This album was released on May 30th this year. Backxwash is an artist whose music I am relatively new to, but I’ve been aware of her work for a little over a year at this point. I recently listened to her first album, Deviancy, which was released in July of last year if I’m not mistaken. Well, I actually think that’s technically her second album. She released a project called Black Sailor Moon in 2018, but that might just be a mixtape. I don’t know. Those labels are pretty meaningless at this point, so I guess it doesn’t matter. Anyway, I didn’t like every single track on Deviancy, but overall I thought it was a very good album, and from the reception I’ve seen it seems like this latest project is an improvement on all fronts. I’ve seen nothing but praise, so I’m expecting this to be great. Every song is self-produced, except where noted.
1. God Has Nothing to Do with This, Leave Him Out of It
The very first thing that really stands out about this track is the dark production. The way she flipped that Black Sabbath track for the hook is pretty ingenious. I didn’t really ever catch on to Backxwash’s accent until I listened to this album to be honest. It’s not super noticeable in general, but I guess I was just paying closer attention here than I usually do. The main theme of this entire album is forgiveness, hence the title.
Mama keep telling me to ask the lord for forgiveness
I want war with these bitches, I want corpses and weapons
In the morgue, I’m the story that Dr. Crowley envisioned
I want horrible things if there’s no recourse for my sin
She also mentions a previous suicide attempt, and recurring suicidal thoughts here. It’s a very dark song, but it’s hard. It’s super short, but since it’s just the intro I feel like that was most likely intentional. I feel like this is the kinda music Scxrlord thinks he makes. Backxwash is able to create a somewhat similar atmosphere without it coming off as a lame, overtly-edgy gimmick. It feels far more genuine coming from her. Anyway, I really fuck with this song. It’s dope.
2. Black Magic featuring Ada Rook
This is a major highlight on this album for me. It’s probably my second favorite song here to be honest. There’s not a single aspect of it that I don’t like. As the white kids my age would say, this song “goes hard.” It has one of the catchiest hooks I’ve heard all year. The first verse is dope too.
I’m feeling like any minute I will let them in
I know that demons be eating me out
Every second here is electric chair
Through the windows they’re seeing me shocked
I guess the hook is technically pretty simplistic, but it just works with this beat so well. The electric guitar that comes in during the second verse from Ada Rook is fucking glorious too. That really added a lot to the song in my opinion. The way the second verse ends is some of the most relatable shit I’ve heard in a minute too.
I ain’t showered in long
I’m always depressed, dejected
Every hour at home
The pile of my clothes on couches
Getting higher and cold
I feel so alone
But I don’t wanna pick up the phone
This is exactly what my life was like right before I was hospitalized in 2017. I think this song is amazing. I have zero gripes with it at all. It’s dope af.
3. Spells featuring Devi McCallion
This is another highlight for me. The vocals from Devi McCallion on the hook are super fucking weird, but they sound really good to me. I get the impression that I wouldn’t be into her music at all if I checked it out, but I think she did a fantastic job on this song. This is the one track on the album that actually has a vocal melody, and it went over super well. I feel like the content of her lyrics are reflected in her delivery too.
I feel a million miles away
As I sink under the spell
There’s only one verse from Backxwash on this song, and a second might have helped push it to the next level, but the first one is definitely sufficient. It’s very well written in my opinion.
I told my mama that the devil got a place for me
I’m going to hell and then I bet you I’ll be safe for weeks
I’m only human even though it doesn’t feel that way
I’m broken useless in the morgue and I can’t leave the place
Her flow is nice too. The beat itself isn’t super interesting on its own, but I think the dark atmosphere mixes with Devi McCallion’s despondent delivery perfectly. This is perhaps my third favorite song on the album. It’s dope as hell.
4. Black Sheep
I think this is one of the best songs on the project from a lyrical perspective, mainly because it seems like Backxwash gets slightly more personal here. The whole album feels personal, but this one seems a bit more direct.
It’s been years since I talked to granny
I think it’s pretty sick that I lost the family
The P.I.s watching in that solo Camry
With my anxiety I should be off the xanny
I feel like the song as a whole is a bit skeletal since it’s barely 2 minutes and just one verse. I do like the beat though, and the personal lyricism is appreciated. It’s not a highlight for me, but I wouldn’t exactly say that it’s a low point on the album either. It’s a dope song.
5. Hell’s Interlude performed by fatherfake
This is one of two instrumental interludes on the album. I definitely find this beat enjoyable, but it’s not particularly memorable in the context of this album. It’s kind of dark and hard hitting, almost like something Lorn would produce, albeit less repetitive and boring. Again, it’s not very memorable, but I did enjoy it to some extent. It’s pretty good.
6. Into the Void featuring Malldate
This is my favorite track on the album. I love it for a lot of the same reasons that I loved Black Magic. The dark production is super hard-hitting, and the paranoid lyricism is really… Well, it’s entertaining, but it’s also unfortunate because I know it comes from a real place of pain.
