Never heard of THE BASTERDS? Fair enough, I hadn’t either. But trust me, hear their EP “Bad Motherfuckers” once, and it’ll never stray far from your media player. The New Zealand based duo is made up of rapper and producer Jordan Hopa, and his brother Joe Delays. Their setup is a simple one – battle-hardened sounding raps and slamming beats, with lyrics that pays homage to film, television, music and all artistic geniuses. It celebrates all the legends that have inspired them. The whole thing is accessible. It’s not commercial at heart, but the duo is slick enough to persuade even occasional hip-hoppers to further investigate their projects.
All these things said, THE BASTERDS are at the peak of their lyrical abilities on this record with some of the finest lyrical prose seen throughout the entire new wave hip-hop scene in quite some time; with the flows remaining consistent throughout the record’s running time, it could be argued that the record is far more focused on the lyricism than on the production, as the duo’s lines are filled with strong imagery, wordplay, and wit. But that’s not the case at all.
The banging beats are perfectly curated and not too overstuffed with sounds and effects, concentrating more on the rhythmic drive needed to propel the rapping over the top. Having said that, there are many sonic embellishments going, they just don’t get in the way of the rhyming, which is the real essence of hip-hop…well at least until mumble rap came along. The “Bad Motherfuckers” EP is a rapper’s rap record.
The EP kicks off with “Da Blaze”, which is built on a throbbing beat and an aggressive throaty delivery. The overall aura of the soundscape is very reminiscent of a blend between horrorcore rapping and an industrial beat. The space-laced soundboard is also peppered with ululations and adlibs, which add more echoing dynamism to the track. It’s a captivating and convivial archetype for THE BASTERDS’ tandem work.
The title track, “Bad Motherfuckers” hits even harder, while the thesaurus flows fill every ensnaring moment on top of the rumbling 808’s. It finds Jordan Hopa and Joe Delays firing on all cylinders, as they open themselves up to the scrutiny of their independent peers and succeed with compelling verve. As a dynamic duo THE BASTERDS excel at making each other better with innovative beats and rhymes that vary from rapid-fire to reserved, and rapacious.
The final track, “Mayo”, is the perfect convergence of bumping styles, attacking the listener’s jugular with a powerful lyrical thrust, cynical observations, and an out-and-out assault on modern hip-hop’s standards. The flow here is just amazing, it’s fast on the occasion, but you can easily understand what is being said. The rhyming expertise will have your head spinning in exhilaration.
Overall the “Bad Motherfuckers” EP is thought provoking, interesting, intelligent, gritty, humorous, and just so…listenable. In a music genre that is completely saturated and focused on hyped-up, oddball characters with no talent or ingenuity, THE BASTERDS may never get the attention they deserve. But again, they have enough intelligence and aptitude, to probably not even care.