This album was released on June 20th this year. Last year Backxwash found a lot of success with her breakout album, God Has Nothing to Do with This, Leave Him Out of It, which I enjoyed quite a bit. However, I enjoyed the following STIGMATA EP a lot more. I still think that project is genuinely amazing, and I’m hoping that this new album lives up to its quality. It may not blow me away like STIGMATA, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy it to some extent.
As always, I’ll write about the songs I actually enjoy before covering the songs I won’t be returning to. The album starts off with an intro called PURPOSE OF PAIN, in which some guy explains why pain is necessary. The way this audio clip is looped and manipulated makes it sound really eerie. I think it’s a pretty cool intro to the album. The first actual song is called WAIL OF THE BANSHEE, and it’s one of the best songs on the album in my opinion. I love how grandiose and evil-sounding the production is. The dark, suicidal lyricism matches the tone of the instrumental perfectly too. I think she paints a pretty cool picture of mental illness on this song. This track in particular is teeming with influence from Danny Brown‘s Atrocity Exhibition.
I should have left a note
'Cause if life is what you make of it, I'm going for the do or die approach
I just took some fireball with some shit that I don’t know
Should have took some Tylenol and maybe supersized it all
Maybe then I would feel something
Look in the mirror, it’s telling me I should kill something
So in the midst, how I can’t handle how I'm feeling
Try to jump, but I always land by hanging from a ceiling
I like the way this song is structured. It’s just one really cool verse with no hook or bridge or anything like that. The dark, fucked up lyrics had me hooked. For whatever reason this song actually reminded me of K-Beta & DJ J-Scrilla‘s Sacrifice. I just think it’s kinda similar because they both occur right at the start of their respective albums, and they’re both very suicidal songs. Also, this is just a coincidence, but they both end with the artist saying “so fuck it!” which I think is pretty cool, but I digress. The song is dope as hell. The next track that I like is called TERROR PACKETS. Once again, the production is still very dark, but just with less of an in-your-face approach. I fuck with it. The first verse is performed by someone named Censored Dialogue, with whom I was not familiar prior to listening. The verse has some pretty depressing lyricism about her parents not accepting her true identity as a woman. I love the way the verse ends too. That “I AM JUST DICK TO THESE HOES” line is catchy as fuck, and I feel like it’s unironically really deep just because of who it’s coming from.
Until the government says that I’m not
I'm just a dick to these hoes
To me it’s about people only viewing her as someone with a dick rather than as a woman, even though you can be a woman and still have a dick. I don’t know what I’m talking about right now. I probably sound like an idiot. I’m pretty sure that line isn’t just about fucking hoes though. Anyway, the hook from Backxwash in which she kinda screams each bar actually reminded me of OG Maco a little bit. It made me think of that song Allaus by him and Trinidad James. It’s really dope. Her verse is fire too. She continued with the themes of drug abuse and anguish. I like how she had that two syllable pattern going for the first few bars of the verse. I have to say her aggressive delivery sounds really good too. Her flow isn’t super intricate or anything, but the aggressive and passionate delivery is enough to keep me hooked. She killed it. The song is really dope. However, the following track, IN THY HOLY NAME, is even better in my opinion. It’s one of the best songs on the album to me. I love how fiery the production here is, and Backxwash fucking killed that first verse. I fucking love this line…
Rest in peace to the bitchmade
As the reaper slit hits with the scythe and a switchblade
I’m getting the lyrics from Genius, so they may be wrong, but whatever she said sounded fire. I love it. That shit is hard. Rest in peace to the bitchmade. That’s fire. Rhyming bitchmade with switchblade is genius. The verse is fire. Her flow is really catchy. The hook is nothing special to be honest, but the verses are just so good that I can’t help but love the song. The clip of the insane homophobic preacher was a really cool addition too. I even appreciated the noise on the outro from Lauren Bousfield. The song is dope as hell. The following track was really exciting for me because it’s produced by clipping. I think the beat is pretty cool, and they did a good job of adhering to the soundscape that Backxwash is aiming for with this album. It doesn’t really sound out of place amongst the other beats on this album that are mostly done by Backxwash herself. The song has a pretty scant structure, but I honestly don’t mind that much because it’s so well done. The nightmarish lyricism is really vivid, and I think Backxwash’s delivery is really cool.
Feel the pump on my chest, under distress
I feel my lungs are infected
Spit up on my dress, I look possessed
I feel no pulse in my legs
You can tell I regret it, hatе every second
I feel his tug on my nеcklace
Blood in this second, end of the temptress
Looks like she fell for his methods
I may be wrong, but I interpreted the outro as the voice of god because it seemed like it was meant to highlight just how nefarious humans’ submission to a higher power can be.
