Nerves Baddington

Nerves Baddington

Birmingham, Alabama, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Birmingham, Alabama, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Hip Hop Experimental





Birmingham rap producer/performers Nerves Baddington have been bubbling up for a long time, and … I doubt the magnificent Macro/Micro double-album will be the thing that breaks them through.
Why? Because it’s too smart to be popular.

A Nerves Baddington album is truly an album–a combination of sounds and themes that must be experienced as a single meal. Macro/Micro are two interconnected albums that mirror each other–with the first song on Macro bouncing off (but not remixing) the final song on Micro. Yeah, it’s high concept–and hard for casual rap fans to attach to. And the songs themselves are thick and dense–full of content, asking questions and pushing boundaries.

And speaking of the songs themselves, they’re very good. Each member of the group has a chance to shine so we don’t get something that is this challenging that is also repetitive. It keeps you guessing, stays interesting throughout, and yet still coheres in toto. - BERKELEY PLACE

"Mixtape Monday"

Birmingham representative Nerves Baddington puts in work on the companion to the 2022 micro album simply titled macro. - okayplayer

"HHGA: Best of 2022"

Nerves Baddington is a trio from Birmingham, Alabama, consisting of Kilgore Doubt, inkline, and Cam the Invisible Man. Their Micro and Macro albums are two fantastic projects we will consider a double-LP because the two are inextricably connected. In this era of music streaming, we see a lot of artists dropping short EP-length projects, presenting them as full-length albums. Nerves Baddington bucked this trend by dropping two ambitious 45-minute projects that combine into one near-flawless album that’s not a second too long. Micro/Macro offers an hour and a half of top-tier experimental but accessible Hip Hop – this is one of those rare projects that might appeal to casual rap fans and to more discerning Hip Hop listeners alike.

Micro/Macro features production by all three Nerves Baddington members (mostly from Kilgore Doubt), with some assistance from outside collaborator The Phasing Octopus. Nerves Baddington emcee inkline is joined on the microphone by a host of other Birmingham rappers, like MC Kano, Black Plastique, Shaun Judah, Nick Dire, Mane Rok, Fleetwood Deville, Akil Pratt, K1NG ELJAY, and others.

Micro/Macro is a project with power and purpose. The soundscapes are meticulously crafted, the rhymes offer a perfect blend of the thoughtful and the abstract, and the flows of inkline and guests are tight. Micro and Macro are excellent listening experiences separately – and because of subtle sonic and lyrical cross-reference points, they are even stronger combined. Micro/Macro is an ambitious and totally captivating piece of music.

Release date: February 22, 2022. - Hip Hop Golden Age

"DJ Alkemy Best of 2022"

Release date: 22nd February 2022

Right. Where did THIS come from? Well, Birmingham, Alabama is where. Nerves Baddington is like some hybrid of Company Flow/Homeboy Sandman/Aesop Rock and any other lazy comparison with the more experimental/off kilter style of Hip-Hop you care to make. Make no mistake about it, even though I’ve referenced the more elder statesmen within Hip-Hop as a comparison, this sounds FRESH TO DEATH!. It’s a heavy listen. Everything about it oozes that unnerving, sense of panic vibe. The production is superb. Some of the drums tested my Yamaha monitors ability to withstand a serious sub kick and cracking snare combo. It’s one of those albums made for the headphones. This is not music to throw in along with the rest of your “gym playlist” on Spotify. Be a fucking adult!. Buy the album from Bandcamp, and put it on a nice set of headphones, and get lost in this dystopian piece of greatness. By the way, Nerves Baddington helped lighten my wallet, as they actually brought out 3 other projects this year, ALL could be on this list. But, I went for the album that introduced me to their sound. THIS is what I love in music, stumbling on an artist that truly resonates with me. - DJ Alkemy

"Top Twenty of 2022"

