GINGER - BROCKHAMPTON
After taking six months to rest and regroup, dynamic rap group BROCKHAMPTON has done it again. Their new album, GINGER, intertwines electric pieces of rap with compelling songs of self-reflection. After kicking rapper Ameer Vann out of the group because of sexual misconduct allegations, BROCKHAMPTON’s newest album is brimming with loss and deeper meaning.
Some of GINGER’s tracks remind me of songs from the boy’s 2017 SATURATION trilogy––packed and busy. “BOY BYE,” in the classic BROCKHAMPTON style, is almost hectic. The lyrics aren’t overly somber, and the song seems to be the most lighthearted track on the album. As one of the early releases, it succeeded in garnering hype for the drop and making me want to get up and dance.
Overarchingly, though, GINGER is heavy and reflective. I enjoyed this unexpected change of pace from BROCKHAMPTON, but I think the band struggled with redefining their identity in this shift.
Instead of basing GINGER on a foundation of who BROCKHAMPTON is, the album is grounded in who they have lost.
No song better illustrates the difficulty of moving past the loss of Vann than “DEARLY DEPARTED.” This beautiful diss track seems to be all about the impact Vann left on the group, and this impact was large. After BROCKHAMPTON decided to kick Vann out of the group, for good reason, the boys disbanded for six months to digest the incident and rediscover themselves. GINGER was created and released after this hiatus, but it is obvious that many members have still not gotten over the messy split.
“DEARLY DEPARTED” ends with an emotional verse from Dom Mclennon who, by the end of the song, is audibly upset. He yells the last verse, “You could talk to God, I don’t wanna hear, motherfucker,” clearly referencing Vann and his repentive turn to religion. In fact, many of GINGER’s song titles allude to religion, including its opening track, “NO HALO.”
“NO HALO” is one of my favorite songs on the album. It roped me in. It’s tone is so starkly different than what I was expecting from GINGER, but the mellow, ethereal opening gave me chills. It is the best example of BROCKHAMPTON redefining their new, mature sound. GINGER’s most popular track, “SUGAR,” comes next and is followed by “BOY BYE.”
After the first three tracks, GINGER plateaus. BROCKHAMPTON continues to visit the same idea of loss over and over. It seems like they attempted to use betrayal as a connecting theme, but in pursuing it a bit too much, the middle of the album lacks depth. They do, however, finish strong with an incredibly reflective and beautiful end to the album, “VICTOR ROBERTS.” Roberts is a close friend of McLennon, and this song about hardship ends with a harmonic thanks to everyone “still sticking with” the band.
GINGER is BROCKHAMPTON’s album of reflection. Although they revisit the same ideas a few times too many, the highlights speak to the true talent of the band.