Bully Goat’s production is loose, low-slung. He lets his sounds slip and slide against each other, as skittering and scattershot percussion pile up on locked-in bass-driven grooves, embellished by shimmering keys and jangling guitars. Combined with a predilection for both crooned verses and hard-nosed rapped lines, and backed by crescendos of stacked soulful harmonies, it lends the record a classic feel. It’s warm, rich, and playful. Which is not to say there is no bite, melancholy or darkness here. There’s plenty of that burning in the underbelly of “4 Hood”, the brand new 20-song album by Bully Goat.
Bully Goat is an eclectic do-it-yourself crossover artist, who dabbles in R&B, hip-hop and a multitude of over stylistic flavors. He does everything himself, including making his own videos, and collaborates with several established artists worldwide. Melodically ambitious and emotionally evocative, Bully Goat matches his flows to his feelings, while dealing out anecdotes, memories, experiences and aspirations across the album.
Bully Goat finds his perfect groove over mellow slow-burning production, which is exactly what he delivers on the sparkling opening track “Full Circle”. Here he takes his voice through a number of soulful transitions, giving us a clear picture of his versatility. This immediately slides into the impressive downtempo cut “Cinderella” ft. Nomaly, and then the Caribbean influenced “Billie” ft. Billionaire Black, which unfolds some edgy raps.
The jangling guitars launch the mid-tempo, new wave sound of “More Love” ft. King Myers, before morphing into the groove-driven bounce of “Gangster Love”, and then the poignant balladry of “Alone”.
Some of the best moments of the album are when Bully Goat experiments with communicating his stream of consciousness, as happens on “Winter Mayhem” ft. Sainttripp, and when he flips the template to those quietly soaring moments like “Mine” and “Sinful Life”.
In an era where artists hype up projects that turn out to be nothing but half-baked playlists, Bully Goat’s thoughtful embrace of the album format is refreshing. He turns up the intensity level on the abrasive “Bully What’s Up?”, and then pulls up hypnotic melodies on “Mansion” ft. Chris Coke & J Wess, and “2Nite” ft. Foreign Dutch & K.Brock, both of which are infused with sharply rapped verses.
In addition to creating effective soundscapes, Bully Goat proves himself to be a capable orchestrator of his vocal talent, which morphs into a number moods. What’s particularly noteworthy about the intersection of the vocals and the production is how easily it defies genre trappings.
Modern hip-hop music and R&B are virtually indistinguishable these days, but Bully Goat does it almost better than most- He perfectly lends that dexterity to the lustful tracks “Friend Tonight”, “Use You”, and the booming “Better Yet” ft. Eric 6ray. Having said that, it is also with atmosphere and lyrics that this project solidifies itself as a worthwhile listen, and pleasant surprise.
Listen to how the storytelling and sonic aura unfolds on “Thousand Air” ft. T.Y.G and the very different “Cool Whip” ft. Solo Lucci. On top of that, Bully Goat’s vocals continue to impress.
His raspy, yet smooth voice bounces so well on “Friday” ft. T.Y.G., and melts into echoing heartfelt sultriness on “Bloody Mary” ft. Pappi Wolff, before closing the recording with the head-nodding “Blue Love”. In short, fans will be delighted with this album. It has everything you could want from a project this epic.
In many ways, Bully Goat is creating better music than many of his crossover counterparts. He sounds more polished and more comfortable in his versatility. Despite the multitude of styles and voices employed, “4 Hood” flows effortlessly and majestically.