BROCKHAMPTON Chills Out on GINGER

Trey Williams, Op/Ed Editor

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BROCKHAMPTON just released their 5th studio album GINGER. BROCKHAMPTON is a hip-hop “boy-band” formed in 2015. 

The group had a meteoric rise to fame in 2017 with the release of their SATURATION trilogy, completed in just under six months. Critics praised the trilogy for the chemistry of the seven vocalists of the group over catchy and unique instrumentals.

The trilogy had a good balance of hard, classic hip-hop tracks and more introspective, melodic work.The group went from nobody to one of the most exciting prospects in hip-hop. 

Just after getting signed to RCA records, one of their main members, Ameer Vann, was kicked from the group after allegations of sexual assault. The group had to scrap their album that was set for release in the following weeks, due to the Vann’s prominent placement on the album. 

They made and released Iridescence in late September after making the album in twelve days. This album saw the group go in a darker, experimental direction. This record was far more polarizing than their previous work, leading some to believe that the stress of the departure of Ameer Vann had caused the group to lose the chemistry that made the group so impressive in the first place.

That history brings us to GINGER. This album feels like the polar opposite to Iridescence. Iridescence mostly attempted to remain “hard” through their tracklist, taking less time to reflect in their lyrics. GINGER does the exact opposite. This album does not have any songs that can be compared to songs like “J’OUVERT” or “NEW ORLEANS” in aggressive energy, but it makes up for it with their low-key, depressed sound on this album.

The album has a fantastic start with a fantastic streak of songs. The song “NO HALO” showcases the group’s change in sound. The instrumental is extremely clean, featuring a somber acoustic guitar and squishy percussion. The verses from every member are great, and the chorus from Merlyn, Matt, and artist Deb Never is beautiful. This is the most hi-fi song they have produced. 

Easily the highlight of the album is their song “DEARLY DEPARTED”, which is the first time the departure of Ameer is talked about by the group. The song starts out melancholy, with verses from Kevin Abstract and Matt Champion about dealing with the loss of who they considered one of their best friends. The best verse from the song comes from Dom, where the tone of the song totally changes. He raps about how betrayed he feels, and ends his verse with storming out of the studio. It’s the most powerful song on the album. 

The songs “BOY BYE” and “IF YOU PRAY RIGHT” are two of the few classic BROCKHAMPTON bops, though I like the beat on the former more than the ladder. These songs are the exception to the rule in energy and tone. 

My personal favorite song off the album has to be the title track “GINGER”, with a MGMT influenced beat and more low-key vocals. This is a soothing song, especially the vocals from bearface. The ending back and forth between bearface and Dom is one of my favorite spots on the album. 

I did not think this album was perfect. This album seems to have the opposite problems as Iridescence. While that album saw the group go so hard that there wasn’t much room for introspection, Ginger is not nearly as fun. That isn’t always a bad thing, it depends on what side of BROCKHAMPTON you prefer. Part of what I loved about the SATURATION trilogy was the group’s diversity in sound. Ginger is too soft, Iridescence is too hard. 

There are a few duds for me on the tracklist, “BIG BOY” being one. The “chorus” of this song is too goofy for me, and it especially doesn’t work with the mood of the song. 

Overall, this is a pretty good album. This is not something I am going to have on repeat all the time due to the downtrodden, less hype mood of the album. I might even listen to Iridescence more even though it isn’t as good just because I’ll be in that mood more often. Still, this is a quality album you should not miss. I’ll give this album a 3.5/5