I’m paranoid that everybody’s out to try and get me
I’m looking over shoulders as I’m passing through the deli
Maybe it’s my skin or maybe it’s the way I dress
I’m tearing out my limbs, and I won’t make it to the next
I’m walking down the street, and I’m anticipating death
All because a motherfucker looked at me and said…
This track has another super hard hitting hook. I love the way she yells “FUCK.” The second verse has one of her most aggressive flows on the whole album. Her delivery is so explosive and hysterical sounding; it’s like listening to her rap while simultaneously running for her life. It sounds really cool. Again, this is my favorite song on the album. The electric guitar from Malldate was a really great touch. Everything about this track is fire. It’s dope af.
Unless you count the interludes, this is the shortest song on the album, and as a result it feels relatively inconsequential. I definitely like the song though; the Led Zeppelin sample is really dope, and this might actually be the most personal and emotionally gripping track on the record from a lyrical perspective.
I know I haven’t called but I love you bro
I hope you understand that this is how I didn’t think I’ll plan this
I’m damaged, my fear is how I navigate the planet
If I stopped myself from talking it would stop your friends from laughing
It seems as if she’s contemplating suicide on this track. I really enjoyed her performance here, but I kinda wish it lasted a little longer. It feels like it ends a little prematurely. I really like what little is here though. It’s a good song.
Backxwash is an experimental Hip Hop artist from Canada who I’ve been hearing about for maybe 2 or 3 years now. I have next to no experience with her music, but I’m planning on covering her latest album, God Has Nothing to Do with This, Leave Him Out of It, as soon as I can. I’ll try to catch up on her earlier work first though. Anyway, this song is fucking awesome. I love the super dark, hard hitting production, and the angry, aggressive-sounding hook is dope as well. I really fucking love her flow on the verse too.
Why the fuck everybody in the church for?
Why the fuck everybody so dirt poor?
Why the fuck do these motherfuckers need a jet
When everybody else ain’t got a million yet?
This shit is hard as bricks. I really love the dark music video and art direction for the entire album too. I’m looking forward to the project. It’ll be out by the time this article is published, so be sure to check it out. This shit is dope as hell.
9. Heaven performed by SKIN
This is the second and final instrumental interlude on the album. It’s the shortest track on the album, and it does feel pretty underdeveloped, but since it’s just an interlude it’s hard to tell if that was intentional or not. It just feels like it’s leading up to something that doesn’t come. With that said, I do think it is slightly enjoyable. It certainly doesn’t sound bad at all. I also appreciate how Hell’s Interlude sounded very aggressive and heavy, and on the other hand this track sounds very… heavenly… On it’s own, it’s a very unfulfilling track, but since it’s an interlude I feel like it does kinda serve its purpose. It’s not something I’d ever skip or delete from the album. I was hoping that the instrumental would be built upon in the following track, which isn’t exactly the case, but the song is just barely enjoyable enough to not get deleted from my library. I like it.
10. Redemption co-produced by Will Owen Bennett
I guess in some respects the preceding interlude is a good lead-in to this track, since it’s the most tame song on the record sonically. Once again, the lyricism is very personal.
I know that shit has changed a lot with the way that I am
No way that I planned for it go this way, understand?
Feeling like you lost a son, but you gained a daughter
You think it’s plain and awkward, you think I’m pain and sorrow
Once again, her actual performance here feels a little scant. The song is already very short, and she only spits one verse. The rest of the song is taken up by an audio clip of a megachurch pastor named TD Jakes. I don’t know exactly what Backxwash’s stance on it is, but I frankly found TD Jakes’ speech about forgiveness to be bullshit. I personally don’t think it’s mandatory for someone to forgive in order to move on from a situation. Maybe I haven’t moved on yet, but I think I have, and I don’t plan on ever forgiving the person who ruined my life. I guess it depends how you define “moving on.” Anyway, the speech from TD Jakes doesn’t actually affect my enjoyment of the song that much, but I did feel the need to address it since it’s the final comment on the album’s theme. Well, it’s really the last thing you hear period, so it clearly holds some significance. I definitely like the song, but I think a larger presence from Backxwash herself would’ve made it more enjoyable. This shit is still dope though. I fuck with it.
This album is pretty great. I think it is a little skeletal here and there, but the music itself is very enjoyable. Nothing about the songs themselves is ever difficult to listen to or particularly bad. I just wish there was a bit more to dig into. It’s telling that my two favorite songs are the only tracks that reach three minutes in length. The production and lyricism had me hooked throughout the runtime, so I guess the only consistent gripe I have is that I wish there was more of it. After listening to the album and thinking about it, I just wished that the instrumental interludes were fleshed out beats over which Backxwash made full songs. I do think this is a pretty big leap in quality from Deviancy though, and it has me very excited for whatever Backxwash does in the future. This shit is dope. Check it out.
Favorite Song: Into the Void
Least Favorite Song: Adolescence
Watch the videos below for more thoughts on this album.