By Andrew Breazeale, Staff Writer
Key tracks: “Joyride”, “Baby Boy”, “Boyer”
Brockhampton frontman Kevin Abstract has returned to the solo scene with his new three-part album Arizona Baby. It’s been three years since Abstract released solo content and this album makes it clear that he has matured and evolved over the years with the help of Brockhampton. Produced by Jack Antonoff and featuring many members of Brockhampton, Abstract breathes life into an intensely diverse and unique LP that shows off his range and talent like never before.
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Abstract took an unusual approach releasing this album, dropping each of the three sections exactly one week apart from each other, starting on April 11. Each part of the album is unique in itself, and each song is different from the next, combining rap, pop, hip-hop, and rock to create a showcase of talent that reminds us why he leads Brockhampton. In the first part of the album, we are treated to “Joyride”, a synth-filled, upbeat, pop-rap tune that is very reminiscent of Brockhampton and their Saturation trilogy. The infectious beat and lyrics make it an easy listen and provide a smooth transition into the slow and lackadaisical “Georgia”, a lament for love and a time when he lived in Georgia after running away from home.
Another stand out on the album is “Baby Boy”, a full-length version of a song teased over a year ago on YouTube and revealed that Brockhampton signed with RCA. With the crooning voice of Ryan Beatty, a part-time Brockhampton member and solo artist, on the chorus, this song is easily one of the best on the album. Filled with some of the finest vocals, this slow-building track shows off the incredible talents of Abstract and his posse as he smoothly sings about finding love and finding oneself.
Produced by Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff and fellow Brockhampton member Romil Hemnani, Arizona Baby displays the range of music that Abstract can effortlessly create. From emotional ballads like “Crumble” to hard-hitting rap tracks like “Big Wheels”, Abstract explores multiple genres, proving that he has the talent and the ability to tackle any genre he wants to. Antonoff’s contributions are obvious throughout much of the album and help to enhance Abstract’s lyrics that tackle his family life, sexuality and even experiences with Brockhampton’s ex-member Ameer Vann.
Abstract pours his soul out on this album and connects with fans on a new level, and in doing so creates a genuinely honest look into his love life and the struggles he has faced and continues to face. With this surprise album and the inconsistent releasing of Brockhampton music, no one is sure what Abstract will do next. But one thing is for certain: whatever does come next will be just as unexpected and unique as Arizona Baby.