Birmingham hip-hop duo The Worst Guys, Louis Prince and Joe Marsh, arrive with their debut EP Not So Bad. Recorded over the course of lockdown, sending demos and samples back and forth to each other, their debut project sees the duo tackle issues of racism, lockdown and self worth. Following on from two previously released singles in the year, the punchy “Platform” and minimalism infused “No Celebrations”, this EP celebrates the sound that The Worst Guys have developed so far, whilst simultaneously expanding their output into far greater and vibrant soundscapes.
What propels this EP further than the duo have ever gone is the vocal delivery from both Prince and Marsh. Prince’s hard hitting, potent rapped verses seamlessly juxtapose with Marsh’s melodic dreamy chorus lines. This is highlighted on “More Than Meets The Eye” as Prince’s punchy rapped bars are immediately fast flowing, but straight after comes Marsh’s woozy chorus lines of “And if I showed you that there’s more than meets the eye babe, would you try to shoot me down?” to later switch back to Prince’s lyrical flurry as the song descends into a synthesised euphoria of culminating melodies. And lyrically the duo are as assured as ever as they speak on themes of racial injustice on “Bittersweet”, “It’s hard to shake the feeling that some don’t like us here, another day another you makes some blood splatter, but we’ll peacefully protest to you that black lives matter”. Prince balancing the fine line of being politically charged whilst concurrently being earnest and evoking empathy from personal experience.
The Worst Guys got their name from the Childish Gambino song of the same name from 2013’s Because The Internet and their homage to Donald Glover doesn’t just stop with their name. Closer “Never Back Down” features some devastatingly blissful synthesiser melodies gliding over a beat that demands you to strut along to it, reminiscing in the sound that was found all over Glover’s 2013 sophomore album, especially “III. Telegraph Ave. (“Oakland” by Lloyd). However the production doesn’t just pay homage to their influences, it also sparks a new air of confidence in the duo. Experimenting with sinister minimalism on “Why U Mad?” as the disorienting sirens swirl and flash in and out in and out of the soundscape, providing a haunting and eerie platform for Prince’s unrelenting storytelling to go from strength to strength.
It’s not often you find artists that wear their influences on their sleeve, whilst conjunctively offering a sound that feels as vibrant in its ability to convey exactly what that artist is trying to deliver. Continually shifting and challenging what their sound can be, The Worst Guys have landed a debut EP that is unapologetically confident and enticing to listen to. In their interview with us the duo said they are yet to play a live show, however expect big things when the bass line of “Isolation On The Menu” hits the club floor.