BROCKHAMPTON – “ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE (PLUS PACK)” review

This is the surprise 2nd EP from San Marcos, Texas hip hop boyband BROCKHAMPTON. Originally emerging under the name AliveSinceForever in 2010, they put out a self-titled EP in 2013 under the radar before catching some attention off their debut mixtape ALL-AMERICAN TRASH back in 2016. However, it wouldn’t be until the following year that we saw them completely reinventing themselves by dropping the near-perfectly creative SATURATION trilogy. Then there’s the infamous sexual misconduct scandal revolving around the boyband’s most popular lyricist at the time Ameer Vann halfway through 2018, which resulted in him being kicked out of BROCKHAMPTON. A decision that to this very day resulted in many people to fall off with the boys. Their next 2 albums iridescence & GINGER were both released to moderate reception, but they eventually took 2020 off & returned to form a couple months back off ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE. However after being initially released with the box set as CD exclusive bonus tracks, Kevin Abstract & company have finally decided to make them available for streaming.

“PRESSURE” is pretty much Merlyn Wood & Dom McLennon on top of a generic trap beat showing off, but then the 2nd half “BOW WOW” is pretty much a brief ssgkobe solo cut with a summery instrumental & Kevin Abstract on the hook taking it back to the fashion style of the early 2000’s.

The next song “SEX” finds the whole gang together on top of some hi-hats & synthesizers to rap about fucking, but then the EP finishes off with the remix & original version of “JEREMIAH”. The lyrics on both versions are the same proclaiming themselves as profits, but the difference between them is that the remix has a guitar intro, the vocals are pitched up & there’s a shorter beat outro. The original is the other away around.

I’ve said before that ROADRUNNER is the most consistent BROCKHAMPTON album I’ve heard since SATURATION III & that still stands. However, I’m kinda torn on this EP. None of these joints are necessarily amazing or horrible, they just feel like mediocre throwaways to me.

Score: 2.5/5

BROCKHAMPTON – “ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE” review

BROCKHAMPTON is a hip hop boy band that originated in San Marcos, Texas in 2010 via the “KanyeToTheForum under the original name AliveSinceForever. But when things started to look good for them after they released the SATURATION trilogy to universal acclaim in 2017, one of their founding members Ameer Vann was kicked out midway through the following year due to sexual misconduct. The boys’ next 2 albums following iridescence & GINGER were both released to moderate reception & after taking 2020 off, Kevin Abstract & the gang are returning from the shadows by dropping their 6th & allegedly penultimate album.

“BUZZCUT” is a off-the-wall opener as Kevin & Danny Brown come through with some conscious undertones through their lyrics backed by a psychedelic instrumental from Jabari Manwa. The next song “Chain On” goes into a more cloud rap direction as Kevin connects with JPEGMAFIA to speak out against police brutality whereas “Count on Me” is a summery anthem about how everything will be ok regardless of what they say & even though I think Matt Champion & A$AP Rocky both kill their verses, I can’t say the same for SoGoneSoFlexy.

The track “Bankroll” is a hazy trap banger with Merlyn Wood, Jabari & A$AP Ferg to show off their wealth while “The Light” is pretty much JOBA & Kevin venting about something being missing deep inside them over an ominous boom bap instrumental. The song “Windows” everyone reuniting with SoGoneSoFlexy to talk about how crazy they are with an icier instrumental than the previous cut & then “I’ll Take You On” finds Charlie Wilson joining Matt & bearface to cook up an gorgeous alternative R&B joint.

The instrumental on “Old News” kinda reminds me of Baby Bash’s “Suga Suga” for some odd reason as the boys tap in Baird to address the games their lovers put them through, but then Matt & JOBA get together on “What’s the Occasion?” to vent about how “a million little pieces all add up to nothing lately” on top of an acoustic/boom bap instrumental with some occasional synths. Chad Hugo laces the piano ballad “When I Ball” that sees Matt & Dom McLennon looking back on their younger days whereas the chaotically-produced “Don’t Shoot Up the Party” finds Kevin & Matt speaking against the bigotry in America. The track “Dear Lord” is a short, a capella bearface solo cut about his brother needing help & then “The Light, Pt. II” is an optimistic, almost gospel-flavored closer from Kevin & JOBA.

If anyone’s been turned off by these guys given the moderate reception of their last 2 albums, then I highly recommend giving this a shot because this is their most consistent effort since SATURATION III. I really dig how they started to incorporate more outside collaborators even though not all of them stick the landing & the boys do a great job at showing listeners what’s been going on in their world ever since GINGER came out.

