In a year that brought hardships and negative attention to Brockhampton’s newfound fame, “Iridescence” is a much needed breath of fresh air that proves itself to be yet another strong entry in the group’s discography.
Brockhampton is a hip-hop collective and is commonly referred to as a boy band. They are based in California, made up of 13 members, comprised of several vocalists and producers, in addition to a manager, graphic designer, photographer and web designer.
Brockhampton began their rise to fame last year, when they released three critically-acclaimed albums, “Saturation I,” “Saturation II” and “Saturation III’ between June and December of 2017. Much was expected of the self-proclaimed boy band going into the new year. The group promised a new album, “Puppy,” in spring of 2018 and soon after announced that they had signed with RCA Records. However, plans for the forthcoming album were postponed when member Ameer Vann found himself at the center of sexual misconduct allegations. Brockhampton then announced that Vann had departed from the group and that they had cancelled the rest of their tour dates and postponed their album.
It went without saying that the group desperately needed things to start looking their way. Fortunately, they managed to find it in their latest project “Iridescence,” which sees the band continue their great run and signals a substantial change of pace for the collective.
Brockhampton has a history of starting their albums out with strong, aggressive songs, such as the tracks “Heat,” “Gummy” and “Boogie” that started out each of their “Saturation” albums respectively. “Iridescence” is no different. The album throws the listener straight into “New Orleans” complete with a quick, driving beat, great verses from each member and a surprise Jaden Smith feature. This track serves as a great preview of what else is to come.
The album manages to set itself apart from the group’s other projects by sounding more intense and melancholy than what fans may be used to. Both traits perfectly complement each other throughout the length of the album. The fast-paced, frenetic sound of songs like “Where the Cash At” and “Fabric” balance out with the emotional tracks such as “Tonya” and “San Marcos.” Some songs even manage to perfectly blend both characteristics, like the track “Weight” which features slow, personal rap verses from members Kevin Abstract and Dom McLennon, separated by a quick and lively instrumental break and verse from Joba.
Vann’s departure from Brockhampton was not completely negative for the group, as it gave lesser known members of the group opportunities to step up and take their chance in the spotlight. The epitome example of this is “J’ouvert,” one of the stand-out tracks on the album. Joba, known for his unpredictability, continues to experiment with different flows in his verse in this song, which gradually becomes more ecstatic and louder as he continues to scream at the listener. Merlyn, known for normally yelling simple yet powerful rap verses in the past, delivers a calmer and more substantial verse this time around. Bearface, a singer who was scarcely included on previous albums, has a much more prominent role on this project, having his own rap verse to close out the track.
Brockhampton noticeably continues to improve their production skills, as each project ends up sounding even better and more mature than the last. “Iridescence” continues this trend, featuring some of Brockhampton’s best production work to date. An example of this would be the opening track “New Orleans” and its seamless transition into the following track “Thug Life.” It can’t even be described with words. You have to listen to it for yourself.
The world seemed to be pitted against Brockhampton just mere months ago. The group had much to prove moving out of their “Saturation” era. Despite all of the bad press, Brockhampton’s “Iridescence” proves to be a much needed triumph for the boy band. They manage to keep moving forward with their music and find new sounds. Things are now beginning to look up again for the collective as they begin their next era. As they say at the close of the project, “It’s the best years of our lives.”