*Originally posted on my Year End Best List*
I immediately was blown away by this album and surprised a newcomer with such a small following crafted a stellar album, but it was only with repeated listens that “God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It” by Backxwash that I fell so incredibly in love with this record, to the point that I put it above many of my all time favorite artists. It’s not hard to see why music journalists, critics, awards voters, and music listeners from across the entirety of music scene are praising this record - in just a little over twenty minutes this album packs in so many admirable qualities.
Using samples from across the music landscape - Black Sabbath, gospel choirs, Led Zeppelin, Angela Nyirenda, Patti Smith, even a David Lynch film to name a few examples - and and flipping them to make something new and transformative, Backxwash creates an experimental hip-hop sound that invoke punk, horrorcore, rap, goth, trap, industrial, and metal. These beats are hard and aggressive as fuck, perfectly matched with her expressive voice that can go from empty and despondent to screaming her fucking brains out. Backxwash has always made music that a little bit of a spookier sound, but on “God Has Nothing...”, it sounds practically likely the score for a vintage horror movie (but, like, with drums that knock).
Further adding to the haunting atmosphere, Backxwash will use imagery of the occult, witchcraft, demons, and other spiritual and religious concepts to explore a variety of ideas, many of which relating back to her experience as a black transwoman one way or the other. We see her dealing through a collage of different things in the album’s semi narrative, like anger towards people who have or wish to hurt her on the title track, using vices as a way to cope on “Black Magic”, the complex emotions of being in a broken family on “Black Sheep” and “Adolescence”, being paranoid about your safety as a trans person of color on “Into The Void”, and eventually ending with a middle finger to her oppressors and standing tall for who she is on “Redemption”, a short but powerful closer.
Now I do not share all of Bacxkwash’s experiences, we come from fairly different backgrounds, but as a transwoman myself I can tell you how great for the trans community an artist like Backxwash seeing success is. Trans people aren’t often represented in the music world and the few that do find success are typically filtered through one narrative, so seeing Backxwash find success making music that’s unorthodox and talks bluntly and honestly about her experience, one that I think many trans people can relate to and find a lot of similarities, proves just how important of an artist she is.
“God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It” will pull you in with its haunting and ferocious instrumentals, but you’ll end up staying for the gritty but uplifting narrative that is Backxwash’s truth.