Pitchfork (Website) - "This is a light-hearted jaunt, with the rappers leaping from topic to topic....At its core, BAD NEIGHBOR is about three dudes and their friends, spitting verses over great beats without sweating structure."
Following up on their 2013 EP The Burgundy, this full-length collaboration between rappers MED and Blu plus producer Madlib suggests the trio should come up with a group name ASAP. There's so much good chemistry and a sense of purpose on Bad Neighbor that it's easy to see why this crew reunited, and while this is a loose posse effort and not the artistically weighty material fans usually get from the members individually, both MED and Blu's discographies get one their tightest releases to date. Madlib gets the opportunity to jump between the commercial ("Burgundy Whip" from the EP returns with all its smooth soul and sweet singing from Jimetta Rose) and barely harnessed cacophony ("Streets" with Oh No and DJ Romes offers wave after wave of compressed percussion, while the broken beat box called "Birds" sounds like a screwed and chopped remix of the Art of Noise). Their guests effortlessly latch on to the light vibe of the album as Aloe Blacc does his best Charlie Wilson on the so-cool "Drive In," while MF Doom bounces across the '80s-flavored "Knock Knock" and gets at the heart of the middle age b-boy problem with "Fresh new kicks, I would put 'em on, but/Those shoes always hurt my corn." Still, the biggest surprise is when veteran "Bitch Betta Have My Money" MC AMG shows up for "The Stroll" and the crew comes up with a bent and beautiful swagger session that doubles as a strip-club track for alien territories. Bad Neighbor is as if the Ruff Ryders albums were reimagined by this trio and all the avant heads get to party, but it is also worth mentioning that the often slept-on MED and Blu seem to steer this beast as much as the beloved Madlib. Consider them all equals here, and as much a "group" as Madvillain, or even more so when considering past projects like Strong Arm Steady. ~ David Jeffries