actually seem complete as there is a lot of tracks that span 4 minutes. I’ll just say it, Backxwash delivers one of the scariest and noisiest hip hop albums of 2021, and if you’re into that music, go for it.
This is easily one of the better hip hop releases of this year. The lyrics are there, the ferocity is there and the aggression is there. In the 33 minutes this spans, it packs its punch. Do I love it? No, but I will revisit it a good amount in the future.