For reasons we can't quite figure out, there's still a significant chunk of the population that isn't completely hooked on the expansive sounds of London rap duo 808INK. But that's almost certainly about to change with their latest album, Noisy Neighbours—their sixth since they emerged in 2013 with An Artistic Piece. Playing up to the project's title, the cocktail of UK rap, dancehall, West Coast G-funk, trap, R&B and more booms and thunders from the speakers like a house party that you wish you were invited to, but instead have to listen to through the walls.
Even more than previous projects, Noisy Neighbours is an eclectic and far-reaching collection, a feat made even more impressive when you realise they crammed all of it into just 10 tracks. 808INK's Mumblez Black Ink and 808Charmer also made clever use of the few features that do appear; House Of Pharaohs MC BlazeYL (who bookends the album on the opening and closing tracks), East London-born R&B wonder IDEH, deep-voiced poet Le Grand GDR and rap auteur Jay Prince all make invaluable contributions that add immeasurably to the collection and seem to have spurred our heroes on to greatness.
Here, Mumblez and 808Charmer break down every track on Noisy Neighbours, explaining more about some of the themes and how they play into each track.
"Digital" f/ BlazeYL & IDEH
Mumblez: "'Digital' is just pure energy and adrenaline; it'll definitely shake you up into a good mood and get you ready for the rest of the project. This was the second song we made in our session with Blaze after the first song we made had us on a high, so we got straight to work on a new ting. Charmer was on a roll: he started sampling in vocals he had from a session with IDEH, and gave the song some nostalgia. That tied it all together. I'd say this intro's the most epic we've made to date. We wanted to start this album different, and Blaze being the first voice you hear sets the tone very well."
808Charmer: "'Frank Lucas' is about the life of a hustler, inspired by the film American Gangster. The idea was started in LA while I was staying at a motel in Inglewood eating Popeyes, just thinking about how I have to reach my goals by any means whilst focusing on the pressure of real life. Riding out, it's all on me—I'm juggling the demands of wants and needs, dreams and reality, but finding a way to get it regardless and maintain what's already been built. "
Mumblez: "'For me, this is probably the most fun song of ours. What I like most about it is that it has the unconventional 808INK song structure that's just wild. I get bored sometimes writing chorus, verse, chorus, verse because it can be too rigid. I wanted everything on this one to be as fluent and free-flowing as possible, but not in a way that makes no sense at all."
808Charmer: "'Come Outside' is a mature, future love-song classic. It touches on many themes, like intimacy and, again, the hustle. It's about not giving a shit about what people have to say about you, but rather getting on with the decisions you feel are best for you. All of these themes were packaged into a light-hearted banger for people to dance and have a good time to."
"Metro" f/ Le Grand GDR
Mumblez: "This track kicked off the whole process of making the album. 'Frank Lucas' was the first song we made, but 'Metro' got the ball rolling. This song is to uplift the ladies, with one of the main messages being 'yes, we love a fupa!' And whether or not you want to believe it, with or without it you are still 10/10, beautiful and loved. This one has mad vim, and I'm so happy to introduce new people to Le Grand GDR because I know they'll love him."
"Last Train To Bigga Dance"
808Charmer: "'Last Train To Bigga Dance' is about not being able to rectify mistakes, yet at the same time highlights what goes down at the most popping club night in London: BIGGA DANCE."
Mumblez: "'This one's the most introspective; it gets in the midst of all the fun on Noisy Neighbours. Despite the title, 'I'm Fine' is about being in denial and far from fine, to a point where you begin to push people away just to keep your thoughts from getting crowded. She just wanna know if I ate, I'm just tryna line up mine... Sometimes when working towards something, it's hard to accept help, care or support from people close to you—especially when you're low—as it can sometimes feel like, as a young man, you should have everything all figured out or under control at this point. Life can be a test, man."
"How Many" f/ Jay Prince
808Charmer: "Big up Jay Prince on this one! The message behind 'How Many' is to always try and be at the top of your game, realising that you've clocked your 10,000 hours and are ready for any situation. We also explore themes of intimacy and social intoxication."
808Charmer: "'4 Ways' is about the desire and pursuit of having multiple streams of income in order to live a carefree and blissful life. Something, I'm sure, that we all want."
"Ten" f/ BlazeYL
Mumblez: "'Ten' is very self-explanatory. TEN! TEN-TEN! 10 out of 10! TENNNAAA's! If it's ten, then it's some good stuff. Top-notch, top-quality. Use it to describe anything that's up there."