10. Nerves Baddington – micro/macro – S/R

In December of 2019, Birmingham trio Nerves Baddington opened for Qualifier at the Firehouse for Qualifier’s 7” release party. Going into the show, Nerves Baddington encouraged everyone to come, announcing that it would be their last show for the foreseeable future, as emcee/producer Inkline was moving to Denver. Since that time, we got a couple of projects from Inkline, one solo and one collaborative with K1NG ELJAY. As it turned out, during this same time period, bassist/producer Kilgore Doubt went on a deep dive to hone his own production skills, emerging with a beat tape in November 2020. Fast forward to February 2022, and we not only finally got a new Nerves Baddinton release, we got an ambitious double album, micro and macro. For this project, the majority of the production duties are being helmed by Kilgore Doubt, with assists from drummer/producer Cam the Invisible Man and inkline, along with the lone outside collaborator, The Phasing Octopus. The sound of both micro and macro is dark and driven, with a lot of crisp drum beats and densely layered minor key sounds, giving the whole project this tense and nervous energy that gives way to excitement and aggressiveness as you stick with it. More than anything, they find just the right balance between the weird and experimental side of things and the accessible, funky side of things, allowing casual listeners to be drawn in before realizing that they are being sucked into this carefully crafted world of abstract beats and rhymes. Inkline is of course leading the way on the mic, with his raspy voice and lyricism that moves between the lived-in ups and downs of his life and his philosophical and political rhymes. As is the case with most Birmingham acts, Nerves Baddington don’t just want to see themselves shine, so they brought in a whole slew of collaborators, including Black Plastique, LINNIL, MC Kano, Shaun Judah, DJ illanoiz, DJ AWHAT, GI Magus, Ichiban & adj., Phrasure, Nick Dire, Mane Rok, Joshua (of K.L.U.B. Monsta), Day Tripper, Fathom, Fleetwood Deville, K1NG ELJAY, Akil Pratt, and OZU8LACK. On most other projects, this would be way to many cooks in the kitchen, but these collaborations are spread across two albums, and more importantly, each contribution is made with purpose. Nerves Baddington know all of these artists and are familiar enough with what each one brings to the table, so each guest is put in a position to shine and elevate the track that they are joining on. With each addition, the picture of the hip hop dream world of micro and macro grows in your head and you get a greater idea of what it could be. As for the double album itself, we get yet another interesting layer as you put the two volumes together. That’s because the two volumes pull apart as sort of funhouse mirror reflections of each other. One is not strictly a remix album of the other, but there are shared reference points lyrically and sonically that tie the two volumes together, but ultimately you end up in different places when you get to the end of each one. As a result, you can listen to them back to back and get the fully immersive experience, but you can also separate the two and listen to one at a time and focus your attention on one volume at a time and go deeper in that particular direction. micro and macro are a hell of a return for Nerves Baddington. It’s an ambitious project, but it’s also one that was pulled off with a lot of care and attention to detail. For a project this expansive, nothing is done without purpose and a clear sense of how it relates to the work of art as a whole. They put on for the Magic City, build community, and give you some really inventive and passionate hip hop in the process. - Scratched Vinyl

"Rap Maniacz - micro/macro Review (Italian)"

Translated from Italian:

The formation of Nerves Baddington brings with it deep, peculiar roots. To trace the knowledge between frontman Ryan Howell (inkline) and multi-instrumentalist John McNaughton (Kilgore Doubt) it is necessary to point the cursor at the time of the respective high school attendance, at which time the two were introduced by common friendships, immediately finding affinity in the passion for music and the desire to form a band. Back then, there was not even a shadow of Hip-Hop; in fact, the boys liked to play the guitar and perform in the small Punk/Rock clubs in Birmingham, Alabama, respectively giving life to entities such as Valerie #4 and Entropy, enjoying satisfactory success within city boundaries.

The infatuation of inkline for Rap would have taken place only a few years later, leading him to an important deepening in the knowledge of Culture, coveiled with a temporal vacuum forced by an accident with the police that would forever change his life, conditioning his future way of making music. Finished in prison for the use of opiates, Ryan would then have spent five years in Denver in search of sobriety and inner rebirth, starting to write texts inspired by the experience of drug addiction while screaming an acoustic guitar, certainly not the most classic compositional method in Rap writing. The resumption of contacts with McNaughton had therefore laid the foundations of the Nerves Baddington project, a duo that would soon be expanded thanks to the inclusion in the ranks of drummer and percussionist Cam Johnson and external collaborator The Phasing Octopus, giving rise to a collection of sounds certainly rooted in Hip-Hop, but very difficult to catalog due to the many influences

‘Micro/Macro’ is an ambitious project, starting with the spectacularity of conception. Released in one solution last February 22, taking advantage of the uniqueness of the palindrome date brilliantly combined with its extrinsic meaning, the work consists of two albums that can be listened to jointly investing an hour and a half of their time, as well as dealing independently, alternately, contrary, without a particular predefined order. One is the mirror of the other, the lineup of the first is taken up in reverse by the second (and vice versa), as in an infinite game each piece has its opposite and dresses in new clothes both in the titles and in the musical apparatuses: sometimes the exact replica of the verses of the corresponding piece is found, in other circumstances the stanzas are reversed, rewritten

A gloomy, introspective, cathartic, abstract disk, in some respects even paranoid – sensations evidently derived from the experience of inkline, the main creative engine of the collective – for what turns out to be an authentic therapeutic self-analysis transposed into rhyme, a necessity also excellently supported by every collaborator called to represent the unspected but The rapper sets his performance by falling into a sort of lucid permanent semi-ancholywareness, consequently choosing an unexpressive vocal figure, as if it were significantly proven by the effort needed to retrace the episodes from which the insights for the writing of the lyrics are born, exposing a predilection for schematics often recurrent to the double rhyme at the end of the bar using So, in addition to the aforementioned argumentative consistency, the convocation of numerous figures facilitates the record in enriching itself with versatile stylistic qualities, proposing very different flow and vocalities and providing appropriate variants to the just mentioned linearity of the main actor.

This flexibility is expressed with even greater amplitude by a sound for which it is very difficult to find a definition that is too precise. In fact, we can limit ourselves to grasping how Electronic aesthetics constitutes in all respects that straight line that intersects all the tracks and how it can bring out flashes of El-P and Aesop Rock in the approach to production, both for the massive use of synths, and for the greater complexity of rhythmic programming compared to tradition. Impossible to listen to a drums even similar to another, so much is the compositional creativity, certainly fueled by the coexistence between the digital component and the human one, as well as the setting of loops that are rarely allowed to go to repeat certainly does not follow the classic patterns, preferring to incorporate them within a sequence of melodic structures created with a great variety of effects and However, there is some traditional breakbeat, an ingredient that makes explosive specific episodes such as “Gibraltar Stones”, the double “Hypersigil” or “Advanced Filter Search”, the latter ideal fusion between the sonic complexity of the first fraction and the clear boom bap of the second.

