BADBADNOTGOOD (BBNG): Band Profile and Complete Discography


BADBADNOTGOOD, a Toronto-based ensemble, emerges as a revolutionary force blending the realms of jazz and hip-hop with an inventive flair that defies conventional boundaries.

Lauded for their genre-defying soundscape, BBNG has captivated audiences worldwide, melding the intricate artistry of jazz with the visceral energy of hip-hop, earning them a distinct place in the contemporary music landscape.

A Fusion of Jazz Virtuosity and Hip-Hop Ingenuity

Founded in 2010 by Chester Hansen, Matthew Tavares, and Alexander Sowinski, and later joined by Leland Whitty, BADBADNOTGOOD has carved a niche for themselves, crafting a sound that’s both avant-garde and accessible.

Their journey began in the halls of Humber College’s jazz program, where a shared passion for hip-hop icons like MF Doom and Odd Future sparked a creative synergy that would define their musical trajectory.

The Evolution of Sound: From Mixtapes to Masterpieces

BBNG’s early days were marked by audacious reinterpretations of hip-hop anthems and jazz standards, culminating in their debut album, BBNG, and the follow-up, BBNG2.

These works showcased their ability to straddle genres, blending covers of Kanye West, James Blake, and Earl Sweatshirt with original compositions that highlighted their technical prowess and innovative spirit.

Their collaborations with Tyler, The Creator, and subsequent viral success, catapulted them into the spotlight, setting the stage for a series of groundbreaking albums that would further solidify their reputation.

Breaking Boundaries: III, Sour Soul, and Beyond

With the release of III and the collaborative marvel Sour Soul with Ghostface Killah, BADBADNOTGOOD ventured into uncharted territories, delivering a sound that was at once nostalgic and forward-thinking.

Their fifth studio album, IV, marked a significant milestone, featuring collaborations with notable artists like Samuel T. Herring and Charlotte Day Wilson, and earning critical acclaim for its eclectic mix and sonic depth.

The Stage and the Studio: A Dynamic Presence

BADBADNOTGOOD’s live performances are a testament to their dynamism and versatility, captivating audiences worldwide from Coachella to the prestigious Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2019 Collection runway show.

Their prowess as musicians is matched by their skill as producers, working with a diverse array of artists and contributing to landmark albums like Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. and Black Panther: The Album.

Talk Memory: A New Chapter

badbadnotgood talk memory album cover

The announcement of Talk Memory in 2021 marked the beginning of a new era for BADBADNOTGOOD, showcasing their growth as artists and their continued evolution.

The album, celebrated for its intricate compositions and collaborative spirit, represents a reflection on their journey, a homage to their influences, and a look forward to the future of music.

A Legacy of Innovation and Influence

BADBADNOTGOOD stands as a beacon of creativity and collaboration, pushing the boundaries of what jazz and hip-hop can be.

Their ability to blend complex jazz arrangements with the raw energy of hip-hop has not only earned them critical acclaim but also positioned them as pioneers of a new musical movement.

With each release, they challenge perceptions, invite exploration, and continue to shape the future of music.


Turnstile x BADBADNOTGOOD – New Heart Designs EP (2023)

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turnstile badbadnotgood new heart designs ep album cover

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Label: Roadrunner

The New Heart Designs EP presents a unique collaboration between hardcore punk band Turnstile and jazz-infused hip-hop group BADBADNOTGOOD. This project reimagines three tracks from Turnstile’s 2021 album Glow On: “Mystery,” “Alien Love Call,” and “Underwater Boi,” offering a fresh perspective that merges the distinct energies and styles of both bands.

A Deep Dive into Reimagined Tracks

  • “Mystery” gets a new layer of complexity with BADBADNOTGOOD’s intricate jazz harmonies, transforming the track’s hardcore foundation into a richer, more textured soundscape.
  • “Alien Love Call” sees an enhancement of its dreamy, ethereal qualities through subtle jazz inflections and improvisations, highlighting the track’s underlying emotional depth.
  • “Underwater Boi” evolves into a more immersive experience, with the fusion of genres creating a lush, atmospheric sound that complements the original’s introspective vibe.

The Significance of Collaboration

This EP marks a significant moment in the exploration of genre fusion, showcasing how punk and jazz/hip-hop can coalesce to expand the boundaries of contemporary music. It highlights the bands’ willingness to experiment and challenge the conventions of their respective genres.

The Creative Process and Outcome

Recorded as a direct response to the mutual admiration between the two groups, New Heart Designs is a testament to the creative possibilities that arise from collaboration. This project not only broadens the sonic palette of each band but also offers fans a new way to experience the tracks from Glow On.


