Anime and hip-hop have always one way or another had ties to each other. Backwood Brad does an excellent job merging these two worlds together with his latest album “Mary”. I’m not super familiar with the anime world, so I love the fact that I had to do some extensive research to ensure that I understood some of the verbiage used in the music. I’m always excited to review hip-hop albums that have a vivid concept. Sadly that’s become a rarity nowadays, as many artists just babble and jump from subject to subject all through their project. I love complex hip-hop that forces me to listen and think beyond the surface. The detail in the artwork was already a key indicator that while listening, I’ll be indulging in a true audio adventure.
“Pray for the best prepare for the go wrong/this sayan art here for the Gohans…GOAT talk”
Backwood Brad- “Cowboy Bebop”
Backwood Brad “Mary (Deluxe)” | Rap Nerd Review
While checking out the album, I quickly noticed that the Bandcamp version has 9 tracks, as opposed to the Deluxe version which contains 4 additional songs. After hearing both, I completely understand why Backwood Brad decided to extend the project. It’s been proven countless times in hip-hop that the best art is made when artists lock in with one producer. Huge shout out to Emilio Myles, for helping craft this underground gem. Sometimes, super lyrical rappers tend to have dull production, but Emilio’s beats are very modern sounding while still sounding like something that golden-era hip-hop purists can vibe to as well. “Mary” is clearly and cleverly themed after the anime One Piece, as explained in the first track “The Message”. One Piece is about a young adventurer named Luffy who sets sail to become king of the pirates. The theme of the anime, and this album, seems to be that no matter how little you start with, there’s nothing you can’t achieve. Every long journey starts with just a single step. On the way to greatness you may also suffer some great losses, but no matter what you must push forward. Staying ahead of the game is very important, as Brad raps about on one of my favorites “Born Ready”. I love the compound syllable flow on that one, especially the second verse! Other favorites of mine are “Luffy Flow” “Cowboy Bebop”, and the catchy inspirational track “Way Up”. I think that one could be a radio smash! Just like the character Luffy, Brad lost his right-hand man, hence the beautiful dedication to him on the track “Ace’s Song”. The Deluxe version of the album has a total run time of just over 37 minutes, which is great because the project is easily digestible and not overwhelming. “Mary” has great replay value because it contains many lyrical gems that’ll force you to listen more than once.
“You running with crooks I’m running with thieves, run me the jewels credit my greed, swiping ya left the tender we need/ Me and the crew we follow a creed follow the son I’m CP3 hit CP9 like CTE we help the people, EBT”
Backwood Brad- “I will be King”
In conclusion, I really enjoyed the project! The lyrics and flow are ginsu sharp, the production is fire, and the concept is dope. The only flaw in my opinion is the similar song structure for most of the tracks. The format seems to be usually be Hook, 16, Hook, 16, Hook. I’d love to hear Backwood Brad experiment with different song structures. Other than that I have no complaints. This is underground hip-hop at its finest, and something anime fans all over the world will admire. #RapNerdApproved
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Rap Nerd Rating (4 out of 5)
released May 5, 2023
Producer (beat maker) Emilio Myles
Mixed and Mastered x Emilio Myles
Art & Tracklist x Ceaser Beavers
written by Derek “Rap Nerd” Moore
Rap Nerd LLC