Following with all probability the indications provided by the colors of the two covers, it is evident the tendency of “Micro” to offer more gray, suffocating, hallucinogenic atmospheres, pertinently contrasted by the setting of a more explosive “Macro” in the load of the instrumentation, almost to want to alleviate the anguish of some particular texts, making the experience no les You often find yourself thinking of being in an isolated place, wrapped in a dense blanket of fog waiting for the arrival of your demons and looking for the most appropriate method to dominate them, communicating through what is suggested by your experience (<> – “Road Trip”), removing the adoption of those intrinsic metaphors and stanzas that make songs like the aforementioned “Advanced Filter Search” and “Space Rave".

And these are just a few examples, because “Micro/Macro” is a dense and complicated operation, which requires time, ability to analyze, decantation and curiosity to return to see it from other angles, grasping the charm of each of them. Too bad that in this era huge amounts of energy are wasted advertising records that are colossal, leaving collectives like the Nerves Baddington to fight with their nails to conquer every useful inch of land to overcome the limits of their Birmingham, persevering in being noticed in all those small events that will only fill beers or squares set up for some particular summer occasion. - Rap Maniacz

"Nerves Baddington Shines With “Micro” and “Macro” Double-Release"

Nerves Baddington has been Birmingham favorites ever since they first released music in 2014, and recently returned to provide more great music to the city they love with two unique releases titled “Micro” and “Macro”. The double-drop is a new milestone of musical glory for a group that’s already made some incredible music. Baddington bassist Kilgore Doubt (John McNaughton) shines in his first-time role as lead producer, with help from drummer Cam (Johnson) and often collaborating with the group’s lyric-slinging frontman inkline (Ryan Howell).The album can even be bought on cassette (with incredible custom gift boxes) and the cover design can also be bought on shirts from the group’s store.

inkline absolutely tears up the beats with fun plays on popular phrases and pointed observations, and he doesn’t sacrifice any catchiness on the tracks while doing so. But this album isn’t just about the evolutional greatness of Nerves Baddington. It is a jaw-dropping ode to lyricism that’s jam-packed with collaborations with many of the best wordsmiths in Alabama and around the nation. It is a community affair of an album, and we’re all the better for it.

Besides the quality of songs on the “Micro” and “Macro,” the actual structure of the two albums sets them apart from a regular release. “Macro” contains a variation of every song on the “Micro” album, played in reverse order–so the first song will find its variation on the last track of the second record. This idea came from an audiobook that John was listening to. “There was a reference to a film that you could view one way and get one meaning from it, and view it backwards and get a different meaning from it.” Ryan was quick to jump on the concept, thinking of the Satanic panic of the 80s, where concerned parents thought rock records played in reverse brought evil, and the ideas of self-reflection and struggles. Choruses and some of Ryan’s verses are the same, but different samples, production, and features are featured on the second album, creating two completely unique experiences that are still clearly tied together.

The beginning of the project didn’t start with the plan for two albums, or even one really. It was just a necessary creative spark that snowballed into something incredible. The group hadn’t released too much since inkline’s move to Denver two years ago, and the pandemic mixed with life’s personal challenges made creativity even more scarce. Then one late summer day Cam sent Kilgore Doubt, who’d been honing his production skills, a drum beat with some 808s. John added some stuff to it and sent it to Ryan, as he’d done with many songs before. McNaughton laughs saying he began his production career with stuff around 125 BPM and would send these works to Ryan with the hopeful intentions he’d jump on one. None of those brought in a verse, but this latest effort was different.

“Ryan’s the producer that I look up to,” John shares. “He’s the one that I was asking questions when I first started learning to do this shit.” McNaughton didn’t think that beat was anything super special but Ryan told him, “No this is good, so keep going.” inkline delivered his lyrics to the song the very next day. Cam and John would deliver more tracks, and Ryan would tell them “Keep going, keep going.” Kilgore would eventually take over most of the front-end production duties, with shared files online being the way these musicians were able to record an album from three different states in a pandemic.

“It’s kinda fun doing it from sharing files. Just very normal to do anyway these days. I was sharing with people when I was living in Birmingham, so it’s not new like that but writing two records was different but I was comfortable with it,” inkline shares, “I kind of zone out. I’m not a guy that needs a room full of people at the studio or anything like that.” Being in his own space for writing and eventually mixing the songs set a mood that brought forth a really fun creative energy for the artist. Kilgore Doubt agreed that the process was fun. “You might wake up to a file,” he shares, or maybe get one while at work and “head outside and listen to it. I know I was trying to push myself, and I was just trying to impress him.” Ryan was liking John’s production, and was certainly impressing him in return. “I was dancing around the house, and I don’t dance,” McNaughton joked about hearing some of Howell’s verses for the first time.

It was September 2021, and Nerves Baddington determined they would finish their album in three weeks and aim for a Halloween release–but then Kilgore Doubt went and read the book on reverse meanings and they jumped to album #2. They laughed while saying some of their friends thought the concept was crazy, but “the momentum just hit and we just kinda kept going.” They were on to something special already, and showed no signs of slowing down. As inkline put it, “It just sounded dope, so it was like why not go for it?”

The “Micro” and “Macro” releases have started 2022 off right for the Birmingham music scene.

