One of the most famous members of Brockhampton, Kevin Abstract, just released an EP titled “Ghettobaby.” Abstract worked with Jack Antonoff to write and produce the project. Antonoff is known to be the lead singer of Bleachers and has produced records for Taylor Swift, Lorde and Lana Del Rey.
Prior to this EP, I was wondering what the members of Brockhampton were going to do since the release of their 2018 album, “iridescence.” While I liked “iridescence,” I just didn’t think it was as good as the “Saturation” trilogy was.
On top of that, the events that lead up to the release of “iridescence” must have had a tiring effect on the group. Music YouTuber Oliver Kemp (channel DeepCuts) felt that the group may need a break and do solo work before coming back together. I completely agreed with Kemp; it seemed like the creative spark the group usually had was starting to dwindle on “iridescence” and a little break would help regenerate their creativity.
Upon learning about this new EP, I was genuinely curious what Abstract has up to since the release of the last Brockhampton album. In fact, this is the first time Abstract has released solo material since 2016’s “American Boyfriend,” a record he released before Brockhampton’s rise to fame. A week before this EP’s release, half of the tracks were released under the “Arizona Baby” single.
When listening to the new EP it was very clear that the first two tracks were influenced by OutKast. Abstract’s rapid-fire flow on “Big Wheels” and “Joy Ride” was something Andre 3000 would have done. However, they’re mixed with blaring horns and fingerpicked guitars, which brings a contrast with Abstract’s flow.
Lyrically, “Big Wheels” is a personal commentary about Abstract’s new fame as well as hitting back at haters who accused him of queerbaiting, a practice where LGBTQ+ topics are featured in entertainment just to attract an LGBTQ+ audience. This accusation upsets Abstract as he identifies as gay himself and said in an interview on DJBooth that he will rap about the topic as long as a fan is in need of a voice.
The way Abstract tackles his accusers is done in a very angry yet insecure way which gives listeners an insight into what his mindset is. He raps, “My n****s back home ain’t proud of me | They think I’m a bitch | Just queerbaitin’ | Quit bein’ a bitch and quit hatin’ | Y’all pump fakin’.”
“Georgia” gives off an ambiance in the production. As a matter of fact, it reminds me of Frank Ocean’s 2016 album, “Blonde.” The track brings up Abstract’s past before fame when things were simpler. The chorus feels like a mantra, something that Abstract says to himself when his anxiety comes to take over his thoughts. Abstract sings, “I got Georgia on my mind, ain’t nobody left behind | It’s just me, my team, my weed, my baby’s Audi parked outside | Call my mom and let her know that everything is alright.”
On “Corpus Christi,” Abstract’s insecurities return to the fold and go deeper than ever. He talks about being ridiculed by loved ones and questioning his self-worth. Abstract shows how he tries to cope with these problems by using drugs. The most noticeable thing about this track is that it talks about the departure of former Brockhampton member and close friend, Ameer Vaan. Vaan left after receiving allegations of sexual misconduct and hasn’t talked to the group since then. Abstract ponders what his friend thinks of him almost a year after Vann’s departure.
The only problem I may have with this EP is the production. The influences on this project are very strong and you could almost mistake that you are listening to these aforementioned artists. Nothing wrong with showing your influences, but sometimes it can drown out the artists’ own voice.
When I first heard the “Arizona Baby” single, I felt there was something missing and was a bit unsatisfied. When Abstract announced that he will immediately follow it up with “Ghettobaby,” I thought it was going to fill in the gap that “Arizona Baby” left behind.
Now that “Ghettobaby” is out and I can see the tracks as one cohesive unit, I know I was right because seeing the project as a whole brought a much better experience for me. “Ghettobaby” is a fantastic EP that will certainly fill up Brockhampton fans as they wait for news from the group.
Label: Question Everything/RCA
Listen to “Ghettobaby” on Spotify: