BACKXWASH – God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It (Grimalkin Records)

BACKXWASH – God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It (Grimalkin Records)

God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It is the debut album of Zambian rapper BACKXWASH. It’s a raw and aggressive, mostly self-produced album with a level of honesty that is commendable and a showcase of skill that sets the bar high. The title track and the first on the album is a brutal, unforgiving look at poor mental health and thoughts of suicide. It’s a strong opener that sets the stage perfectly for what’s to come, an unrelenting look at some of society’s ugliest attitudes.

The next track ‘Black Magic’ has a suffocating and aggressive aura that gets darker and darker as the track goes on. It has a very simple but effective production that relies on repetitive sections, it feels both stripped back and somehow thick and full. The production allows us to focus on the vocal which is raw, powerful, and full of anger. It’s hard not to listen to this track and feel what BACKXWASH feels through the transference of the lyrics. The third track on the album ‘Spells’ picks up the pace with an upbeat, trap-inspired vibe that initially reminded me of old-school Wyclef Jean mixed with a modern sensibility. The subject matter remains dark but the tone of the track gives us a modicum of breathing space before launching deep into the next song.

‘Black Sheep’ is a high energy, classic hip-hop track which showcases BACKXWASH’s incredibly tight flow and rhyming prowess that could stand up there with some of Rap’s legends. There is a use of sampling in this track that reminded me of The Fugees (pre ‘The Score’) which gives it a primeval feeling.

‘Into The Void’ is an introspective exploration of the fear queer people often feel in public spaces where they are not welcome. It’s a tough subject to broach but it affects many of us and this one spoke to me on a personal level. It’s a deep dive into a trauma that was being worked through from the very first track and it solidifies this album as a truly progressive and important piece of queer culture, it may only speak of one person’s experience but this is a feeling shared by a community.

As the album continues, it’s evident that this is one cohesive piece of work. It should be listened to from start to finish like chapters in a book.  The songs continue to flow from one to the other, fitting together as one intricate puzzle. The whole project feels like a therapy session, a reverse-religious exorcism of the worst parts of BACKXWASH’s trauma, laid bare for us all to see. It’s not an easy listen but the album is powerful and deserves your time.

Fans of old-school rap music will find a lot to love here, a lot of skill on show and from a perspective that we seldom see in rap music. The album closes with ‘Redemption’ and completely flips everything on its head, it’s a hopeful look at their future and a positive end to a journey that was always about self-acceptance and letting go of the trauma we accrued along the way. The lyrics are an exercise in catharsis and it feels like a weight has been lifted after 9 trauma-heavy tracks.  “Wish I started sooner. Fuck the hallelujahs/ Fuck these fucking boomers, Fuck these fucking losers/Fuck these motherfucking fuckers in their fucking two trucks/ Fuck these fuck abusers and fuck these fucking rumors.”

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