Ameer Vann – “EMMANUEL” review

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Ameer Vann is a 22 year old rapper from Houston, Texas who came up as one of the original members of the most beloved hip hop boyband of this decade: BROCKHAMPTON. He played a key-role in their SATURATION trilogy in 2017 but last spring, he was kicked out of the boyband for sexual misconduct allegations. I said this in my review of BROCKHAMPTON’s latest album GINGER & I’ll say it again right now, but his removal from the boyband was a decision that is still polarizing by many to this very day. Ameer completely disappeared after his dismissal, but now he’s coming out of the shadows with his 2nd EP.

It all kicks off with the title track, where Ameer vents about his inner demons over a rubbery bass-line from Cool & Dre of all people. The next song “Pop Trunk” compares & contrasts his past & present self over a generically cloudy trap beat while the track “Glock 19” gets violent over a syrupy instrumental. The song “Los Angeles” has a dark hip house beat from Hit-Boy that’s somewhat interesting, but the lyrics & the tone of Ameer’s voice sound like they come from a place of bitterness. You didn’t lose your friends to fame, you lost them because of your actions. The penultimate track “Sunday Night” talks about drug use over a comatose instrumental & then EP then finishes off with “Plastic”, which pretty much sounds like an unfinished demo.

And that’s the thing: For a comeback that a lot of people including myself were waiting for, the results are pretty lukewarm. It’s probably his darkest work yet granted, but it’s so 1-dimensional & monotonous. Even the beats that Cool & Dre and Hit-Boy bring to the table are just so basic, that it’s disappointing. If Ameer continues to make anymore music in the future, he can certainly do better than this.

Score: 2.5/5

BROCKHAMPTON – “SATURATION III” review

With 2017 drawing to a close, California based hip hop boyband BROCKHAMPTON is giving us their 3rd full-length album & the final installment of their highly acclaimed SATURATION trilogy. The album starts off with “BOOGIE”, where they’re talking about how they’re taking over the game & the instrumental from Romil Hemnani & Jabari Manwa will make you wanna throw a party. The next track “ZIPPER” talks about their continuing rise to fame & the beat is infectious as Hell. The song “JOHNNY” is basically the group going back & forth reflecting about them during their adolescence up until now & the jazzy horn sample is super dope. The track “LIQUID” talks about their individual rags to riches stories & the beat is super murky.

After the “CINEMA 1” skit, we then go into the next song “STUPID”. Here, they talk about not wanting boys to see what’s in their phones & the last 2 verses from Dom McLennon along with his brother & BROCKHAMPTON de facto leader Kevin Abstract fits it perfectly. The track “BLEACH” talks about their demons over a druggy instrumental (with the deepest verse coming from Ameer Vann) &  then the song “ALASKA” talks about feelin’ brand new over some strings. The synths during the hook are great as well. The track “HOTTIE” sees the group talking their consciouses & I absolutely love how JOBA goes back & forth with both Merlyn Wood & Matt Champion on here.

After the “CINEMA 2” skit, we then get into the next song “SISTER / NATION”. Where they talk about finding themselves & their days are coming to rubble over a beat that starts off abrasive yet noisy, but then transitions into something spacey. The track “RENTAL” essentially tackles the idea of the collective losing it all & the beat from Romil alongside Q3 is pretty spacey. The penultimate song “STAINS” expresses their gratefulness of where they are now over a Neptunes-esque instrumental. After the “CINEMA 3” skit, we then go into the closer “TEAM”. It starts off with bearface. singing over a guitar, but then it changes into something more funky as the other members go back & forth with each other as they get semi-political.

As expected, BROCKHAMPTON finished the SATURATION trilogy the way they started it: near perfectly. The production is more experimental & it’s a bit more introspective. Can’t wait to see what they’re gonna do on their 4th album Team Effort in 2018

Score: 4.5/5

BROCKHAMPTON – “SATURATION II” review

Almost 3 months after their breakout debut SATURATION, San Marcos hip hop boyband BROCKHAMPTON is now delivering a follow-up. The opener “GUMMY” addresses their haters along with how they’ll ride with each other until the end over an amazingly eerie g-funk instrumental from in-house producers Romil Hemnani & Q3. The next song “QUEER” starts off even more abrasive both sonically & with the first 2 verses that’re delivered by Matt Champion & Merlyn Wood, but then it sounds more relaxing & the way they express & transition into each mood are just flawless. The track “JELLO” talks about their newfound success over an suspicious sounding instrumental & while the hook from the collective’s de facto leader Kevin Abstract is high-pitched, it is catchy. The short Ameer Vann solo cut “TEETH” vents about going from getting in trouble all his life to tanning on an island over some beautiful female soul vocals in the background. The track “SWAMP” talks about them going from rags to riches & while Jabari Manwa’s production does sound Neptunes inspired, it doesn’t come off as generic whatsoever. After a 40-second skit of Robert Ontenient sending a message to a lover, things then transition into the next song “TOKYO” where the group vents about internal conflict along with finding yourself over a jazzy instrumental. However, the Trick Daddy inspired hook from Kevin is just meh to me. The track “JESUS” solely has these somber keys throughout & it sees Kevin Abstract rapping a verse directed towards his ex-lover for the first half, but then we get a beautifully sung outro from bearface. on the other half. The track “CHICK” pretty much tells the internet gangsters to relax & that they’re only gonna become more popular over an ominous yet galactic-sounding instrumental. The song “JUNKY” has a hardcore beat & the way that they vent about their individual problems was very passionate. Especially with the first verse, where Kevin Abstract fires back at all the people who criticize him for being bisexual. After a skit where Robert’s praying in Spanish, we are then treated to the next song “FIGHT”. Here, Ameer & Dom McLennon talking about being bigger than just a target & not letting their worlds be attempted over an instrumental with a creepy Middle Eastern vibe to it. Funny enough, Kiko Merley’s production on the next track “SWEET” sounds kinda reminiscent to Madlib’s Beat Konducta in India album & out of all the verses, the last one from JOBA really stood out to me. Mainly because of the way he continuously changes the pitch of his voice throughout the duration of it à la Kendrick Lamar. The song “GAMBA” sees the group singing about being happy with their lovers over a spacey instrumental that sounds just as beautiful & mood-enlightening. The penultimate track “SUNNY” talks about not wanting to see bad days along with smoking after talking to Ameer’s parole officer over a twangy guitar with a Southern tone to it. The closer “SUMMER” is pretty much bearface. is singing about how his male crush should be his over some somber piano keys, but then comes in a guitar that sounds reminiscent to the psychedelic rock era from the 60’s & you can’t help but just slowly groove along to it. Not a lot of sequel albums live up to the hype of their predecessors, but this is one of those rare occasions where it actually does. It’s similar to the first one in a few ways (i.e. the letters of the song titles along with the Ameer solo cut & the bearface. closer) but it sounds so much different & it’s just as consistent, creative & passionate than before. This definitely makes me anticipate SATURATION III to drop by the end of the year, because they’re really continuing to be a breath of fresh air in today’s hip hop scene

Score: 4.5/5