After releasing the successful album GINGER in 2019, hip-hop group BROCKHAMPTON finally delivered their highly anticipated sixth studio album, ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE (Roadrunner), on April 9th, 2021.
Like most artists now, the pandemic sent each of the group members into their own world of isolation, allowing for them to explore their own eccentric creativity. This culminated into Roadrunner, brimming the album with personal feelings, making this the group’s most collaborative and focused album to date.
Since their upbringing, BROCKHAMPTON had too many experimental songs in their albums because of their unfiltered imagination and self-expression. This attracted their current fan base, yet also repelled potential listeners and fans due to a lack of synchronicity. Roadrunner, however, has a newfound committed sound.
The leader of the group, Kevin Abstract, opens up the album with “BUZZCUT” (featuring Danny Brown), hitting us with that familiar rap flow intertwined with redolent images. It perfectly sets the obscure yet compelling tone of the whole album.
BROCKHAMPTON incorporates their most sorrowful track, “THE LIGHT,” in which Joba describes a time in his life when his father committed suicide. Joba raps: “When I look at myself I see a broken man / Remnants of my Pops, put the Glock to his head” and, “Felt numb since September when I heard the news.”
Matt Champion, arguably the best rapper in the group, shines in Roadrunner, rapping meaningless lyrics but with catchy and melodious tunes, such as in “WINDOWS:” “This a jam for you whims and you woes / For the people in the back standin’ on they tippy toes.”
In their previous records, BROCKHAMPTON always blurred the lines between their hip-hop and pop sound, but this album leans more towards the genre of hip-hop. Roadrunner maintains multiple rap beats throughout its 49 minute run time while also incorporating a slight pop sound in the background. Fellow Noble Brandon Duarte says, “I don’t mind this new sound. I low-key like it.”
Unlike its predecessors, Roadrunner seems to be more polished and clean-cut than any other previous work released by the group. Each member has their time to shine in this album, sounding both liberated and united. Roadrunner is a focused and pledged album that just sounds good.