New Heart Designs is more than just a reimagining of songs; it’s a groundbreaking exploration of musical innovation and collaboration. Through this EP, Turnstile and BADBADNOTGOOD demonstrate the transformative power of combining diverse musical genres, setting a precedent for future collaborations in the music industry.

BADBADNOTGOOD – Talk Memory (2021)

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badbadnotgood talk memory album cover

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Label: XL x Innovative Leisure

Talk Memory, the fifth studio album by BADBADNOTGOOD, represents a momentous chapter in the band’s evolution.

Released on October 8, 2021, by XL Recordings and Innovative Leisure, this album marks a significant shift towards a more improvisational and collaborative approach to music-making.

After a five-year hiatus since their last original work, IV, Talk Memory is imbued with the spirit of renewal and exploration.

Background: A New Era Begins

Following the departure of founding keyboardist Matthew Tavares in 2019, Talk Memory stands as the band’s first project without his contribution, signifying a new era for BADBADNOTGOOD.

This period of transition allowed the remaining members to redefine their musical direction, leading to a creative resurgence that is vividly captured in this album.

It is a testament to the band’s resilience and adaptability, showcasing their ability to evolve and thrive amidst change.

A Symphony of Collaborations

What sets Talk Memory apart is its rich tapestry of collaborations, weaving together the talents of American instrumentalists such as Laraaji, Karriem Riggins, Terrace Martin, and Brandee Younger, with string arrangements by Brazilian composer Arthur Verocai.

This amalgamation of diverse musical influences culminates in a sound that is both expansive and deeply intimate, reflecting the band’s journey towards a more open and improvisational style.

Critics’ Acclaim: The Heart of Talk Memory

The critical response to Talk Memory has been overwhelmingly positive, with reviewers highlighting its innovative approach to music-making.

Dean Van Nguyen, writing for Pitchfork, commended the album for its inventive take on traditional music forms, emphasizing its sumptuous execution and subtly mind-altering rhythms.

This blend of the familiar with the novel has been a key factor in the album’s success, demonstrating BADBADNOTGOOD’s unique ability to redefine genres.

Accolades and Acknowledgments

Talk Memory has not only captured the imagination of critics but has also been recognized in various year-end lists, a testament to its impact and influence:

  • Wired listed it as one of the Albums of the Year for 2021, placing it impressively at number 4, underscoring the album’s broad appeal and its resonance with both the tech-savvy and music enthusiasts.
  • Clash acknowledged the album’s significance by including it in their Albums of the Year for 2021, ranking it at 48. This placement highlights the album’s artistic merit and its place within the wider music landscape.
  • Okayplayer celebrated the album’s contribution to the year’s musical offerings by ranking it 19th in their Albums of the Year for 2021, a nod to the album’s strong influence in the realm of jazz and beyond.
  • Allmusic, while not assigning a specific rank, also recognized Talk Memory in its Albums of the Year for 2021, further cementing the album’s status as a pivotal work in BADBADNOTGOOD’s discography.

Conclusion: A Landmark in Musical Innovation

Talk Memory stands as a monumental achievement for BADBADNOTGOOD, reflecting the band’s deep introspection and boundless creativity.

Through this work, BADBADNOTGOOD continues to push the boundaries of musical exploration, cementing their legacy as innovators and trailblazers in the ever-evolving landscape of contemporary music.


Buy: Vinyl

badbadnotgood bbng iv album cover

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Label: Innovative Leisure

IV, the fourth studio album by BADBADNOTGOOD, stands as a pivotal work in the band’s discography.

Released on July 8, 2016, IV broke new ground by seamlessly blending jazz, hip hop, and electronic music, heralding a new direction in the band’s creative journey.

Background and Evolution

Featuring collaborations with an array of artists such as Future Islands’ Sam Herring, saxophonist Colin Stetson, Haitian-Canadian musician Kaytranada, American hip hop artist Mick Jenkins, and Canadian singer-songwriter Charlotte Day Wilson, IV showcases the band’s ability to fuse diverse musical elements into a cohesive sound.

The inclusion of Leland Whitty as a formal member of the band further enriched the album’s texture, adding depth and complexity to its sonic landscape.

A Creative Odyssey

The album’s conception and recording process were characterized by experimentation and exploration.

The band embarked on a creative odyssey, drawing inspiration from the vast array of talented artists they encountered on tour and through friends’ recommendations.

