GRAPHIC BY DENISE THUONG
By JACOB RAMOS
“We just want to uplift people, inspire people, and get people through their day,” Kevin Abstract once said.
On Aug. 23, hip-hop collective BROCKHAMPTON exploded back onto the music scene with their fifth studio album, GINGER.
GINGER originated from what seemed to be a poor situation; however, despite the unfortunate circumstances, GINGER still managed to be a hit.
Kevin Abstract, vocalist and founding member of BROCKHAMPTON, began recording his solo album Arizona Baby when he was hit by a self-described “lack of creativity.” Abstract felt that his current work needed a change of course, and turned to creative partners Matt Champion and Merlyn Wood, which created GINGER
Essentially, the purpose of GINGER is to create lyrics about mental issues such as anxiety or depression “and [put] it on a song that a bunch of people could dance to or something.”
Undoubtedly, BROCKHAMPTON’s apparent quest to invoke an arrangement of emotions was a massive success.
In a display of true musical talent, Abstract and his crew of talented artists displayed a knack for showing raw emotion masked in an upbeat tone. Allusions to popular retro video games such as GoldenEye exemplified a prowess in appealing to a target audience of young adults, who have a higher chance of playing the game that corresponds with the song, which is also named GoldenEye. With the reference to the vintage Nintendo 64 classic, Matt Champion explained how his partner took advantage of their split up, “[taking] everything, from pots and pans to fans and GoldenEye.” This is unique because you don’t see many references to retro video games in music, let alone hip-hop.
In a show of true vulnerability, member of BROCKHAMPTON Merlyn Wood opened up on mental health in the opening song “NO HALO” with lines regarding his own struggles with self worth and depression. He elaborates in question form asking “Do I matter? I’m ecstatic, I’m depressed.” Wood continuously expresses his search for a higher power, exclaiming “More like God’s special mess, never had no halo. [it’s trippy], I can barely hike it out of bed.”
In GINGER, Wood and the entire BROCKHAMPTON lineup captures emotions and easily transitions them into a sound that greatly encaptures the audience.
Demonstrating raw emotion, BROCKHAMPTON not only showed ability to discuss controversial topics such as mental health, but also relationship issues. In the current top rated song on GINGER, SUGAR, member Dom McLennon raps on his problems with his lover, avoiding cheesy lyrics in favor of hard hitting intricate bars. This song does not stray far from the core purpose on mental health with lyrics “[Spending] all my nights alone, waiting for you to call me. You’re the only one I want by my side when I fall asleep. It’s hard but we need each other.” These moving lines allude to Mclennon’s struggles with substance abuse and how he craves his partner’s love to be there for him in his quest for sobriety.
Simply put, BROCKHAMPTON’s members willing vulnerability speaks volumes on tracks such as SUGAR. There are not many artists, let alone full groups, that allow their fans to see the soft spot in their heart. As a listener, hearing how emotional an artist can be really humanizes them and makes them feel closer to you.
As a result, it is these verses incorporated in BROCKHAMPTON’s album that truly make GINGER the ultimate powerhouse album in every way, from lyricsism to production to overall replay value.
Consequently, Abstract and his alternative hip-hop boy band created a masterpiece of powerful lyrics with an amazing unique sound that truly stays fresh. Through meaningful verses packed with emotion and beats that make you feel in sync with the song, BROCKHAMPTON definitely accomplished their goal of expressing touchy emotions in a positive, musically sound manner.