Brockhampton’s new album demonstrates growth and pain, and may be their last

Kennessy Baban, Arts & Culture Writer

The origins of Brockhampton starts with a Texas-born rapper, singer and producer Kevin Abstract who wanted to start an “all American boy band.” The band consisted of 15 motivated young men who ranged from rappers to art directors. Brockhampton was established to represent many varieties of races, regions and sexual orientations, and their music expresses many of their own experiences. What gives Brockhampton songs emotional resonance and power to their listeners is the uniqueness of each of the band members, who share their stories through their art.

The long journey of Brockhampton included two debuts on Billboard charts; one was due to their 2018 album “Iridescence,” which put them on the top of Billboard’s 200 chart. Their second appearance was from their fifth album, “Ginger,” which included the hit song “Sugar” The album earned Brockhampton’s first legitimate chart hit and platinum-selling single and the song made it to the Top 100 chart.

On March 31, Kevin Abstract tweeted, “2 Brockhampton albums in 2021 – these will be our last.” Afterwards the band announced that their upcoming album, “Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine,” would be out April 9 via Question Everything/RCA Records. As for their second album, which apparently will be their last, Abstract did not disclose any details to the public, but did announce that a new song from their album would be released soon.

“New Single tmrw Night,” he also tweeted. “Summer time vibes. Rice around with the windows down with ya best friend singing super loud to the chorus type vibe- shows the other side of the album. See Yal tmrw.” 

Upon the release of a new album that fans have been dying for, many of their fans’ responses have been nothing but positive. Reviews on social media range from “This is easily their best work yet in my opinion” to “The best mix of past brockhampton sound with hard hitters and good slow songs that sounds like they finally have balanced their styles” and even “Oh my god. Chills throughout the entirety. This is their strongest album in my opinion.” 

The album ranges from slower, melodic, even melancholy vibes, to more aggressive rap for which Brockhampton is well-known. The presence of different featured artists, including Danny Brown (on “BUZZCUT”), A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg (on “BANKROLL”) give the album some edge and push their self-made label of what it means to be a boyband. Despite some new sounds, “Roadrunner” is definitely a Brockhampton album; the range of voices, tones, styles and overall lack of one unifying voice is what makes the band what they are.

Not only did their fans leave positive reviews, so did many critics. DIY magazine wrote, “’Roadrunner’…Sees Brockhampton silencing any of those who feared they might have lost their spark. It’s a record  that – if it is truly one of their last – sees the lads going out with a bang.” Rolling Stone wrapped up its positive review, saying “‘Roadrunner’ is Brockhampton’s best effort to balance [different] approaches; [the band’s] hard times and brash raps go down more smoothly than ever.”

The “hard times” many music journalists refer to is group member Joba’s father’s suicide, which many believe helped to inspire the album. This is not the first time that the band has delved into suicide in their music (“Saturation” includes songs about suicide), but the unity amid the group members is palpable this time around.

Brockhampton’s announcement of leaving the spotlight after releasing only two albums this year makes fans skeptical. This is due to Kevin making a similar announcement back in 2017, when the group promoted their “Saturation III” project; he had stated that this was “The last studio album by Brockhampton” via social media. But either way the fans of the band Brockhampton will be satisfied even if the band disbands; “Roadrunner” demonstrates the pain and growth of America’s most recent boyband and all the struggles that come with the label.