The Bad Seed x JR Swiftz - Strike The Shepherd

Not even a change of album title or the ridiculously rigid and censoring algorithms of Facebook could dampen the enthusiasm for the latest project from underground hip hop royalty The Bad Seed. The project ‘Strike The Shepherd‘ produced by JR Swiftz, was originally titled ‘Breakfast With Putin‘ but that went down with Zuckerberg like Drake’s name in an underground hip hop chat. But Seed cares not for adversity, he chops through it like Tone Spliff slices up samples, and so, hip hop heads can rest easy because there was nothing that was going to stop Seed giving the people something to appreciate and discuss for the rest of 2023 and more.


There are some artists that just continue to evolve and level up, and although The Bad Seed seems to be on an ever rising trajectory, there is a reason why. The production on this album has been carefully crafted and curated, and the lyrical content is still ‘true to himself’ Seed, but with added maturity, increased bravado at times, poignant social poetry and delicately picked features for those good enough and brave enough to jump on a track with the notorious rhyme spitter. All of this, carefully interwoven into another full-bodied, unabridged banger where the beats and the bars meet harmoniously with intent to destroy headphones.

The narration of the album is provided by RamBunxious who delivers his lines with passion, stirring the listener to do more than just sit back and listen, but to engage with this artistry. JR Swiftz provides the score, Tone Spliff on the cuts and Seed does the rest, starting with ‘Def Leppard‘ as he pokes the bear with his semi tongue-in-check but one foot in reality content. Swiftz delivers on this one, blending boom bap and soul, but allowing pockets that emphasise the Bad Seed delivery. Case in point as the beat stops and Seed spits “Dr Jeckyl but you Hyde (hide) when a press you“. It’s a FIRE way to start the album and you can’t stop nodding the head when this is hitting.

Seed continues to include tracks about dynamic duos, this time stepping outside of the hip hop theme, and bringing the bars on ‘Apollo vs Drago II‘ which has a triumphant feel and could easily be an entrance theme as someone gets ready to enter the ring and bring the pain. ‘Elephant In The Room‘ brings you that Nature Channel shit before unloading some of the hardest beats and bars you’ve heard in a minute. Seed spits brutal honesty as he reminds y’all that if you mention Top Ten Underground Rappers, you BETTER be throwing some respect on his name, before ‘Massa Makin Rounds‘ is a more deliberate and focused track that draws you in to the poignant street poetry Seed delivers on this one.

Kush In The Kremlin’ changes tact and brings a really dope, positive and fun sound to the album, enjoying the vocal exuberance blended into the production with his creative bar work. Wordsworth and Skyzoo jump on the key-driven ‘Life Is Good‘, Seed bringing his creative and clever wordplay and Wordsworth brings a vividity with his lyrical display. Then, one of the illest and most consistent lyricists in the game – Skyzoo – does what he does, bringing killer bars and delivered with his narrative flow. It gets hella grimey on ‘Super Lame‘ which has that 90’s element on the score, but Seed takes aim at those emcees and heads who feel the need to peddle the same boring ass narrative because it’s cool. Put a cape on their bars!

The concrete cracking street anthem ‘Alive‘ is next and this is one of the joints of the year, from the production which is menacing but inspired and Seed goes hard on the mic and keeps it real with the listener. ‘Adubbago‘ has a real dusty, Wu-Tang, RZA basement feel to the beat and Seed does what he needs to, speaks the truth emphatically and entertainingly. GFK should be on a remix – jump in the booth and let something go! Before the closeout, we get one last track, the former title track ‘Breakfast with Putin‘ which sees Seed talking his shit and offering his services for a seat at the table. Tone Spliff slaughters the wheels on this one, the iconic Biggie flow resonating throughout to really add that finishing touch to JR Swiftz bouncy drumwork.

Bangers: Alive, Elephant In The Room, Life Is Good, Breakfast With Putin, Adubbago.

Score: 10 / 10. This isn’t just another dope hip hop album from The Bad Seed. This is a brilliant body of work that explores slightly different pockets of the culture and of that dusty, boom bap sound in a unique way. There is a palpable energy between Swiftz and Seed, the two work together so seamlessly, it’s like steel sharpening steel with more than the odd spark. Lyrically, few can touch Seed and his array of subject matter, perspective, creativity and balance between serious, humourous, clever and crafty. ‘Strike The Shepherd‘ is another home run for the Diddy Bop king, who has cultivated one of the best discographies in hip hop.

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About The Author

By Brutus Maximus

Founder of Raw Side Hip Hop. Been rocking with the hip hop culture for over 30 years. Love the creativity, authenticity of the art and the culture as a whole. Shout out to the real ones making and supporting true hip hip and the artists who make it!