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  • Fred Smith

Brockhampton - GINGER

GINGER is boy band/rap group, Brockhampton’s sixth album and their second since controversial member Ameer Vann left the group. Released August 23, 2019 after four promotional tracks, ‘I BEEN BORN AGAIN’, ‘IF YOU PRAY RIGHT’, ‘BOY BYE’ and ‘NO HALO’ were released. In addition to this a teaser for ‘LOVE ME FOR LIFE’ was released when the album was first properly announced in July 2019. Kevin Abstract stated that the album was inspired by actor Shia LaBeouf, ‘Shit I’m On’ by DJ Muggs and Roc Marciano and ‘The Best of Mt. Olive Primitive Baptist Church, Louvale, GA’ by the Mt. Olive Primitive Baptist Church.

NO HALO – The album begins with a good acoustic guitar instrumental and a good verse from Matt Champion. The vocals from Deb Never and Matt are also good too. Merlyn takes on a different style as he sounds calmer than he has done on previous records. Dom McLennon’s verse is emotional and has a great flow. Joba comes in with a mix of rapping of rapping and singing and he performs well. Finally, Bearface comes in with more good vocals. This track is good all round, but nothing really stands out apart from Dom’s verse which contained more emotion and it was better performed than the rest.

SUGAR – More of a love song kicked off with guest vocals from Ryan Beatty. Dom’s verse heavily uses autotune which gave me ‘808s and Heartbreak’ vibes which worked very well. Matt sounds almost bored on his verse but Bearface’s vocals are great. Overall the vocals from Ryan Beatty, Bearface and Kevin Abstract are all very good and they complement each other well, Dom’s verse is great, but Matt’s verse lets the track down in my opinion.

BOY BYE – Dom kicks off the track again, his flow is great again, but something seems off about his voice. Matt sounds bored on his verse again as he continues to underperform. Kevin’s first rapped verse is ok and Matt’s vocals on the chorus aren’t great. Bearface takes on a kind of rapped verse which sounds quite good. Joba’s vocals on the outro are great. This track was ok, although I don’t think any of the members really performed to their full potential.

HEAVEN BELONGS TO YOU – Half interlude, half feature track from slowthai which pairs with the track, ‘IF YOU PRAY RIGHT’ which makes ‘IF YOU PRAY RIGHT, HEAVEN BELONGS TO YOU’ when put together. This is a really cool track on the album as slowthai performs well and I like the religioys link it makes with IF YOU PRAY RIGHT.

ST. PERCY – More of a hard-hitting beat with a darker tone from Kevin (in comparison to other verses so far). Despite this tone, the lyrics are more self-confident than they have been. Matt’s bored sounding tone works much better on this track as it fits better with the beat and Dom’s quality remains very high. Bearface sort of raps again but it still works quite well. Aggressive outro from Merlyn fits much better with his style. Overall, this is the first track where I feel like all the members performed well and they all worked well together rather than as individuals or groups within the group.

IF YOU PRAY RIGHT – I really like the trumpet instrumental and Dom’s style works brilliantly with it, his flow on his verse is incredible. Matt uses a different tone, but it still doesn’t really work for me. Merlyn’s verse works very well with his style, but I don’t like the chorus from Kevin. Joba’s verse in his passive aggressive, slightly psychopathic tone is very good. The vocals from Kevin on the outro are much better. The momentum isn’t kept by all after the previous track. Again, the track as a whole is good but is let down by members not performing as well as they can.

DEARLY DEPARTED – This is the first Brockhampton track which really focuses on the departure of Ameer Vann and it is very good. Kevin’s verse details how he and the others dealt with the trauma and his flow and the tone are great. Joba’s vocals on the bridge are incredible. Matt details more about people he’s lost in his life. His tone works again with the darker theme of the track making for his best verse on the album. But the last verse from Dom almost makes the album for me. The emotion and aggression that comes through as he details how Ameer betrayed him mixed with his incredible flow make for an absolutely incredible verse and the best on the album by far, maybe even the best ever from a Brockhampton member.

I BEEN BORN AGAIN – From a great track to a very average track. Kevin’s verse is boring and doesn’t remotely work with the instrumental at points. Merlyn’s verse is ok, but it doesn’t have the same bounce as usual. Dom’s voice sounds slightly off again. Joba’s pitched down verse is pretty good, but I don’t really get the point of the effect on his voice. The outro from Matt is literally pointless as it doesn’t really link to the track in any way.

GINGER – Another track with more of a depressed tone. The vocals from Kevin and Bearface are great at both points and Kevin’s verse matches these standards. Matt’s verse does too as more emotion comes through. All round good performance.

BIG BOY – Has the obvious theme of growing up and moving forward. Joba’s verse is great as he shows a lot of emotion, one of the better ones on the album. However, the chorus just sounds weird. The instrumentals not my favourite and the lyrics aren’t great either. Bearface has another great verse though. Overall a good song but is let down by the chorus.

LOVE ME FOR LIFE – More of a traditional Brockhampton beat but with darker rapping. Kevin’s choppy flow doesn’t really work for me. Joba has more of psychopathic tone again but it works well with the darker theme. Similar with Merlyn’s verse who sounds like he’s lost his mind.

VICTOR ROBERTS – Introduces the story of unknown rapper who Dom McLennon apparently met on Xbox, Victor Roberts over an emotional instrumental. Follows the overall theme of being or feeling betrayed, in this case, someone Victor let into his family home turned out to have a lot of drugs, leading to a police raid on his home. Victors flow and overall delivery is great. This is followed by a great closing to the album as Ryan Beatty and Bearface combine with great vocals to say they are grateful for the people who are loyal and the people they can trust.

Overall Thoughts – This album is not like anything Brockhampton have come out with before. There are no catchy beats with the same aggressive flows. The emotional journey they’ve been on since Ameer left comes through as each track seems to relate their feelings towards him in some way. These tracks contain a lot of emotion and many standout performances. The consistency can be questioned, however, with some underwhelming performances. For example, Matt Champion was nowhere near his usual quality. He mostly sounded bored and just didn’t fit with the style they were going for on the tracks, he did still have some glimpses of quality though. In addition to this, the overall style of the album didn’t really fit with Merlyn’s style. Kevin wasn’t amazing but he wasn’t bad either. The overall standout performer was Dom for me. He had some incredible verses as he really emerged as the most talented rapper in the group. The album left me wanting a solo album from him. Joba has only improved since Brockhampton began and he continued his development with some great verses and vocals throughout the album. Bearface was utilised a lot more than he has been in previous records and he fits brilliantly with the style, adding a lot of emotion.

Favourite Track – DEARLY DEPARTED

Great Tracks – HEAVEN BELONGS TO YOU, ST. PERCY, IF YOU PRAY RIGHT, GINGER, VICTOR ROBERTS

Good Tracks – NO HALO, SUGAR, BOY BYE

OK Tracks – BIG BOY, LOVE ME FOR LIFE

Least Favourite Track – I BEEN BORN AGAIN

Rating – 7.1

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©2020 by Fred Smith Music Reviews.