BROCKHAPMTON has released their new album ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE. Since there are so many members in the group, they never need to collaborate, but on this album, they brought some outsiders into the fold. The hip-hop group work with the likes of Danny Brown, Charlie Wilson, JPEGMAFIA, A$AP Ferg and A$AP Rocky on the record.
The album got some extra buzz before the release because Kevin Abstract, the unofficial “or official” spokesperson for the group hinted that it would be one of their last. We will see if that comes to fruition, but there seemed to be more urgency with the group knowing that. Knowing that and seeing the features, there was hype to see how BROCKHAMPTON would work with these other stars.
The LP opens with a shot to the arm and the face in “BUZZCUT” that carries into the groovier “CHAIN ON.” “COUNT ON ME” is a genre blending banger that shows the talent of the group. Things get darker and hazier with A$AP Ferg and A$AP Rocky on “BANKROLL.” “I’LL TAKE YOU ON” is just a fucking jam. Find your boo and get down to this one.
While the album does indulge the party-starting impulses of the group and those who join them, there is a strong streak to challenge the status quo. Kevin Abstract sums up that idea with “Fuck the world and all that inhabitant it” on “Windows,” where they also attack public officials who “don’t give a fuck about the children” and the police-protected, capitalist system.
It is darkness and internal strife that are main themes throughout the record. “WHEN I BALL” finds Dom McLennon & Matt Champion reflect on their turbulent childhoods impacted by mass incarceration and strained relationships with family.
The world of BROCKHAMPTON has been spinning at one million miles an hour since the outset and they haven’t been able to stop between festivals, multiple albums per year and controversy that has swirled around the band. They still sound fresh, but those bursts of energy and staying power can be tough to manage.
ROADRUNNER may not be as conjoined thematically as some past work, but it still feels well-crafted and guided, even with the new outside collaborators. Get your copy of the album here and listen to it below.