Kilgore Doubt was already enthused about his beat-making mentor rapping on a beat he created, and was about to see some of his all-time favorite artists deliver linguistic thunderbolts on his often gritty, exhilarating productions. Artists from Birmingham, Atlanta, Denver, and more were excited to hear about the project, and surprisingly quick to come back with career-defining verses. The Magic City is well represented with artists like Black Plastique, LINNIL, Shaun Judah, G.I. Magus, Phrasure, The Phasing Octopus, Joshua of K.L.U.B. Monsta, K1NG ELJAY, Akil Pratt, and Ozu8lack give their all to their craft.

“As far as hip-hop goes, I don’t know any doper rappers to be honest,” Ryan comments, “My top five is full of Birmingham.” John agrees with this sentiment, saying “I’ll always be mad that that last K.L.U.B. Monsta album is not massive.” They are loved by the hip-hop heads in the Magic City though, including Kilgore Doubt who was elated when Joshua of the group came back with a verse. “That makes me smile. That makes me happy as fuck.” In addition to the lyrical features, another fun collaboration came with the Nerves Baddington crew inviting The Phasing Octopus to co-produce two tracks with them.

Some of the verse requests went to people John had long respected as musicians, but didn’t know very well. One was Day Tripper from The Difference Machine in Atlanta, who John first saw opening a Run The Jewels concert. I just took a shot. I was like ‘Do you want to do a verse?’ and he said yes and had it back in 24 hours. Maybe less,” McNaughton recalled, “And fucking killed it. His verse is incredible.” Ryan concurred with how impressive the speed of the process was, saying “He was so fast. You told me he was down when I was getting ready to go to work and by lunch break you sent me a verse.”

Another fun out-of-state collaboration was with Mane-Rok, a member of Stay Tuned which inkline has been working with while living in Denver. Nerves Baddington was doing the inverse to the last song on the first album, meaning this would be the leading song in the second. Inkline didn’t feel he wanted to start the song, but they needed someone close to the group to do so. Mane-Rok came in and calmed all concerns. “I’ll never forget the first night I heard that,” is the recollection of Kilgore Doubt on the primary listen.

Once all the parts were sent in and Ryan completed his mixing, everything was sent to Jason Hamric (also of Substrate Radio and a longtime friend of the group) to master. “He’s as much a part of Nerves Baddington as any of us really. He’s done so much for us,” inkline shares, ”especially in growing in finding a sound, and not being afraid to be creative. Definitely shouts out to Hamric. He’s a great mastering engineer too, so it was just kind of a win that he just so happens to fuck with us.”

“Me and Ryan have been making music together for most of my life at this point,” John shares, “We met when we were still in high school.” From shoegaze-inspired bands to post-punk adventures, a long hiatus due to life’s quite literal trials, reconnecting and evolving from an acoustic guitar and a bass set-up to the unique and inspired sounds that are Nerves Baddington in 2022. “I’m glad it happened. I’m really glad,” John reflects–and this is a theme you get from the entire Zoom interview. It’s full of smiles, genuine appreciation, and gratitude. They are truly excited about what they just accomplished, and the rising city around them.

“It’s a special place with a lot of passion and obviously talent, but it’s way more than that. That shit runs deep. Whatever it is–it’s magical. Once you notice it you see it everywhere. I’m using hip-hop as an example, but it’s literally everything. Whenever you notice somebody’s passion in Birmingham, when you see how deep it runs. There’s a familiar hunger to it.” There’s an energy that’s created by that unified hunger, and Nerves Baddington just released the soundtrack. Tune in and listen.

Cover image from Jaysen Michael at Secret Playground Photography - AboutTown

"micro + macro review"

Nerves Baddington writes songs.

There are lots of beats with bars out there. Lots. Some bad, many mediocre, some good, and a few even great.

But Nerves Baddinton writes songs. Sample, loop, verse, chorus, verse chorus, (possible breakdown), chorus. However, Kilgore Doubt and Inkline emancipate/liberate that equation to suit whichever need or whim arises in their creative. Whatever equation generated, the sum is always massive. Hooks that stay with the listener until the next track’s hook takes over the temporal lobe.

macro and micro lay next to each other symbiotic and individual. Auditory conjoined twins sharing lyrics and blood but moving their individual minds and limbs independently. A duality in a certain kind of darkness.

macro throws chairs and Hulk stomps through its eleven tracks (“Gibraltar Stones” featuring hairs stand up guest bars Fathom, “Holyghoster”). Even the ‘lighter’ fare (“Crooked Path”, “Space Rave”) carry a flip side bleakness attached to their upbeat. This is cruising the black, alone with the audio dash readout, hard head nod, red knuckling the wheel. Your late night Friday soundtrack.

micro turns it around backwards and slips in even murkier water. The night time wind down. Appears calm, but anything could happen at any moment. The 3am get up (“Lotus Eaters”) to the trip peak (“Mount of Beatitudes” featuring favorite breakdown guest bars G.I. Magus). This can’t be classed as the ‘comedown’ to macro because its bruises are even bigger and darker. micro is the time between the swing and the hit. It lives with macro, not because of it.

Scientist time-warp, phase-shifting samples and loops bouncing left/right between auditory canals. Beats that stand next to (or shame) Crystal Method’s Vegas. And the lazy critics’ probable, if not inevitable, RTJ comparison. macro/micro is coming for your best of 2022 list.

