Brockhampton may not fit into your traditional mold of a boy band, but there isn’t all that much that is very “traditional” about them. They have grown to 14 members with singers, rappers, producers, photographers and musicians. There is nothing they can’t tackle as a massive crew. With that many people, they can create a sound that normally has to be filled out by guests or artificial production. They do it all themselves and bring an infectious energy to the table. After a summer of controversy where founding member Ameer Vann exited the group following allegations of sexual assault, Brockhampton slowly prepped fans for the release of their new album Iridescence. It seems like they could be promoting several albums at once, but they settled on this and then after several singles during the summer, we were hit with a release date in the past 10 days.
Kevin Abstract takes the public role as the leader, but he doesn’t hog the mic as you might see from other groups who clearly have one singular public face. The constant varying voices between Abstract, Matt Champion, Maryln Wood, Bearface, Joba, Dom McLennon and others make sure you don’t get weary of person. It also adds different perspectives on the same idea.
Even with so many cooks in the kitchen, the album finds a way to remain focused from start to finish. Their albums have remained pretty focused so far, but this sees them with their eyes on the prize like we haven’t seen before. Even with that focus, Iridescence is varied as you could hope for on a hip-hop record. It incorporates gospel, soul, bits of electronic and rock. It slaloms between upbeat tracks and then softer songs like “Thug Life” where the singers bring out a church choir-like atmosphere to sing about the thug life, calling back to DJ Khaled's "I'm From The Ghetto."
They take on topics like fame, the trappings of the music industry, depression and love. On “WEIGHT,” Abstract talks about his early struggles with figuring out his sexuality in a brutal and hate-filled world for one of the more emotional anchors of the record. “And she was mad cause I never wanna show her off / 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,” he raps.
The album manages to pull at the heart strings in a way most hip-hop albums don’t, like on "WEIGHT," which uses a choir, strings and drum and bass all in one. The record touches on serious topics and then also has some fun. Brockhampton have done their best work to date with this record and this boy band will only get bigger from here.
Stream Iridescence below and pick it up wherever you do that.