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Brockhampton - Ginger (Album Review)

Monday, 09 September 2019 Written by Jacob Brookman

It’s been a frenetic few years for the DIY rap outfit Brockhampton. Having met through online hip hop forums, the self declared boyband released three well received albums throughout 2017 (‘The Saturation Trilogy’), before key member Ameer Vann was kicked out of the group in light of sexual misconduct allegations. 

They bounced back towards the end of 2018 with ‘Iridescence’, a record of intense, ragged emotions that entered the U.S. Billboard charts at #1, but which suggested an oncoming creative implosion. Instead, their fifth LP, ‘Ginger’ is a fun record defined by maturity and cohesion, suggesting the 13-or-so man group is here to stay.

The musical genealogy of ‘Ginger’ is complex. Tracks like Victor Roberts and Sugar are essentially R&B ballads which, traced far enough back, take their cues from melodic vocal groups such as Bone, Thugs-n-Harmony and P.M. Dawn.

Elsewhere, more poppy rap tracks such as the opener No Halo and If You Pray Right bring things closer the urban whiteboy grooves of *NSYNC and Macklemore. It’s a disarmingly well curated blend, encompassing '90s, '00s and contemporary hip hop.

This is demonstrated by the standout moment, Boy Bye, which marries Latin grooves with itchy trap drums and naughty chromatic motifs. The verses are divided between Jabari Manwa, Matt Champion, bandleader Kevin Abstract and show-stealer Ciarán ‘Bearface’ McDonald, who somehow turns the thing incredibly camp and sleazy and introverted within the space of about eight bars.

Perhaps the most visceral track is Dearly Departed, which addresses the expulsion of Vann. It opens with Abstract questioning “What’s the point in havin’ a best friend if you end up losin’ him?” while Dom McLennon is less quizzical: “Pass the weight off to your friends and never face the truth / Because you never learned how to be a man [...] You could talk to God / I don't wanna hear, motherfucker.”

While ‘Ginger’ lacks the distinctive sludginess of their early work, it is a highly enjoyable and varied rap album. The economics of major label hip hop in 2019 demand a heavy pipeline of music from artists, often to the detriment of overall quality, so the fact that there has been a full year since their previous album is noteworthy. 

This is a legit collective capable of executing across a panoply of different styles, backgrounds and world-views, and the result is a record of high quality and intrigue. Or, to put in relatable British terms, they’re like Blazin’ Squad, but good.

Brockhampton Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat October 26 2019 - VANCOUVER British Columbia - PNE Forum (Canada)
Sun October 27 2019 - SEATTLE Washington - WaMu Theater (USA)
Wed October 30 2019 - SALT LAKE CITY Utah - Union (USA)
Fri November 01 2019 - PHOENIX Arizona - Van Buren (USA)
Tue November 05 2019 - FRESNO California - Rainbow Ballroom (USA)
Fri November 08 2019 - STANFORD California - Frost Amphitheatre (USA)
Wed November 13 2019 - SAN ANTONIO Texas - Aztec Theatre San Antonio (USA)
Thu November 14 2019 - DALLAS Texas - Bomb Factory (USA)
Fri November 15 2019 - AUSTIN Texas - ACL Live At The Moody Theater (USA)
Sun November 17 2019 - NEW ORLEANS Louisiana - Fillmore New Orleans (USA)
Tue November 19 2019 - MIAMI BEACH Florida - Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater (USA)
Wed November 20 2019 - ATLANTA Georgia - Coca-Cola Roxy Theatre (USA)
Fri November 22 2019 - NEW YORK New York - Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden (USA)
Sun November 24 2019 - BOSTON Massachusetts - Agganis Arena (USA)
Mon November 25 2019 - WASHINGTON District of Columbia - Anthem (USA)
Wed November 27 2019 - PHILADELPHIA Pennsylvania - Fillmore Philadelphia (USA)
Fri November 29 2019 - TORONTO Ontario - Coca-Cola Coliseum (Canada)
Sat November 30 2019 - DETROIT Michigan - Detroit Masonic Temple (USA)
Tue December 03 2019 - MINNEAPOLIS Minnesota - Armory Minneapolis (USA)
Wed December 04 2019 - MILWAUKEE Wisconsin - Rave - Eagles Club (USA)
Fri December 06 2019 - CHICAGO Illinois - Aragon Ballroom (USA)
Mon December 09 2019 - DENVER Colorado - Mission Ballroom (USA)
Fri December 13 2019 - LOS ANGELES California - Hollywood Palladium (USA)

Click here to compare & buy Brockhampton Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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