Nerves Baddington writes songs. Great fucking songs. - Matt Seward

"Alabama's Best local bands: Nerves Baddington isn't just for hip-hop fans"

A few weeks ago, we presented you a short, diverse list of Alabama-based artists. You chose Nerves Baddington to play a 7 p.m. gig at TrimTab Brewing on Thursday. The show will be recorded for's live in Alabama music seriers. Cost is free, but you need to go here to make a reservation. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Sidewalk Film Festival. Secret Stages. High Five Fest.

For a band that's only a year old, Nerves Baddington has already played some of the Birmingham's marquee events.

The experimental hip-hop duo — comprised of Ryan "Inkline" Howell and John McNaughton — is one of the Magic City's buzziest acts right now. And for good reason. They produce infectious, honest lyrics and win over crowds with their high-energy live shows. They obviously have devoted fans — their fanbase showed up in droves to vote them as one of Alabama's best local bands and secure them a spot at a show Thursday at TrimTab Brewing.

The duo attributes the recent success to "some lucky breaks."

"We've been pretty fortunate to be a part of some really huge things happening in Birmingham," McNaughton says.

But it's not just luck and good fortune. The two have spent the past two decades steadily honing their skills in the Magic City's music scene.

The early years

It started when they met in high school. Howell and some of his pals needed a bass player for their band, and mutual friends introduced them to McNaughton. They immediately hit it off.

"It fit. It worked," Howell explained. Their first band, Valerie #4, was formed and performed many shows around town — including gigs at Crush Warehouse in Tarrant and American Beat Records — for a couple of years.

Next up was the "upbeat, aggressive" band Entropy. During this period, they often performed at Unity 1605, a punk rock, straight-edge venue (no alcohol was allowed) operated by George Cowgill III (who currently owns Black Market Bar and Grill and formerly operated the Speakeasy in Five Points South). The guys give Cowgill credit for helping them break into the scene.

"(George) showed us a lot of support and gave us some great shows. We played with some bands that are still around today (like Hot Water Music)," McNaughton says.

A few years later, Howell "became infatuated with hip-hop music" and started showing up at Eargasm, an open mic night at High Note. There he met DJ Supreme from Shaheed and Supreme (who hosted the open mic) and became active in the local hip-hop scene for almost a decade, meeting folks like the guys from the Green Seed and playing shows at places like Five Points Music Hall.

Around this time, McNaughton was in a band called Greycoat. The group played the Sloss' Furnace Fest — an event devoted to punk and metal music — and another band he was in, Kinoflux, also played City Stages. "I don't think anyone was there," he laughs. "It was an early show ... but we were there. We were on the posters."

Then, McNaughton focused on pharmacy school, and Howell moved to Colorado. Their musical paths would cross again years later.

Nerves Baddington
Ryan Howell and John McNaughton make up the Birmingham hip-hop hybrid group Nerves Baddington. (Tamika Moore/
Tamika Moore

The birth of Nerves Baddington

While on a "state-sponsored getaway" due to his opiate addiction, Howell had written a handful of songs he wanted others to hear — but he didn't want them to be cut in his usual hip-hop mold.

"So instead of writing all these hip-hop, sample-based beats, I picked up an acoustic guitar," Howell says. "So I wrote all of these songs, just me rapping with an acoustic guitar, which is kind of where the name Nerves Baddington comes from, like I kind of toyed around with a few different ideas but I wanted to represent the nerve of that guy. The nerve of that guy thinking he can play guitar and rap and make it work."

He contacted McNaughton when he moved back to Birmingham and they set to work on the tunes. One of the first official, from-scratch songs they made together was the obscenely catchy "Run It," which is a statement of the music they want to make together.

"('Run It') came from a saying that my friends and I (used when I) lived in Denver from 2005-10," Howell says. "It was just a saying we had when we ... run the play. It just always stuck with me. So I wanted to write a song that kind of represented our plans to break into the music industry. ... This is gonna work. This is different. It's hip-hop, but it has so much other influences. At the roots of Nerves Baddington is just countless different musical influences. I felt like it was a way to run it."

And run it they do. With a fun beat and jazzy horns in the chorus, the song defies any categorization. It'd fit in just as well on an indie rock radio station as a hip-hop one.

And it's not just "Run It." Fans of multiple genres are catching on to the band's songs because of their live shows.

"I've seen a few times where people will put something on Facebook and it'll start, 'I don't know anything about hip-hop, but ...' and then say something about what we're doing," McNaughton said.

But don't just take the duo's word for it. Go to a live show (such as Thursday's TrimTab gig) and experience it for yourself.

Plus, McNaughton adds: "I don't drink anymore, but I heard TrimTab has some great beers." -

"Punk City Pages: Nerves Baddington"

Kanye to Iggy Pop, Kendrick Lamar to the Sex Pistols, Prrrfect Pussy to MC Lyte???? Rap and Punk may appear to this genre obsessed generation as an odd pairing but from its earliest days Rap and Punk were kindred ambassadors of truth.

Nerves Baddington is taking rap, punk, rock, electronic beats and mixing it with personal truths to swing a bat at misconceptions, assumptions and the southern musical status quo.

Appearing on the scene officially as Nerves Baddington only a year ago, the duo of Ryan Howell and John McNaughton have been in and out of the music scene for close to 20 years.