The result was a collection of tracks that spanned various styles, challenging the notion of genre and showcasing the band’s versatility and innovative spirit.

Artistic Collaborations and Vision

The collaborations on IV were not merely additions but integral to the album’s vision, each contributing uniquely to the project’s narrative.

From the soulful vocals of Sam Herring on “Time Moves Slow” to the intricate saxophone lines of Colin Stetson on “Confessions Pt II,” these partnerships helped shape the album’s rich, multifaceted sound.

The band’s collaborative ethos extended to the album’s cover art, which proudly lists every instrument used, symbolizing the collective effort behind the music.

Critical Reception and Accolades

IV was met with generally favorable reviews from music critics, earning a score of 77 on Metacritic based on 16 reviews.

Critics praised the album for its rhythmic and melodic intricacy, as well as its ability to be both rehearsed and spontaneous.

The album’s forward momentum and blend of influences were highlighted as key strengths, appealing to both jazz aficionados and those typically outside the genre’s listenership.

Recognition and Impact

The album’s innovative approach did not go unnoticed, earning spots in year-end lists and solidifying its place within the music community’s consciousness:

  • Rough Trade included IV in its Albums of the Year for 2016, ranking it at 74, acknowledging the album’s innovative blend of genres and its contribution to the musical landscape of that year.
  • BBC 6 Music went further, naming IV as its Album of the Year for 2016, a testament to the album’s broad appeal and the impact it had on listeners and critics alike.

Conclusion: A Testament to Musical Fusion

IV stands as a testament to BADBADNOTGOOD’s daring approach to music-making, blurring the lines between genres and inviting listeners into a world where jazz, hip hop, and electronic music coexist harmoniously.

Through its exploratory spirit and collaborative essence, IV not only pushed the boundaries of the band’s sound but also contributed to the ongoing evolution of contemporary music.

Ghostface Killah x BADBADNOTGOOD – Sour Soul (2015)

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ghostface killah badbadnotgood bbng sour soul album cover

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Label: Lex Records

Sour Soul, the collaborative studio album by BADBADNOTGOOD and iconic Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah, stands as a bold cross-pollination of musical genres.

Released on February 24, 2015, the album marries the lyrical prowess of Ghostface Killah with the innovative jazz backing of BBNG, resulting in a soundscape that is both nostalgic and forward-looking.

Production: A Retrofuturistic Journey

The production of Sour Soul is steeped in the sounds and sensibilities of the 1960s and ’70s, drawing inspiration from the era’s recording techniques and production styles.

Eschewing the prevalent use of sampling, the album instead relies on live instrumentation, providing a lush, organic backdrop for Ghostface’s narratives.

Frank Dukes, along with BADBADNOTGOOD and Wayne Gordon, helm the album’s production, ensuring that each track resonates with authenticity and craftsmanship.

Featuring contributions from revered artists such as MF DOOM, Elzhi, Danny Brown, and Tree, Sour Soul benefits from a diverse set of voices that enrich the album’s tapestry.

The instrumental prowess of BBNG is complemented by the contributions of musicians from New York’s soul revival scene, including members of The Budos Band, with recording sessions held at Dunham Sound Studios in Brooklyn and Kingsway Studios in Toronto.

Critical Reception: A Tapestry of Acclaim

Sour Soul has garnered generally favorable reviews, with a Metacritic score of 76 based on 27 reviews, reflecting a broad consensus of appreciation for its artistic merits.

Critics have lauded the album for its seamless integration of jazz and hip-hop elements, praising its production quality and the synergy between BBNG and Ghostface Killah.

While some reviews, like Exclaim!‘s, called for deeper exploration of concepts, others, such as Drowned in Sound, celebrated the album as “sublime,” highlighting BBNG’s role as more than just a backing band but as essential collaborators in creating a unique musical experience.

Legacy and Recognition

The album’s impact was further solidified by its short-listing for the 2015 Polaris Music Prize, signifying its importance in the Canadian and international music landscapes.

Sour Soul‘s instrumental version, released simultaneously, offers listeners an alternative avenue to appreciate the intricate compositions and musicianship underlying the project.

Conclusion: A Retrofuturistic Masterpiece

Sour Soul is a testament to the power of collaboration and the fusion of genres. It is a project that respects its roots while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of what jazz and hip-hop can achieve together.

Through its vintage-inspired production, lyrical storytelling, and innovative musical arrangements, Sour Soul invites listeners on a journey through time, offering a modern take on classic sounds.

This album not only showcases the individual talents of Ghostface Killah and BadBadNotGood but also celebrates the collective creativity that arises from their partnership, making it a standout moment in both of their discographies.


