BROCKHAMPTON’s ‘ROADRUNNER’ is a nearly perfect album


BROCKHAMPTON’s music video for “BUZZCUT” is colorful and unique.

Andre Hall

When hip-hop collective BROCKHAMPTON posted a teaser video on their Instagram on Jan. 1, it was easy to assume the slogan “The Light Is Worth The Wait” was referring to the upcoming album. They’d been teasing it for a while, so it seemed to be assuring fans that their patience would be rewarded once the project finally arrived. Now that the album has been released, the true intent of this statement is clear. BROCKHAMPTON’s “ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE” is a hard-hitting project that inspires those lost in the darkness to stay strong until the light arrives. 

The album starts with “BUZZCUT,” continuing the group’s tradition of fantastic opening tracks. Their previous album, “GINGER,” saw vocalist Kevin Abstract taking a low-key approach to his rapping, but he starts off this track with his most animated verse since 2017’s “SATURATION II.” The following verse comes from the first of many guests on the album: rapper Danny Brown. There have been guest vocalists on BROCKHAMPTON songs before, but this album is the first time the group has brought in big-name features. Brown sounds right at home on this beat.

The second track may be familiar to BROCKHAMPTON fans. While quarantining in 2020, the group released a series of unofficial singles for a project called “TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES.” One of those tracks was “chain on / hold me,” featuring JPEGMAFIA. The first half of the track has been expanded with a new verse by vocalist Dom McLennon to create “CHAIN ON.” The beat is very simple and rather repetitive, making it seem lacking compared to the rest of the album’s instrumentals, but the simplicity allows the expressive verses from JPEGMAFIA and McLennon to really shine.

Track four, “BANKROLL,” may sound familiar as well. In 2018, the group posted a video on their YouTube channel with a snippet of a track featuring A$AP Rocky. Fans have been begging for the whole track to be released ever since, and it finally found a home on “ROADRUNNER.” Another standout is the six-minute powerhouse “WINDOWS.” Almost every member gets a chance to shine on this song with some help from guest SoGone SoFlexy and honorary BROCKHAMPTON member Ryan Beatty. Producer and now vocalist Jabari Manwa adds a haunting chorus that works wonders over the chilling instrumental. The whole song is a fantastic showcase of what each member is capable of.

On the latter half of the album, the group decided to further explore the laid-back pop and rhythm and blues sound they explored on ”GINGER.” “I’LL TAKE YOU ON” is especially delightful with its insanely sticky melodies. The softer approach continues until the group decides to crank up the energy one more time with “DON’T SHOOT UP THE PARTY,” a club-ready party tune that carries a sinister darkness. The massive synths that crash in for the outro paired with vocalist Bearface’s distorted vocals make this the most explosive moment on the album.

The centerpieces of the album are “THE LIGHT” and “THE LIGHT PT. II.” Vocalist Joba uses his verses on these two songs to speak about losing his father to suicide. He uses his tragedy to try and spread a positive message. In the song’s final moments, Joba is the one to deliver the album’s key phrase: “The light is worth the wait.” He details his tragic situation to inspire those in a dark place to hold on until things get better. 

Overall, “ROADRUNNER” is BROCKHAMPTON’s strongest and most consistent effort yet. They took the best aspects of their previous two records and used them to create a project that should satisfy fans, new and old. 

Final Verdict: 9/10