My only job is to remind you how insignificant you are to me
Whatever you feel does not matter to me
Not your innocence or anything you keep dear to you
Your only purpose is to obey
This track wasn’t really that great to me on my first listen of the album, but I’ve come to appreciate it a bit more after repeat listens. The writing is too cool for me not to fuck with it. I think it’s a pretty good track. It’s followed by SONG OF SINNERS, which is a major highlight for me. It has one of the coolest beats on the album in my opinion. The opening verse from Backxwash is once again very dark and tortured. I think the religious themes here are really cool.
I see glory in conversion I feel morbid as it worsens I see horror in this person But he told me there is purpose Should we open these old verses Read the story of the Earth? I am holed up in this church With these apocalyptic sermons And I ain’t gon drink the kool-aid 'Cause it’s over if it works But I hate my life I’ll swallow it and gobble it, so perfect
Sad13 also delivers what I find to be easily the best hook on the album. Her vocals are amazing here. She sounds like a witch. It’s awesome. The guitar from Ada Rook sounds really good too. The song is dope af. It’s followed by another highlight for me called 666 IN LUXAXA. The incorporation of what I assume are spiritual chants native to Backxwash’s culture is really fucking cool. It’s one of the coolest moments on the whole album to me. The verse that Backxwash spits over it is really dope too. Her flow was great, and I’ll always appreciate a diss to Justin Trudeau. I will say that I’m more impressed by the production on this song than by the rapping, but that doesn’t make the song any less entertaining. It’s dope as hell. The penultimate song is entitled NINE HELLS, and it’s produced by NOWHERE2RUN. I think the electric guitar in this beat sounds awesome, and this track has a really cool hook in my opinion. It has some really cool imagery.
I can play basketball with the moon, got the world at my feet
The song seems to be about the effects that come with heavy drug abuse. I think the writing is really cool.
One day it’s over, realize that you’re lonely
Sobered up with no homies, and now you’re stuck on your only
Kinda rough, your memory fuzzing up from the molly
Life is dumb, your enemies huddle up in a slow creep
Both of the verses on this track are really cool, and the outro is nice and hard-hitting. The song is dope. The final song is another highlight entitled BURN TO ASHES. I love how loud and hard-hitting the production is on this track, and the first verse is fire. The themes of mental illness, spirituality, and drug abuse are really cool, and relatable to an extent.
Life is so fucked when you end up depressed
Auntie said “Nah, it is all in your head
Boy, are these demons? You needin’ a prayer”
How do I cast out the evil in there?
I love this line in the hook too…
I be fighting all these demons, but I’m losing
I’m a target in the view and there’s nothing I can do
I just feel like this is a really relatable line if you’re taking the word “demon” as a metaphor for mental illness. The second verse is even better than the first one. I feel like it’s one of the best verses on the project. It seemed more personal than most of the others, which I appreciated. The song is dope af. Believe it or not, the only song on this album that I don’t really care for is the title track. I don’t think it’s a bad track at all though. It’s just not something that I’d listen to again personally because the hook from Ada Rook isn’t my style at all. Screamed vocals like that just simply aren’t entertaining for me. I’m not into that sound. My aversion to it really just comes down to personal taste; I’m sure people who are into Screamo and heavier sounds like that will appreciate it more than I do. I do think the song is decent even though I won’t be returning to it. The beat is really hard, and the verses from Backxwash are great.
On the bed I'm moping with a head of horns
And the red in clothing in the den of swords
With the stake impaled, as Satan sells me
On the perfect hell and he says it well
I feel like this is the darkest song on the album, which is saying a lot. It’s not a bad song at all. It’s just not my cup of tea personally.
This album is pretty great. Honestly, I liked it just a tad bit less than Backxwash’s 2020 album on my first listen, but after giving it some time I think it’s a step up in a lot of ways. It’s much more ambitious sonically. The songs sound huge. The beats are really grandiose. This shit is way darker and more fucked up than her last album too. In fact, this will probably go down as the darkest album I hear in 2021. It’s certainly a memorable listen just because it’s so different from a traditional Hip Hop album. One thing I appreciate is that the song structures throughout this album are way more fleshed out than a lot of what appeared on her 2020 album. I feel like she stepped things up in the songwriting department. I don’t really have any consistent gripes with the album as a whole. This shit is dope. Check it out.
Favorite Song: SONG OF SINNERS
Least Favorite Song: I LIE HERE BURIED WITH MY RINGS & MY DRESSES
Watch the video below for more thoughts on this album.