Meeting on the East side of the city at the now defunct Jammin Gym, the duo joined friends in their first musical group Valerie #4 a shoegaze band that included Shane from Future Primitives. Although the group was short lived in ’97, Ryan and John moved on to form a new group influenced by their favorite band Fugazi which they called Entropy. This band would be formed with a post punk influence and the addition of Chase L'Eplanttenier on drums and Wes Frazer on second guitar. The trio found themselves performing at Unity 1605 and allowed them the opportunity to play with bands such as Hot Water Music, Ann Beretta, and Sweep the Leg Johnny.

Afterwards John and Chase were in a local band called Dorian Grey. This band went through various transformations with one being the addition of Gary Dale of Nail joining the band and the other a name change to GreyCoat. The group performed at one of the early Furnace Fest concerts, but eventually split and during this time John stepped away from the role of full time musician.

Ryan began to reconnect with the hip hop music he grew up loving. He started to create his own electronic fusion of beats and lyrics. Abstract Chemistry was created with his friend Matt Atkins as an official reconnection with his hip hop musical roots. This led to performances around town with one special hip hop open mic called Eargasm at The High Note that was hosted at the time by DJ Supreme. This allowed Ryan to perform with locals such as R-tist from The Green Seed and Shaheed of the group Shaheed and DJ Supreme. Ryan

Ryan and John were musically going in different directions, however where life took them next would become the blood that runs through the heart of Nerves Baddington.

John eventually enrolled in college and completed his degree and entered the world of career adult. Somewhere in the process his recreational use of drugs took a turn to full blown addict. An arrest and mandatory drug rehabilitation led John to reevaluate his entire future. He completed the program and began working his sobriety.

Meanwhile Ryan, also a recreational drug user, found himself arrested and sent to court ordered boot camp. He completed the program and was released on parole. During this time he lost his father and found himself sinking deeper into the drug culture. He violated his parole and instead of sticking around for another possible boot camp he took off for Colorado. Ryan was quickly accepted into his new surroundings. His music career was taking off and yet the jump on his Bama parole would one day catch up with him. Eventually taken into custody and reprimanded back home Ryan spent the next three years locked up in prison. Ryan admits that the jail time very likely saved his life. He was able to get clean, as well as spend the time to mentally prepare for life outside bars with a new desire to live his life on an upward incline!

The time of Ryan’s release came about as John was settling into his sobriety. The two reconnected and quickly lost no time by finding themselves making music together and on stage at Secret Stages under Ryan’s hip hop alias Inkline.

Very few artists get sucked into the life of sex, drugs, prison and rehab only to find enough life left or clarity to get a second go at a music career. This duo is wide eyed and ready to land feet firmly planted right in the center of the musical action.

If music communicates the life lived of the artist, then the fusion of rap and punk rock music will accurately speak for Nerves Baddington. Ryan and John have spent years in various musical groups that have all left a mark on their individual sounds as well as personal stories that color the lyrical content of their material. However to say they strictly adhere to any genre is to satisfy a box they never intend to remain inside.

We appreciate the musicality of the group and the fusion of rock and rap without the tired sounds we hear on some radio ready groups. The dark lyrical content wrapped at times in a slightly humorous element is what we feel highlights the personal friendship of the duo while providing a unique sound that is all Nerves Baddington. Nerves Baddington

What you should do is check these guys out LIVE and listen to them rock the stage while they do so without asking anyone’s permission on how it should be done…what could be more punk rock? - Punk City Pages

"Nerves Baddington play by their own rules"

Nerves Baddington plays by their own rules
Posted on October 14, 2015
by Caleb Jones

Nerves Baddington, a local Birmingham band, delivers unique, creative music for their listeners. However, they also deliver your local pharmaceuticals and create t-shirts during the day. John McNaughton, who plays bass, works as a pharmacist during the day, and Ryan “Inkline” Howell, who leads the vocals, makes t-shirts on the side.

Their day jobs do not keep Nerves Baddington from putting out stellar music. Howell said, “Music is my passion. Making it in music is my main goal in life. I’ll be at work and thinking about lyrics and songs, it never stops for me. I’m always going to be making music.”

The hard work that both Howell and McNaugton have been putting is starting to reap profits. “It has been a long journey,” Howell said, “And now I can see things starting to fall in place. We are right there; I can feel it.”

“These last three months have been a whirlwind, and I’m thankful for Ryan because he is always encouraging me that we are on the right track. He keeps us pushing forward, and when he says, ‘trust me,’ I do. It has paid off,” McNaughton said.

A majority of Nerve Baddington’s recent success can be wrapped up into one word, honesty. The band’s lyrics pull directly from what each other is going through and has already gone through. Both members wanted to do something different with Nerves, and being up front and honest, even vulnerable, with everyone that listens is the start.

One of Nerves’ fans, Philipp Roar, said, “They [Nerves Baddington] are just honest with who they are and what they go through, and that makes an impact on the listener. I know I look for artists that I feel like can relate to me and my struggles, and Nerves does that well.”

Howell and McNaughton’s struggles have made them realize that honesty is so important in their lyrics. Howell said, “You want to be able to take people where you have gone, and make people feel what you are feeling, and be able to give people a peak inside my life, while also relating to the listener.”

“I have realized that words bring power. I literally rapped myself into a living hell. Looking back at my dark times, I was speaking into existence negative things. I understand that and now, we as a band, rap honestly about what we have been through, but do not glorify the drugs or alcohol because we know how it messed up our lives at different times. Now we focus on how we want to influence the world,” Howell said.

