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Brockhampton - The Family (Album Review)

Wednesday, 23 November 2022 Written by Will Marshall

Photo: Conor Cunningham

It’s challenging for any artist to call it a day, but bowing out on your own terms is always preferable to an ignominious end. Enter alternative hip hop collective Brockhampton. Since forming in 2010 they’ve been a breath of fresh air, discussing sexuality, self-discovery and their own brotherhood in a world that has sometimes been dominated by hyper-masculine and misogynistic lyrics.

Advertised as their final album, ‘The Family’ was quickly undercut by the surprise release of 'TM’ only a day later. Still, it is a bittersweet send-off that could have filled the role of parting gift on its own. Addressing sexual misconduct allegations against former member Ameer Vann (Kevin Abstract raps on closer Brockhampton that people are “mad Ameer and me started talking again”) it also reflects their career as a collective and the unruly, restless creative spirit that comes with being so many strong. 

There areplenty of big beats here and choppy sampling on RZA and Take It Back, while All That is powered by outsized pop hooks. The juxtaposition with the LP’s more melancholic moments, such as the dreamy Prayer, gives us perhaps the most earnest Brockhampton we’ve ever seen. 

They meditate on the impact of fame on their relationships, with Abstract declaring on The Ending:  “This is the most corrupted vision / I turned my friendship into a business into an empire.” It’s hard not to see this as more of a therapy session to tie up final loose ends rather than an album in the more typical sense. 

Unflinchingly honest, ‘The Family’ pushes the envelope with its out-there production, which features pitch shifted soul samples that fall out of time alongside looping beats. As part of their final statement, it’s bold, raw and their most essential work.

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