GINGER lyrically exposes the roots of teenage trauma

BROCKHAMPTON provides a new take on their music style with their newest album GINGER: an emotional masterpiece that provides new insight into mental health today.

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GINGER lyrically exposes the roots of teenage trauma

by Claire Smith, Design Editor

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BROCKHAMPTON is rising quickly through the mainstream music scene not only for its diverse group of 14 band members but for being unafraid to defy hip-hop archetypes. The band has dedicated its career to rapping about being trapped in the closet, police brutality, mental health, among other factors plaguing the youth today. Their most recent album, GINGER, flawlessly addresses these issues while supplying a diverse group of R&B, hip-hop, and alternative cuts. 

The first track “NO HALO”  introduces the imperfections of each band member that will be addressed in the rest of the album. It opens with a verse from member Matt Champion who raps about a previous failed relationship. Each member of the band claims a verse where they dive into personal struggles such as troubled mental health or substance abuse. The alternative sounding track revolves around the chorus “I’m sure I’ll find it / no one help me when my eyes go red”, referring to the pressure they feel to solve these issues themselves. 

“SUGAR”, the first love song on the album, is a melancholy piece about the struggle to maintain a youthful relationship. This vocal-based track features performances from four of the six vocal members of the group. The outro, sung by member bearface, is the question “Do you love me?” asked over and over, referring to anxiety not being loved back. GINGER delivers these emotional topics flawlessly, perfectly serving justice to subjects of teenage angst that need to be addressed. 

The third single “BOY BYE” features lyrical contributions from every member of the group. The song ranges from boasting about the band’s success to verses focused around internal despairs such as depression and trauma. A verse from bearface shows these parallels with the lines “trauma the price for patience/character shaped like an arc”, to ending the verse with “this is the year, place your bets/boy bye”. BROCKHAMPTON’s success has grown immensely since its start in 2015, and  GINGER is an excellent example of how far they have come as a group. They use each of their talents to the best of their ability on this album. 

GINGER defines itself as a lyrical statement with its opening three tracks, laying a strong foundation for the next nine. “IF YOU PRAY RIGHT” marks the middle of the album, and the title of this track is a reference to the phrase “if you pray right, heaven belongs to you”. “HEAVEN BELONGS TO YOU” is another track featured on this album, showing the multiple links that tie GINGER together. 

Both songs share a religious foundation; “HEAVEN BELONGS TO YOU” opens with the lyrics “immerse myself in discontent/hopin’ you can only repent these things/it smells like ginger”. Both tracks go on to talk about the members’ connection with God and religion in their lives, with a nod to the album title.

The title track “GINGER”, is another melancholy piece that exhibits the search for understanding yourself and connecting with others. A verse by Matt Champion says “I need some space, I need to roll/So I go, blame my soul”. The slower R&B tone begins to wind down the album and lyrically continues to address the themes of depression. 

The GINGER finale is by far the hardest hitting piece on the album. “VICTOR ROBERTS” introduces a new vocalist to the group, Victor Roberts, who divulges into his family history dealing with policy brutality and drug trauma. A verse by Kevin Abstract says “Thank God for my b****es still sticking with me”, contrasting the isolating themes of the first song, “NO HALO”. “VICTOR ROBERTS” closes the album with a raw look inside the newest addition to the fray of BROCKHAMPTON, and shows the ready support that the other members provide to each other.   

GINGER is not an album you can have playing in the background while you mindlessly do your homework. Once it has captured your attention lyrically, it will find its way to exploit your deepest emotions and comfort you all at the same time. The tricky thing about GINGER, however, is if you do choose to listen to it mindlessly, you will completely miss the experience the album was meant for. GINGER provides excellent cuts of upbeat and R&B tones that are easy on the ears. But to truly understand the excellently delivered message BROCKHAMPTON has curated, take a closer look and find something that is making a ripple in the modern hip-hop community.

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