Nerves uniqueness is not only found in their lyrics, but also in their sound. They combine rap with guitar for a sound unlike most. “We have to do something that sets apart,” McNaughton said.

“In a few years, as everything continues to take off,” Howell said, “I feel like our sound will be one of those things that we have created and Nerves will go down as creating a new sound, and people will say ‘oh that is the sound Nerves Baddington created.’” - Birmingham City Music (Caleb Jones)

"20 Alabama Bands to Watch (and Listen To) in 2016"

Look beyond their rock-tinged hip-hop and you’ll learn the two dudes in duo Nerves Baddington have done 20 years in the Birmingham local music scene. Rapper, guitarist and beats-maker Ryan “Inkline” Howell and bassist John McNaughton recently wrapped the group’s first proper music video, for their song “Addict.” Nerves Baddington have been recording with Substrate Radio’s Jason Hamric producing, putting the final touches on a follow-up to NB’s late-2014 self-titled EP. “We are weighing a few options for the home of our next record and we’re definitely excited to make that announcement in the coming months,” McNaughton says. Nerves Baddington has been performing some of these new songs live, including “Just Crickets” and “Transition,” and hope to play more Birmingham and southeastern shows in coming months. “Our live show is integral to who we are. We feel it separates us from a lot of other hip-hop acts,” McNaughton says. (Photo: Tamika Moore/
Matt Wake – -

"The Nerves Baddington Experience"

The Nerves Baddington Experience

Interview by Ryan Hatch
Contributing Editor Michael B Wilson

If you’ve never heard of Nerves Baddington, you seriously need to get out more. The collaboration of Ryan Howell, AKA Inkline, and John McNaughton, is one of the most unique and fresh acts in town. Their ever-evolving sound is habit-forming and their live show is a sight not to be missed. Since we sat down with these two veterans of the Birmingham music scene, they have added a drummer and live female vocal harmonies to their already explosive line-up. Our own Ryan Hatch had a chance to chat with Ryan and John about the origins of their friendship, Nerves Baddington, and where they are headed.

John, you went to Erwin High School, and there are so many guys from there really making their way in the scene, not just locally, but really worldwide- Billy Luttrell (Hexxus), Adam & Blake Williamson (Black Willis / Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires), Dan Sartain…

JM: Yes! That group of friends, there are so many great bands from that group. Droves is one my very favorites, they're some of the Plate Six guys, Darryl (Jacks) and most of them went to Erwin, too … that's also how I met Ryan. I was right out of high school, we had a lot of mutual friends and we started playing in Valerie #4, our first band together.

RH: Yeah, I went to Pinson, and there were a lot of guys- Future Primitives, those dudes have been playing forever, and their lead singer he was the singer in Valerie #4, so that whole east of Birmingham area, it’s always been a clique of good friends that played music…

So is it something in the water?

JM: (Laughs) Well, I think a lot of us, culturally grew up the same, like our parents were heavily religious, so the very first band we were in, Valerie #4, we kind rode that “Christian” wave

RH: As did a lot of guys, Vesper – Adam’s (Williamson) first band… they did the same

JM: So, if we called ourselves a “Christian Band” that got us into Crush in Tarrant which was a great venue to play. I think we played with, like, MXPX or something like that

RH: Yeah, Starflyer played there, that was my first taste of going to shows and it was easier… I was maybe fifteen when I started going to those shows and my dad being a preacher, it was easy to get him to drop me off, like, ‘yeah, Dad, it’s a Christian rock show’ ... It was the coattail to ride at the time.

JM: Yeah, none of our music was religious or spiritual, at all, but it was a way to get to shows.

So, Ryan, you play guitar during your set, do you consider yourself a “Rapper”?

RH: Yeah…I mean, I guess I prefer musician. I do make all of our beats, aside from obviously John’s basslines, but I program all the drums, synths, all that. I really wanted to make beats. That’s how it all started. I saved up some money and I bought a drum machine. It was a Roland Groove Box, and you know, I taught myself. I had never been around anybody who made beats, or any kind of electronic music. I just really got infatuated with Outkast and Wu-Tang, their music carried that weirdness that I was comfortable with, so I was just like, ‘I’m gonna try this’. Looking back I was making this trip-hop sounding stuff, and it went from there, I started freestyling. DJ Supreme hosted this thing called The Eargasm, like an open mic battle thing, so I just jumped in and started doing these battles and ciphers and stuff.

JM: I actually caught one of those nights. Ryan and I had drifted apart, and someone told me, ‘You know Ryan is rapping now…’ I was, like, what? I showed up at The High Note and saw him battle and, holy shit, he’s really good…

What Hip-hop artists first inspired you?

RH: Theres a lot of them, but one that sticks out, I was in eighth grade and the first cassette tape I ever bought with my own money was Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. I grew up all over Alabama. With my Dad being a preacher, we moved around a lot so, I didn’t have friends to introduce me to music when I was really young. MTV was how I learned about music that I liked- sneaking around watching Guns n Roses videos, that was my first music influence, but by the time I was actually getting in to music, it was Dr. Dre and Too Short. I guess in High School I started getting into Outkast. Listening to Outkast was when I decided I wanted to be a rapper. I was already into music I had already started playing guitar, we had a couple of bands. Valerie #4, which was a shoegazer band- just mellow, psychadellic…

JM: …Christian Rock (both laugh) the time, I was into Sonic Youth, old Smashing Pumpkins, stuff like that. Next it was post-punk stuff like Fugazi… You know, my whole music career has been phases, I’ll get really into something, hone in on it and then move on to something else. The present day is really just all of that combined.

