Fans of hip-hop group Brockhampton were burning the midnight oil on the eve of Thursday, April 8 as they eagerly awaited the release of the group’s next full studio album, which was scheduled to hit streaming platforms at 9 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (or midnight Eastern Standard Time). Several delays preceded the eventual release of this album, but, as the members of Brockhampton would often say, the light is worth the wait.
Band member and vocalist, Joba, highlighted the ideas that were central to him in the making of this album in a video released on April 7.
“‘Roadrunner’ is that feeling”, he said, “the feeling of freedom, and if not freedom the feeling of running. Running away from something and towards something else.”
Brockhampton’s “Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine” spans across a broad spectrum of spoken word, rap, vocals and complex instrumentals. The album, which has been designed to be listened to top to bottom, carries itself as a masterful work that carries profound meaning for all.
Featuring appearances by such artists as Danny Brown, A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg, JPEGMAFIA and more, “Roadrunner” seamlessly transitions between songs that feature upbeat rap such as “Bankroll” and “Chain On,” and memorable alternative pop like “I’ll Take You On” and “Old News.” The album then moves towards heartfelt hip hop for songs like “The Light” and “The Light Pt. II.”
It is a rare gift to come across an album without a single bad song on it, but with a song list that successfully juggles such a dizzyingly broad spectrum of thematic devices, rhythmic and stylistic techniques and moods, not a single bad song comes to mind.
This artistic endeavour vicariously illustrates the weight of the grief of unexpected loss, isolation and identity. Commentors quickly took to Reddit to talk about what this album meant to them. Amazed by the depth and production level of the album, many have been moved by the capacity of this album to help people heal and overcome the darkness in their lives.
Themes of emotional pain and grief beget a listening experience that is at times very heavy, but also set the stage for themes centered around the pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of light.
Everyone has their own struggles; moments in life come up that make it difficult to take in all the light and love around them. But it’s still there. It never goes away. And the light is always worth the wait.
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