Knock, knock – It’s Nick Sanville and Dugan’s group I In Team ushering you into your living room, commandeering the nearest bluetooth speaker and showcasing cuts from their freshly minted project Bad Neighbors.
You see, Bad Neighbors is a rap album made with intention. Not the intention of doing something on purpose – rather, something done with purpose.
It’s barrel aged and small batch, but without the pomp of a soft launch for some hipster yerba maté bar. Instead, it feels like the craftsmanship of the shopkeep who’s been in the neighborhood for years – the one who listens to Rhymesayers and owns the ‘94 cult film Clerks on VHS.
The opening salvo “People Are Strange” gives reference to the ubiquitous strangeness of the everyday person – setting the stage for the gamut of perspectives, emotions, and storylines that fill the record.
Sanville and Dugan transport us to the party on the relatable “RSVP,” where we (as they) want to leave and talk to no one. Even if we’re a little lonely, making the social rounds is exhausting and I In Team have a talent for expressing these margins of humanity.
“Guns In The Cellar” features singer Emma Lee Kay, with Sanville’s clever pen crafting witty entendres across 2 verses and Dugan anchoring a characteristically cheeky 16.
General parlances about not giving a shit and being unexceptional are conveyed alongside wicked cuts from DJ Dominic Deadbeat on “Karaoke With Ben Stein.” And the admittedly off-putting “Sex With Ugly Women” actually captures a self-destructive narrative that hits home for many.
“Feelin Bad” (f. Scotty Dub) could be the most radio-unfriendly tune recorded ever. A perfect summer anthem for that morning-after cig, it’s arguably our favorite track on the album.
“Blah Blah” might just be another song about problems – but damn, we’re here for it. Dugan goes above and beyond on the production for this one.
Bad Neighbors is meticulously crafted and refined by a pair of artists who take their music – not themselves – quite seriously. And it works. Especially when played at a high volume in a residential area.