So there is a real Birmingham Sound to your music, but your music is incredibly unique. Do you feel like you are creating or helping to create a new profile for the music in the city?

RH: That’s the idea. Part of the bigger picture for me, I want it to have created a sound that people can pinpoint as The Nerves Baddington Sound. Kinda like the Beastie boys did. We’ve always wanted to do something different, something that sets us apart and changes the way people view the process of creating music. We write songs differently- each song has a different process whether it starts with guitar or a synth, or a beat, or whatever…

JM: It’s kinda grown on us, too. When we started, Ryan had written these songs with acoustic guitar that didn’t really fit into his solo stuff. So he came to me and asked if I wanted to play some basslines over it. Our first show we were billed as Inkline, Ryan had been asked to play at Secret Stages 2014. We had already been talking about doing something like this, so we figured it was the perfect time to just do it. We had no idea that it was gonna become what it has become. At first I wasn’t sold on it- he had to keep saying, ‘just trust me’…but when he started building beats for those songs, I knew we had something really cool. That’s when we started throwing in some effects going back to what we had done before, putting in some of the noisy, shoegazing sound from Valerie #4, some of the aggressive sound from Entropy, just putting it all together into this new thing that I never really expected it to be.

RH: I’d say we spent the first seven or eight months after that first show, just buckling down writing new songs and figuring out how it was all gonna work together. You know, refining our sound and it presented itself fairly quickly but it still took a minute to find that something, whatever it is, to make it work.

JM: Ryan had a lot of drumbeats for some of the stuff, they were kinda like placeholder beats- very stripped down average beats. But, then he did one, I think it was for Shipping ‘Em Out, he was like, ‘you really need to hear this’ it was just holy shit, he’s created this whole other thing. I remember thinking that we gotta go back and do that to some of the others, and that’s how it started and the music took on a mind of its own.

That process really comes through in your music as do the influences, they all come together in that noisy, edgy feeling, it’s almost punk- it sounds like rebellion…

RH: We like to say its hip-hop with a punk rock attitude. It’s got a real punk aesthetic.

JM: While Ryan was listening to Guns N Roses, he embraced hip-hop. I was listening to the Geto Boys but I went the more hardcore/ punk route. That’s the stuff that I really embraced. We both were influenced and liked a lot of diverse stuff, but He leaned toward hip-hop, I focused on the punk thing...We just kinda put those two together and it worked. - BirminghamTonight

"Birmingfamous: HipHop Duo Nerves Baddington"

This duo has been infiltrating the Birmingham scene collectively and individually for more than two decades, gaining momentum until finding their stride with this project. The socially and existentially conscious hip-hop combo has a relatable message and undeniably magnetic energy. Their ability to incorporate aspects of punk, shoegaze, and electronic music allows their experimental sound to draw in fans from just about any corner of the scene. The team has released three music videos. One of them, “Addict,” has accumulated national attention from outlets like MTV and IndiMusic TV. Most recently the band dropped a single called “New Rules,” a preview to the upcoming EP to debut in early 2017.

They have permeated our ears by claiming spots on local radio in addition to rosters of events such as Sloss Fest, Secret Stages, Hi Five Fest, and Sidewalk Film Festival. Their sound is a unique change of pace for the music scene, both locally and on a broader scale, and yet their feet are firmly planted in reality. This duo stays humble and gracious despite their aspirations, drawing from their own experiences and observations with depression, addiction, suppression, and social struggles, which helps retain a personal connection to the listener. Additionally, they have a track record of giving back to the community and working with organizations such as Southern Poverty Law Center, Rape Response: Crisis Center of Birmingham, and Birmingham Aids Outreach.
Like a respirator for Vulcan’s heart, these two are providing our city with a fresh beat. It is a sound track to remind you that Birmingham continues to evolve artistically and consciously. These two are ushering in a new sound with new rules, and the Magic City is pleased to have the escort. Without a doubt, Ryan Howell and John McNaughton of hip-hop duo Nerves Baddington are Birmingfamous. - B-Metro


12-16-14:  Nerves Baddington EP

10-11-16:  New Rules EP

07-28-17:  Dopamine Decoder Ring

07-28-17:  RUN BHM (B-Sides)

10-06-18:  Pretty Penny EP

09-04-20:  New Rules (Inkline Remix)

02-22-22:  micro

02-22-22:  macro

02-23-23:  No Survivors EP



Nerves Baddington is the seamless duo of rapper Inkline and producer Kilgore Doubt. Cut from the same cloth, the two were bandmates since their childhood in Birmingham, AL.  With roots in emceeing and bass, respectively, Inkline and Kilgore create dark, atmospheric beats, under cerebral bars punctuated by catchy hooks. With seven projects to their name, critics have lauded their work as “a jaw-dropping ode to lyricism” with “career-defining verses” from a litany of featured artists. Having shared the stage with Run the Jewels, Danny Brown, Vince Staples, and more, Nerves Baddington has veteran presence both in front of a crowd and in the booth. With their latest EP release (No Survivors) in 2023, and more music on the way, expect to see the group on more stages all over the nation.

Band Members