"Speaking Gently" by BADBADNOTGOOD

A bridge between two worlds
There are very, very few artists who are able to make a living on releasing hip-hop instrumentals. It simply doesn’t seem feasible, does it? BADBADNOTGOOD, the Toronto trio-turned-quartet, has become one of the only groups to be able to do so, not by luck, but because they have taken the routine, repetitive nature of hip hop instrumentals and turned the formula on its head. Hip-hop has its roots deeply planted in jazz, and BADBADNOTGOOD has taken us back to the source of hip-hop, while still retaining a modern sound that is relevant to the genre today. “Speaking Gently,” the first single from the band’s fourth studio album IV, which leans more towards jazz and less towards hip-hop than some of their previous work, showcases the perfect blend of jazz and hip-hop that they are able to seemingly effortlessly create. A relatively dark and energetic track, “Speaking Gently” features urgent, repeating synths over kick and snare heavy percussion, but will then surprise you with lilting flute patterns in the background. 
The percussion, the heartbeat of any hip-hop instrumental, is impressively varied throughout the song, going from classic, simple hip-hop beats, to wild, crashing rock solos, to light jazz patterns, driving the music in a new direction each time it changes. Near the end, he track’s jazz foundations really come to light with a freeform saxophone solo, backed by fat, bouncing bass lines. A true step forward in the evolution of both jazz and hip-hop music, BADBADNOTGOOD are able to modernize once genre and bring the other back to its core in one fell swoop.