By Josephine Cruz
It’s only been three years since BROCKHAMPTON released their first mixtape, but the “boy band” that famously formed through a Kanye West fan forum has lived a lifetime since. Among their biggest wins was securing a $15-million record deal with RCA; an achievement offset by the departure of popular member (and possibly best rapper), Ameer Vann, amid sexual misconduct allegations.
They’ve made it through hell, and their latest effort Ginger is the story of what it’s like adjusting to the other side. This quip from de facto leader Kevin Abstract on “Dearly Departed” describes the overall vibe: “No lies, ’bout how me and my brothers been traumatized / And I must keep creating truths and hooks to get up outta this hell for myself.” While it’s not exactly triumphant or jubilant, it’s honest, and articulates more complicated and mature emotions than we’ve seen in the past from the group.
The album starts off swinging with the four best tracks in succession—with an appearance from buzzy British rapper slowthai in there for good measure. The vocal styles and themes feel a bit disjointed at times, which seems inevitable in a group so large, but the stellar production of Romil Hemnani and Jabari Manwa holds everything together nicely.
Some producers may struggle to create canvases that can accomodate so many contrasting styles, but these guys navigate the group’s performance needs with ease to create the emotionally fun ride that is Ginger.
Best Track: Boy ByeBROCKHAMPTON, Ginger