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badbadnotgood bbng iii album cover

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Label: Innovative Leisure x Pirates Blend

Released on May 6, 2014, III marks a significant milestone in the evolution of BADBADNOTGOOD. This album, their third studio effort, distinguishes itself as the band’s first project composed entirely of original material, showcasing their growth as musicians and their boldness in exploring new soundscapes.

Production: Crafting Originality

III stands out for its departure from the band’s earlier reliance on covers and interpretations of hip-hop tracks. Instead, the album is a testament to BBNG’s maturation into composers and arrangers in their own right.

The production of III is characterized by a meticulous attention to detail, with each track engineered to capture the dynamism and spontaneity of the group’s live performances.

The album’s sonic palette ranges from the contemplative to the energetic, weaving together intricate rhythms, harmonies, and melodies that underscore the band’s jazz foundation while embracing the rhythms and ethos of hip-hop.

Critical Reception: Universal Acclaim

The reception of III was overwhelmingly positive, with the album receiving a Metacritic score of 72/100, indicating generally favorable reviews from critics.

James Pearce of AllMusic praised the album for capturing “the raw energy, togetherness, and musicianship of a live concert,” highlighting the seamless integration of jazz improvisation with structured, hip-hop-influenced beats.

Other outlets, such as Exclaim! and NME, also commended the album for its innovative approach to genre-blending, with scores reflecting a broad appreciation for the band’s creativity and technical skill.

Recognition and Legacy

III was recognized as a significant contribution to the Canadian music scene, being longlisted for the 2014 Polaris Music Prize.

This nomination underscored the album’s impact not just as a musical endeavor, but as a cultural artifact that challenges and expands the boundaries of contemporary music.

Additionally, the track “Can’t Leave the Night” gained further recognition by being chosen as the opening theme music for the 2023 Netflix series Lockwood & Co., illustrating the lasting influence of BBNG’s work beyond the confines of the album itself.

Conclusion: A Milestone of Musical Innovation

III by BADBADNOTGOOD is more than just an album; it is a bold declaration of artistic independence and a milestone in the fusion of jazz and hip-hop.

Through its original compositions, the band not only pays homage to their musical roots but also charts new territory, offering listeners a fresh and compelling experience.


badbadnotgood bbng bbng2 album cover

Stream: Bandcamp

Label: Self-released

Released on April 3, 2012, BBNG2 serves as a bold statement from BADBADNOTGOOD, solidifying their reputation as pioneers in the convergence of jazz and modern music genres.

This second studio album not only showcases their ability to blend original compositions with inventive covers but also highlights their commitment to pushing musical boundaries.

Production and Release: A Declaration of Independence

BBNG2 was self-released, a move that underscored the band’s independent spirit and willingness to share their music directly with fans.

Recorded in a marathon ten-hour session at Revolution Recordings in Toronto, the album reflects a youthful exuberance and a fearless approach to music-making.

Notably, the band remarked that “no one above the age of 21 was involved in the making of this album,” emphasizing their fresh perspective and innovative approach to the creation of music.

The album is a mix of the group’s original compositions and dynamic covers, including songs by Earl Sweatshirt, Feist, Tyler, The Creator, Gucci Mane, James Blake, Kanye West, and My Bloody Valentine.

This eclectic selection not only showcases BBNG’s versatility but also their ability to reinterpret and breathe new life into a diverse range of music.

The inclusion of collaborative tracks with Luan Phung and future band member Leland Whitty further enriches the album’s sonic landscape.

Critical Reception: Breaking New Ground

BBNG2 received widespread acclaim, attracting more mainstream attention than any of the band’s previous work.

With features in prestigious publications like The Guardian and NPR, the album was celebrated for its innovative blend of genres and its bold reinterpretation of jazz traditions.

Prefix Mag hailed it as a “decisive turning point” for the band, while Anthony Fantano of The Needle Drop lauded the album’s new sounds, strong improvisations, and solos, awarding it a 9/10—his second-highest rating of the year.

However, the album’s reception within the jazz community was mixed. Some critics accused BBNG of lacking reverence for jazz tradition and questioned their technical proficiency and right to claim the jazz mantle.

Despite this, defenders within the scene, such as musician Brownman Ali and Nextbop’s very own critic Anthony Dean-Harris, praised the band’s innovative approach and their contribution to evolving the genre, suggesting that BBNG is a “real cutting edge jazz band” capable of redefining what jazz can be.