Score: 4/5

BROCKHAMPTON – “GINGER” review

This is the 5th full-length album from San Marcos, Texas hip hop boyband BROCKHAMPTON. They first came together with an average debut mixtape in 2016 called ALL-AMERICAN TRASH, but it wouldn’t be until the following year that we saw them completely reinventing themselves by dropping the near-perfectly creative SATURATION trilogy. Then there’s the infamous sexual misconduct scandal revolving around the boyband’s most popular lyricist Ameer Vann last May, which resulted in him being kicked out of BROCKHAMPTON. A decision that to this very day is still polarizing by many. However, I think they managed to pull through shortly after with their last full-length album iridescence. Fast forward 11 months later, here we are with GINGER.

The album kicks off with “NO HALO”, where the boys sans de facto leader Kevin Abstract venting about personal issues over an acoustic instrumental from Jabari Manwa. The next song “SUGAR” gets romantic over another acoustic instrumental while the track “BOY BYE” talks about each member’s highs & lows over a quirky beat from Romil Hemnani & Q3. The short “HEAVEN BELONGS TO YOU” is a completely random slowthai song while the track “ST. PERCY” finds the boys charismatically bragging over a bassy instrumental & I absolutely love the Missy Elliott/Timbaland vibes during the hook. The track “IF YOU PRAY RIGHT” gets spiritual over a prominent tuba with Dom McLennon starting it off in a charming fashion while the song “DEARLY DEPARTED” addresses Ameer Vann’s dismissal over a cavernously melodic beat.

The track “I BEEN BORN AGAIN” talk about their newfound fame over a minimalist beat while the titular song finds Kevin teaming with Matt Champion & bearface to get a bit darker on the topical end over an inebriating beat. The track “BIG BOY” sees Kevin, bearface & JOBA recalling their childhood experiences over a dream-like instrumental while the penultimate song “LOVE ME FOR LIFE” finds everyone from then previous joint getting with Merlyn Wood over a lively yet subdued instrumental. The album then finishes with “VICTOR ROBERTS”, which is an introduction to a rapper with the same name over a bare piano instrumental.

This is the boys’ weakest album so far, but it’s still solid. Of course each song stands out in it’s own way, but it kinda lacks in catchiness both rapping-wise & instrumentally. Hopefully, they’ll step it up on the next effort.

Score: 3.5/5

BROCKHAMPTON – “iridescence” review

BROCKHAMPTON is a hip hop “boyband” that originated in San Marcos, Texas in 2015. They dropped a flawed yet decent mixtape in 2016 called ALL-AMERICAN TRASH but in 2017, they completely reinvented themselves by dropping 3 near-perfectly creative albums with the SATURATION trilogy. However, things this year looked bleak for them in part of Ameer Vann (who was featured on the cover of all 3 SATURATION albums) was kicked out in May due to sexual misconduct. They then dropped 3 solid singles over the summer but now, they’re finally returning with their 4th full-length album.

Things start off with “NEW ORLEANS”, where they talk about how they’re calling their own shots over a gritty beat. The next track “THUG LIFE” sees the boyband’s de facto leader Kevin Abstract linking up with his older brother Dom McLennon alongside bearface to talk about depression over a beautiful piano instrumental while the song “BERLIN” sees Dom getting with Matt Champion & JOBA to talk shit over an abrasive beat. The “SOMETHING ABOUT HIM” interlude is an endearing tribute to Kevin’s husband Jaden Walker with a smooth instrumental from Romil Hemnani & Q3, but it sounds unfinished.

The track “WHERE THE CASH AT” sees Merlyn Wood & Matt Champion talks about their new rich life over a bouncy beat while the song “WEIGHT” is a heartfelt look into the boyband’s inner demons over some strings, but then it constantly switches from drum & bass with a piano to just simply punchy drums. The track “DISTRICT” is a club banger over a video gamey beat & after the “LOOPHOLE” interlude, we go into the song “TAPE”. Here, the boyband talks about their insecurities over a gloomy beat with skittering drums. The track “J’OUVERT” talks about success over a chaotic beat & while everyone’s performance on here was great, JOBA’s angry verse stood out to me the most.

The song “HONEY” gets braggadocious over an electro-funk beat while the track “VIVID” talks about how they’re making money now over an eerie electronic beat. The song “SAN MARCOS” is a guitar ballad about wanting more out of life while the penultimate track “TONYA” talks about unstable stardom over a prominent piano. The short switch up during Kevin’s verse & JOBA’s bridge was just ok, though. The album then finishes with “FABRIC”, where the boyband talks about still being depressed despite their newfound success & I absolutely love how the beat constantly switches throughout.

Being one of my most anticipated albums of the year, this did not disappoint. BROCKHAMPTON continues to be the most unique group in today’s hip hop landscape as their sound on here is refreshingly different than that of the SATURATION trilogy & I’ve also noticed that the chemistry between every member has improved.

Score: 4/5

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