Bad Ambassadors

Bad Ambassadors EP (Shoebox Records)

Contact Sam McAllister about Bad Ambassadors

As with many stories this decade, this one begins on the internet – specifically Twitter. Prior to finding each other, Rich Jones and Walkingshoe had been on quite different paths. Jones, a prolific artist and fixture in the Chicago cultural community known for both his own solo work and collaborations with the likes of Nnamdï, Mykele DeVille, and The O’My’s, was living a decidedly more Bohemian life of couch surfing, odd jobs and hustles while sharpening his skills in various clubs and DIY venues. Meanwhile, Walkingshoe was biding his time in “Corporate America”, producing for himself and others, notably Ness Heads, Frank Leone, yU, ShowYouSuck, and Qari, in his spare time.


After sharing their mutual appreciation for each others work in the DMs in 2015, Jones and Walkingshoe met for beers IRL and agreed that it was a probably good idea to see what kind of sounds they could make together. The pairing provided them with something that neither of their solo endeavors could – a chance for a fresh start and the kind of freedom that could only come from releasing this music as a brand spanking new group – Bad Ambassadors!


Thus began a heady multi-year period of recording, laughs and experimentation. But starting was easy, finishing was not. Increasingly pulled in different directions musically, personally and professionally, Bad Ambassadors ultimately was shelved in favor of solo pursuits.


After some time away from the music and each other however, both felt there was unfinished business to attend to.


With renewed zeal, Jones and Walkingshoe began working out of a basement studio in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood. They created records that paired Jones’ sense of unease and sadness over a rapidly changing city and community (themes found throughout much of his work) with Walkingshoe’s expertise in forging genre-defying production and their mutual, keen pop sensibilities.


Thematically, Bad Ambassadors explores the determination to pursue your passion in the face of the inevitable obstacles life places in your way. Musically, the project is effortlessly collaborative and uniform, combining elements of surf-rock, psychedelic hip-hop, and dance beats into a quick, easy-to-swallow pill that will get you your fix on first listen all the way to your tenth. Ear candy for you to indulge in. Definitely hip-hop, but not really.


And the name? It’s “tongue-in-cheek,” explains Jones. “To me, it connotes mischief, bold living, maintaining a sense of humor. We’re both outsiders in certain senses as neither of us have necessarily been FULLY embraced and elevated, though we’ve certainly been acknowledged and received opportunities respective to the time we’ve put in separately and hopefully through this project in concert.”


Jones and Walkingshoe look forward to sharing what they’ve created as Bad Ambassadors not only for solo listening pleasure but also LIVE for friends and fans alike. Keep an eye out for your next favorite group as they prep this salvo of sounds with an online and physical release on January 10, 2020.