Conclusion: A Landmark in Musical Evolution

BBNG2 stands as a testament to BADBADNOTGOOD’s innovative spirit and their refusal to be confined by traditional genre boundaries.

Through their daring mix of original compositions and reinterpretations of contemporary and classic tracks, BBNG not only pays homage to their musical influences but also charts new territory.

The album not only captures the raw energy and talent of the band but also sparks a conversation about the future of jazz and its place in the modern musical landscape.


badbadnotgood bbng album cover

Stream: Bandcamp

Label: Self-released

Released in 2011, BBNG marks the audacious debut of BADBADNOTGOOD, laying the foundation for their groundbreaking fusion of jazz and hip-hop.

As their inaugural studio album, BBNG not only introduces the band’s penchant for genre-blending but also sets the stage for their revolutionary approach to music-making.

Release and Reception: Pioneering A Fresh Sound

BADBADNOTGOOD released BBNG as a free download, a move that reflects their desire to reach a wide audience and disrupt traditional music distribution methods.

The album, featuring a mix of original compositions alongside inventive covers of tracks by Flying Lotus, Gang Starr, J Dilla, Joy Division, Nas, and Ol’ Dirty Bastard, showcases the band’s ability to navigate through diverse musical landscapes with ease.

The cover artwork, created by Connor Olthuis and Sam Zaret, encapsulates the album’s innovative spirit and the band’s dedication to creativity.

Following its release, BBNG quickly gained traction in the blogosphere, earning accolades from prominent figures in the music industry, including DJ Gilles Peterson and critic Anthony Fantano of The Needle Drop.

Peterson’s invitation for the band to perform at his Worldwide Awards in London in January 2012 further validated the album’s impact, signaling the arrival of BADBADNOTGOOD as significant new players in the music scene.

Anthony Fantano praised BBNG for its seamless fusion of hip-hop, electronic, and jazz elements, highlighting the group’s exceptional musicianship and synergy.

However, he also expressed a desire for the album to feature more original material and a sharper focus, suggesting room for growth and refinement in the band’s future projects.

Conclusion: A Trailblazing Debut

BBNG stands as a testament to BADBADNOTGOOD’s innovative spirit and their challenge to the confines of traditional jazz.

Through their daring combination of original compositions and reimagined covers, the band not only pays homage to their diverse musical influences but also pioneers new territory.

The album captures the raw energy and talent of the band, igniting a conversation about the evolution of jazz and its interplay with contemporary music genres.

As a landmark in musical innovation, BBNG not only announces BADBADNOTGOOD’s arrival on the music scene but also forecasts their potential to redefine the boundaries of jazz for a new generation.

BADBADNOTGOOD’s Nextbop Blog Archive



Since BADBADNOTGOOD was established in 2010, they have been crafting their unique blend of jazz, hip-hop, and electronic music for an impressive 14 years. The band’s lineup includes the talented Alexander Sowinski, Chester Hansen, Leland Whitty, and previously, Matthew Tavares.

What genre is BADBADNOTGOOD?

BADBADNOTGOOD is known for their innovative blend of jazz, hip-hop, and electronic music. They defy traditional genre boundaries by incorporating elements of improvisational jazz with the beats and rhythms of hip-hop, creating a unique and dynamic sound that has garnered a diverse fan base.

What label is BADBADNOTGOOD on?

BADBADNOTGOOD has released music through several record labels over the years, including Innovative Leisure and more recently XL Recordings. Their choice of label has varied with different projects, showcasing their versatility and appeal across the music industry.

Where is BADBADNOTGOOD from?

BADBADNOTGOOD hails from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The band was formed while the members were studying music at Humber College, and the city’s vibrant music scene has played a significant role in their development and success.


BADBADNOTGOOD is a Canadian instrumental music group consisting of Alexander Sowinski (drums), Chester Hansen (bass guitar), and Leland Whitty (saxophone, guitar). Matthew Tavares (keyboard), one of the original members, was part of the band until his departure in 2019. The band is known for their collaborations with various artists across genres and their unique fusion of jazz, hip-hop, and electronic music.

Why do people like BADBADNOTGOOD?

People are drawn to BADBADNOTGOOD for several reasons, including their innovative fusion of genres, technical skill, and dynamic live performances. Their ability to bridge the gap between jazz and hip-hop appeals to fans of both genres, while their collaborations with a wide range of artists have introduced their music to a broader audience. The band’s energetic and improvisational live shows, combined with their genuine passion for experimentation and pushing musical boundaries, have cemented their status as a beloved and influential group in contemporary music.

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