If trials and tribulations counted towards records sales and musical accolades, St. Paul Minnesota-born artist, Bully Goat, would be a multi-platinum seller and a Grammy award-winning artist, without having to perform one single note of music. At the age of 13 he survived brain surgery after being flung through a windshield in a car accident. A year later he was hit by truck while riding a motorcycle, and once again survived physical therapy after being hospitalized. On the Fourth of July, at age 15 Bully Goat was shot several times in broad daylight. Turning to music, he started to make an impression in his circles and subsequently landed on a collective mixtape with various artists from his area, with the intent to move to the next level. But trouble was not far away…
Bully Goat was indicted by the FBI in a large country wide conspiracy indictment concerning one of the biggest gang and drug trafficking organizations that Minnesota has seen in decades. Bully Goat spent years behind bars and was shipped around the country to the Federal Bureau of prisons.
Now nearly 16 years later the artist has educated himself and found spirituality to turn his destiny around. He now lives in Phoenix Arizona, from where he not only takes care of his own career, but manages other artists and ghost writes, via his independent record label Sak Religious Records.
Bully Goat’s most impacting step forward, promises to be his 20 track debut album “Moon Walk”. It contains just on one full hour of deliciously modern sounds, vivid storytelling, emotional atmospheres and captivating vocals.
Right from the get-go, the album feels like a concerted effort to distinguish Bully Goat from the pack by showing off all the skills in his toolbox. The mix of soul, R&B, rap, trap and alternative influences offered here is daring, and the songwriting oscillates smartly between the intimately personal and the universally relatable.
As you move through the impactful triad of “Shorty Lit Now” ft. Isaids0, “Gravity” and “Full Moon”, you quickly get the impression that Bully Goat is a world-class singer-songwriter who deserves to be at the center of the industry conversation, especially when you factor in raw talent and paid dues.
“Damn Right” ft. Filthy $tyles, “Dark Side of the Moon”, and “No Old Friends” continues to let the craft do the talking. Taken on pure face value, it sounds like the music delivers undercurrents of emotional escape in dark times, but the themes vary and are leagues more slippery, as Bully Goat lets his mindset guide him through each narrative that tackles the many facts of his daily grind.
“No Old Friends” ft. Isaids0 set limber, impassioned vocal runs to a moody backdrop. “Come and Go” ft. Lizah is edgy rap delivered with an abrasive aggression before the melodicism set in, flipping the switch back and forth. Moving forward, the standouts are almost endless.
Both “Honey Moon” and “Daughter” leave lasting impressions, with Bully Goat in fine vocal form. “Tints Up” ft. Plenny brings an electro twist, while “Started Thinking” and “Last Time”, both featuring Mood Morell are effortless hip-hop/R&B mind melds, from an artist who is sailing smoothly across his debut album.
Whether he’s nailing sultry melodic lines, or dropping hard bars, Bully Goat’s soaring, reassuring voice is impressive, and the success in getting so many different sounds to jell, is his winning trademark. From “Lies” to “No Bae”, and “Mollywood” to “Man on the Moon”, the eclectic artist never lets up, driving each song with the same passion and high quality production elements.
Closing with “No Fuck Sense” and “Icon”, this album proves to be such a rich listen; nearly every hook, from the low-in-the-gut basslines to the winding choruses, is supported by an intricate web of layered vocals, shimmering keys, skittering hi-hats, and other quirky sonic details.
More than anything else, “Moon Walk” shows that, artistically, Bully Goat is exactly where he needs to be. And after all the trials and tribulations suffered, who knows if those previously mentioned multi-platinum sales and Grammy awards won’t be coming his way, up along the road ahead, anyway. God works in mysterious ways they say!