Reviews

Backxwash
HIS HAPPINESS SHALL COME FIRST EVEN THOUGH WE ARE SUFFERING!

(Self-released)

9/10

Ghouls and goblins are not the only things going bump in the night this All Hallows’ Eve. Behold the carnivorous presence of Zambian-Canadian rapper, Backxwash, who is back with thirstier murderous intent on her new album, HIS HAPPINESS SHALL COME FIRST EVEN THOUGH WE ARE SUFFERING! 

As the final instalment of a three-part series that digs into the intersection of queerness, faith and mental illness, HIS HAPPINESS… sees the emcee bring the heavy like a lobotomy. Wielding her unbending flow like an orbitoclast and her fury like a hammer, Backxwash compels listeners to bear the sharp thrust of her pointed words and the traumatic experiences that continue to yield such darkness.

HIS HAPPINESS… was born of a world of abuse and oppression. While not the same kind of personal, diaristic bullet to the head as her first two records, HIS HAPPINESS… commentates on the same themes of transmisogyny, racism and religious abuse with equally startling candor. Whether she’s tearing into rigidity and judgmentalism of religious institutions on tracks like ‘VIBANDA’ and ‘MULUNGU’ or slicing into the complexities of identity on ‘JUJU’, Backxwash grasps these topics with a restless emotional precision and thoughtfulness seldom experienced with an album this extreme in spirit. But as HIS HAPPINESS… unwinds with distressing potency and unyielding honesty, Backxwash only drives deeper pain to the brain.

Once again, industrial rock and trap metal are Backxwash’s canvases of choice. But this time, a far more concentrated sense of wrath burns deeper within Backxwash, rendering her music a shade darker and bleaker. In fact, with more pronounced fury and possession barreling from her chest about condemnation and eternal judgment over noise rock arrangements, hell has never felt more real in Backxwash’s music. It’s as if every moment was constructed with fire and finality in mind. 

HIS HAPPINESS… may not be the experimental overhaul many expected from an artist constantly breaking new ground to reach the underworld beneath, but it is a refinement of a style so uniquely and ferociously her own. She’s no longer one who borrows and honours the behemoths of rap, industrial, metal, and adjacent realms in between, but a singular voice and wellspring of influence for others to draw from.

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