Although it may not be the album most die-hard fans of Brockhampton were expecting, “Ginger” sets itself apart as the boy band’s most emotional album thus far. With the help of passionate vocal performances, personal lyrics and some of the group’s most creative production to date, the end result ultimately pays off.
Brockhampton is a hip-hop collective made up of various vocalists, producers and managers, among other roles, with most of the group’s members hailing from Texas. “Ginger” marks the group’s fifth studio album in two years, after they released their “Saturation” trilogy between the months of June and Dec. of 2017 and “Iridescence” in Sept. of 2018.
Last year proved rough for the boy band, as the departure of member Ameer Vann stirred controversy among the group’s fanbase and delayed the release of their anticipated fourth album. More than a year later, it is obvious that Vann’s departure still has an effect on the group.
The members of Brockhampton make their feelings on the situation apparent through their lyrics.
The opening track, “No Halo,” starts the album strong with verses from members Matt Champion, Merlyn Wood, Dom McLennon, Joba and Bearface, addressing topics such as relationships, depression and a desire to get closer to God.
The chorus of the following track, “Sugar,” speaks of longing for someone and waiting for them, and it makes for one of the best songs on the album.
The standout emotional track is “Dearly Departed,” which opens with a verse from Brockhampton ringleader Kevin Abstract, followed by powerful rap verses from Champion and McLennon.
This particular song deals with Vann’s departure from the group. Each current member gives their own perspective on the event throughout the song, with McLennon’s verse being the most noteworthy. In his verse, he describes a time that Vann betrayed his trust. McLennon does not hold back his feelings as he screams and shouts his verse with a furious passion, targeting Vann for never learning “how to be a man” and making it one of the most memorable songs on the entire album.
Despite the melancholic and angry emotions conveyed through their lyrics, Brockhampton still manages to excite with eccentric production by Romil Hemnani, Jabari Manwa and Kiko Merley. “Ginger” may not feature the upbeat, energetic hits that their fans have grown used to, but the group still manages to find new ways to set its music apart.
For example, the guitar is a prominent instrument throughout the album, especially on the opening three tracks. The song “Boy Bye,” in particular, possesses a Latin flair that is unheard of in Brockhampton’s prior music, and they pull it off effectively. Other notable examples of exemplary production on “Ginger” include “St. Percy,” where dark and gritty production provides a sinister contrast to an overall sad project, and “If You Pray Right,” which provides listeners with a beautiful blend of brass marching band instruments and haunting, extraterrestrial synthesizers.
“Ginger” also includes performances from a number of featured artists, which is unusual for the collective. The track “Heaven Belongs to You” is comprised of an emphatic verse from British rapper slowthai, which provides listeners with a distinct voice from the ones they have grown accustomed to hearing.
However, the most notable feature appears on the final track “Victor Roberts.”
Most of the track consists of a verse from a man of the same name, Victor Roberts. A friend of McLennon, who he met while playing Xbox 360, Roberts delivers an impassioned verse recalling a time that the Los Angeles police raided his house when he was a child. The verse plays out like a spoken word poem, with vivid imagery to illustrate the event and specific description. One example of the imagery includes using Power Rangers action figures to emphasize his childhood innocence. The song then ends with some vocal performances from group members Bearface and Ryan Beatty, another featured artist and a frequent collaborator of the boy band.
These factors come together to make for a very emotional track and it appropriately closes out the album. It may not be the ending that fans wanted, but considering all the emotions the group conveyed throughout the entire album, it seems like it’s the ending that the members of Brockhampton themselves needed.
“Ginger” is the continuation of a run of good form for Brockhampton, while at the same time being a change of pace. The group’s discography has taken so many twists and turns that no one could possibly know what’s next for the collective, perhaps not even the members themselves. But if there is anything to take away from this project, it’s that the end of the road for Brockhampton is nowhere close.
They intend to stick around, and the next time we hear from them they will likely be stronger and closer than ever before.