On Friday Sept. 21, Brockhampton released their fourth studio album “Iridescence.” With the new release, the self-proclaimed boy band has started to branch out from their previous success with an album focused on pushing their boundaries.
Brockhampton is a 14 person group composed of vocalists, rappers, producers, graphic designers, a photographer and even their management. Their large size means there is no lack of talent to draw from, and on many songs, multiple vocalists can give contrasting verses that add to their interesting dynamic. Including all the members of their operation as part of their band really sets them apart from other artists in today’s music scene.
The talented group of musicians from Texas met on a Reddit forum dedicated to Kanye and rose to fame in the span of two years with their “Saturation” trilogy. A unique blend of hip hop, R&B and rap allows the group to utilize the full potential of all their members and expand the boundaries of these genres.
Although they have achieved great success with their last three studio albums, the recent departure of one of their lead vocalists, Ameer Vann, over allegations of sexual abuse has left many fans wondering where the group is headed. Releasing this album reassures fans and signifies the group’s resolve to use these difficult times as motivation.
Originally wanting to release an album earlier in 2018 under the title “Puppy”, with all the controversy surrounding the group at the time, the band decided to scrap the album and instead spent 10 days producing “Iridescence” in the Beatles’ Abbey Road Studio without Vann.
The vibrant cover of the album depicts a thermal image of a pregnant woman, which coincides very well with the title of the album to play into the definition of Iridescence, “showing luminous colors that seem to change from different angles.” This also applies to the album itself with the constant flipping between slower songs ripe with meaning and crashing bangers that make you want to dance.
At times, the abundance of sirens, autotune, engine revving and high pitched whistles is somewhat off putting. “J’Ouvert” is a prime example of a song that is not a casual listen and has too much going on. Even though it does not work on every track, “Where the Cash At” uses these effects to their full extent and leaves the listener wanting to put it on repeat.
Having plenty of talent and vocalists to work with steers Brockhampton away from features on most of their songs. Surprisingly enough, though, Jaden Smith makes an appearance in the hook of “New Orleans,” and is able to mix well with their distinct sound.
The second half of the album is where they start to shine. Songs like “Weight” and “Tonya” show how versatile this group really is with their wide range of talents. The use of piano on these tracks changes the mood of the album entirely and adds texture to the group’s sound.
Matt Champion, another vocalist in the group, begins his verse in “San Marcos” with an elegant guitar melody carrying the track. The use of piano on a few tracks along with lyrical melodies takes the album to the next level.
As a whole, the experimental 15 track album is a refreshing look at what hip hop can be. Even with a few songs falling flat, there are plenty of tracks that continue to show that Brockhampton is capable of anything, and they are not stopping anytime soon. Currently touring around the US in support of “Iridescence,” Brockhampton will perform in Atlanta on Oct. 14 at the Coca-Cola Roxy.