The best boyband since One Direction. The hardest working boyband in show business. Whatever you want to call them, there is no denying BROCKHAMPTON has taken the world by storm in the past year. The brainchild of Kevin Abstract, the group originally formed from a post on a Kanye West forum that gained traction and Abstract recruited interested members to his new project. They debuted their first album All-American Trash in March of 2016 and the critically acclaimed Saturation Trilogy throughout 2017. Since then the band has gone through a number of personnel changes, including the removal of Ameer Vann last May after sexual misconduct allegations. After a few delayed projects surrounding Ameer’s departure (Puppy, Team Effort), the group released three new songs over the summer “1997 Diana,” “1998 Truman,” and “1999 Wildfire.” They announced their new project would be called iridescence and it would be part of the best years of our lives trilogy.
The opening track, “New Orleans,” sets the tone for this ambitiously eccentric album with Dom McLennon spitting the opening lines and closes with Abstract along with guest vocals from Jaden Smith. The transition into “Thug Life,” is musically beautiful and reinforces their promo of the album as a complete project – something that necessitates a full listen through.
“Thug Life,” is an ironic name for the more relaxed melodic tune featuring piano bars, and one of the less vocal members of BROCKHAMPTON, bearface singing. Dom McLennon is the main vocalist on the track where he shares some inner conflicts about his mind: “Depression still an uninvited guest I’m always accepting, Can’t help but meet the feeling with a familiar embrace, When I know that it’ll kill me if I give into my brain.” “Berlin,” is a very thick track featuring bars from Dom, Abstract, and Joba before developing into an over-saturated alarm bell transition into “Something about Him.”
Definitely the hardest hitting song of the album is “Weight,” where Abstract and other members of the band struggle with some of their inner demons. From struggling with mental health and the health of the rest of the band (‘Cause I’m still worried ’bout when Ashlan finna put the razor down, So I don’t really give a fuck about a story they done spun) to his sexuality (And every time she took her bra off my dick would get soft, I thought I had a problem, kept my head inside a pillow screaming) Abstract opens up about his raw emotions. “District” is very much a continuation of the previous song, with other members opening up as well. Lyrics from Matt Champion (Big ass house and big ass car don’t add up when you die alone) and Joba (Praise God, hallelujah! I’m still depressed, At war with my conscience, paranoid, can’t find that shit) demonstrate their own insecurities as well.
They dropped “J’ouvert” as a single last night to prepare for the album and it is probably my favorite “banger” from the album. Fans and critics alike were wondering if the group would lose their “edge” without Ameer’s intense bars but this song answered that question: hell no. The track ranges from the melodic buzz of Matt Champion and Merlyn Wood’s lyrics to Joba (Russel Boring) absolutely popping off, yelling his thoughts at anyone who will listen: “Wish that I was better, at dealing with the fame and you fake motherfuckers. Guess I’m too real.”
“San Marcos” has a lot of “Summer” vibes, featuring lyrics from bearface and more laid back verses from Dom and Abstract. Once again the three feature some heavy hitting lines about mental health (Suicidal thoughts, but I won’t do it, Take that how you want, it’s important I admit it), insecurities (Could be stronger than vibranium, don’t mean that I ain’t fragile, Grapple with reality to break out of these shackles) and thoughts about life – the bridge and outro featuring the same line, “I want more out of life than this.”
Their first live performance after Ameer was removed from the group was on Jimmy Fallen in late June where they debuted the new song, “Tonya,” which made this album. Partly based on the movie “I, Tonya,” the melodic tune features piano backing and a full bearface verse before transitioning into a more upbeat tempo and strong verses from Dom and Merlyn.
This is by far BROCKHAMPTON’s most ambitious project to date, as it is not so much of an album as it is a story. A story of a group of young men still struggling to find their purpose in their lives surrounded by fame, dedicated fans, and world tours. A story of a group of friends who still have to work through their own mental health, insecurities, and meaning. A story of the hardest working boyband in show business.
Check out the music video from “J’ouvert” below and stream the new album below that.