After releasing three albums in 2017, self-proclaimed American boy band Brockhampton has remained relatively quiet in 2018. After teasing a new album for the past nine months and putting out three singles, they finally released “iridescence,” their fourth studio album.
The 14-member rap collective operated independently under its own label, Question Everything, Inc. but signed with the Radio Corporation of America in March of this year, according to Billboard. Breaking away from the independent style of producing songs out of their bedrooms, this is Brockhampton’s first album produced under a major record label, according to Billboard.
So far, “iridescence” has received mainly positive reviews and has been streamed over 20 million times on Spotify.
Brockhampton recorded “iridescence” over the span of 10 days at the Abbey Road Studios in London.
“We kept making music before this album and it all felt kind of similar to stuff that we’ve made before,” said lead member Kevin Abstract during an interview with BBC.
“iridescence” is a “lustrous rainbow-like play of color caused by differential refraction of light waves that tends to change as the angle of view changes,” according to Merriam Webster dictionary. The album cover depicts member Matt Champion pregnant with the colors thermally distorted.
“Pressure makes me lash back, wish I could get past that” raps Joba on “Weight.” The song exemplifies the burden the band has faced under constant scrutiny from the public.
Joba closes the 4 minute and 20 second long track singing “Sippin on my pain, smoking on my pain.”
“District” begins with a string interlude interrupted by sirens and member Joba saying “Praise God hallelujah, I’m still depressed.” Many of Brockhampton’s songs reveal the members’ struggles despite achieving fame and glory.
The song ends with steady strums from a guitar, adding a calm presence amid the chaotic tune of the rest of the track.
The group incorporates many traditional instruments throughout “iridescence,” its most since “Quiver,” an unreleased song.
“I hate writers, I hate tweets, I hate journalists,” said Abstract on “Tape,” confessing his struggle with others’ perception and criticisms of him and Brockhampton.
Brockhampton traces its roots on “San Marcos,” where all the band members began collaborating. The song feels a bit like a country ballad with orchestral elements, bringing out the members’ Texan roots.
The outro features the London Community Gospel Choir all harmonizing “I want more out of life than this, I want more, I want more.”
“Tonya” epitomizes the group’s struggle with fame and being in the spotlight. “I’ll trade fame any day for a quiet Texas place and a barbecue plate,” Abstract said.
This track references Tonya Harding, the U.S. ice skater who rose to fame in 1994, but lost favor with the public after a national scandal.
Brockhampton faced a scandal earlier this year, as member Ameer Vann was exiled from the band due to sexual abuse allegations that surfaced. Vann was featured on the cover of “Saturation II” and “Saturation III,” and was a founding member of Brockhampton.
The “Saturation” era is officially over however, and “iridescence” is a signal of rebirth for the group.
Brockhampton has been compared to groups such as Odd Future, the A$AP Mob, and even One Direction, but they have their own identity. An oft dysfunctional mix of characters that seemingly fit together perfectly; Brockhampton has delivered a fresh mix of experimental hip-hop alongside strings and soprano, creating a genre of their own.
“I think they are going to start changing a little bit because of all the changes that are going on internally with them, but I think their fans know what kind of sounds they produce and they’re going to stay true to that funky and different,” said Sasha Ramirez, a second-year student at CSUF.