Following their Saturation trilogy, the hip hop group of 11, formerly 12, released their fourth studio album Iridescence. It is the first in their upcoming Best Years of Our Lives trilogy. With 79,000 pure album sales, iridescence is the group’s first album to top the Billboard 200 chart.
Brockhampton made a name for themselves by mashing up genres like R&B, funk and alternative rock with a steady hip hop base to create their distinctive sound. Even for the unconventional, self-produced group, iridescence is their most exploratory work to date. AllMusic said, “Brockhampton absorbs what they need from across genres, sharing honest confessions from their varied personal backgrounds (the most striking provided by group leader Kevin Abstract) and reflecting its mixed audience as a voice of their generation.”
Listening to this 15-track album is like taking a walk in the dark; you do not know what to expect because of the album’s unpredictability. It is not just the sounds that are original, but the song’s structure as well. You will even notice the lack of a hook in some songs. What really makes this album stand out are the lyrics: honest and relatable.
The band is not afraid to put their personal issues in the spotlight. “Thug Life”, “Weight” and “J’ouvert” are good examples, where band members highlight their struggles with depression, self-acceptance and personal demons. “Weight” specifically is self-reflective, featuring de facto leader Kevin Abstract rapping about his inner turmoil regarding his role in the group, self-harm and his sexuality.
In a subtler but no less profound manner, they address Ameer Vann’s abuse allegations through various tracks and how that affected the group. “J’Ouvert”, “Weight’ and “Tonya” are good examples. Introspection seems to be a theme throughout the album, be it about mental health or the band’s outlook on their growing fame.
Overall, iridescence is an album which requires several listens in order to fully understand the messages hidden in strong beats.