Backwoodz Studioz has had a heck of a 2020. Obviously, the flagship act is Armand Hammer-Shrines which captured the national conversation as Clippers-fan-not-Lakers-fan option against Run The Jewels 4. To have another group album of the year, ShrapKnel, to put alongside that release is stupendous(I know it came out first, RELAX). If you came to Backwoodz for more music like Armand Hammer your not going to be disappointed. Of the thirteen songs ten were produced by Elucid and Billy Woods lays a monster verse on Estranged Fruit (Produced by Willie Green).
Beyond the dense lyricism and sports references another defining Backwoodz characteristic is lively production that challenges the speaking voice. ShrapKnel provides that immediately with one of the years best first songs, Ghostface Targaryean, which ripples waves of sound as Curly Castro growls fun ish like “Timecop like Van Damme but time waits for no man!” Castro kicks off a lot of the tracks because he has a boldness in his flow that was born to lead, open, and invite the audience in. He has real depth but he’s just fun to be around, let me give two examples:
Curly Castro on ’86 to ’96- “You could get ya head CRACKED playing Sonic or Tron! “
Curly Castro on Red Herring- “Caught a snow bunny, what she do for that Klondike?!”
The other half of ShrapKnel is PremRock who while very like-minded shades a stylistic contrast. He has a super smooth Post-Aesop Rock flow that tricks ears by sneaking wordplay it may take you a few seconds to catch up to. My favorite PremRock line on ShrapKnel is on my favorite song on it:
PremRock on ’86 to ’96- “More Iron Mike than Neil Degrasse” He never says Tyson he makes you think it. Couple more dope Prem moments:
PremRock on Red Herring- “White lines on a black mirror, whatever keeps the sky intact.”
PremRock on Tempest-“Bring drama like Tim Curry in a rock opera, never catch me alive like a Chupa Kabra”
When Armand Hammer dropped I back to backed it with ShrapKnel. After the session was finished I looked down at my phone in surprise and said “This is almost as good as Shrines?!” That might sound like shade but it’s not. Backwoodz needs an album to be 1988 Joe Dumars to Armand Hammer’s Isiah Thomas. ShrapKnel can score and move the rock almost as well and lock their man down on the other end. The Wrecking Crew are the greater unit these two fit into with Zilla Rocca and a gaggle of others. They podcast, release projects and plant their flags for the culture. It’s a brotherhood that I am confident you will be excited to join the ranks of as an audience member.
Stream or purchase ShrapKnel below: