Kevin Abstract
ARIZONA BABY


3.9
excellent

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
April 29th, 2019 | 54 replies


Release Date: 04/25/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: baby boy, are you alright?

"Baby boy are you alright?" goes the best BROCKHAMPTON song, "MARCH", a stunningly sad yet bubblegumy piece of ephemera that covers Kevin Abstract's whole origin story in under two minutes. Meanwhile the best song on ARIZONA BABY is called "Baby Boy" without the phrase being said once, built instead on a hook that first surfaced attached to the BROCKHAMPTON song "Let's Get Married", before that was consigned to the black hole that swallowed the PUPPY sessions. Coincidence, maybe, but then Kevin Abstract is unique not only for churning out hook after hook with near-unmatched consistency, but for the vision he brings to his disparate projects when he ties them together. ARIZONA BABY is Kevin's most diverse album yet in production, veering from Southern-tinged slappers to euphoric rushes of R&B to more Blond(e)-inspired meanderings, but an emotional vulnerability that follows on from "MARCH" and the like pulls these disparate songs together into something more.

Fifty bucks to you if you ever predicted Jack Antonoff being sucked into the BROCKHAMPTON orbit: his hazy guitar-oriented fingerprints are all over low-key cuts "Corpus Christi" and "Baby Boy", while Romil continues his excellent work on iridescence, throwing horns that would make OutKast blush on "Joy Ride" and weaving psychedelic Gambino-style rideouts into "Use Me" and "Georgia". "Use Me" drops in on a chilling gospel sample that will recall "Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1", though like that song it ends far too quickly with some unfulfilled potential. The best non-single is probably "Peach", which recruits new guy Dominic Fike alongside Joba and bearface for an embarrassment of honey-smooth hooks over slow-as-molasses Southern beats. It all sounds like a mess, but Kevin's newfound love for confession pulls things together. The album hits an emotional high on the middle run, released a week earlier as the Ghettobaby EP. "Corpus Christi" is just an emotional onslaught that rivals the most vulnerable Kanye songs, including an "I wonder if Ameer think about me" line that's basically a grenade thrown into the BROCKHAMPTON subreddit, while "Baby Boy" yearns for a connection to God or just a lover in a falsetto-led bridge that could induce real goosebumps. The only miss is "American Problem", which harkens back to the first SATURATION and its musical schizophrenia, jumping from idea to idea to quickly that rarely one gets a chance to develop. But that's Abstract's bread and butter, he's usually just doing it in a more assured way nowadays – songs will alight on a hook other artists would spend whole discographies searching for, only to drop it and quickly move on in a way both frustrating and delightful.

ARIZONA BABY was cut up into three EPs for release, as if the barely half-hour runtime wasn't digestible enough. But in contrast to BROCKHAMPTON's everyone-included, skit-heavy albums, Kevin tends to cut things down to the bone. As a rapper he often makes his best impressions in blasts of 30-second verses, just as the songs are always eager to move on to a new sound. That's why "Baby Boy" has a true all-timer of a chorus, Kevin's best even though he's not the one singing it; the song lets the euphoric rush of a hook dominate it entirely, in no rush to do anything else but linger on the melody. It's a nice reminder of how easy it was to get swept up in the hype when the SATURATION era kicked off 2 (!) years ago, how the chemical-reaction mix of personalities and styles somehow worked, by all indications still is working. One flavour alone can't possibly match the rush of the full set, of course. But with his endless flows, inexhaustible series of hilarious punchlines matched pace-for-pace by devastating confessionals and shameless R&B leanings, if anyone is built to dominate a solo release it's Kevin Abstract.



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user ratings (149)
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2019


42566 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

i would like to note that this album fuckin slaps

Digging: Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Ghosteen

Dylan620
April 29th 2019


5026 Comments


been meaning to check this, I've not heard any release within the Brockhampton spectrum but one of my best radio mates is obsessed with Kevin and I'm pretty sure the rest of Brockhampton as well

Digging: Destroyer - Streethawk: A Seduction

ArthurTheAnteater
April 29th 2019


156 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

is it that good?

TheMrAlexK
April 29th 2019


11124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

First three tracks are perfection

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2019


42566 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

4 - 8 is my best run but Joy Ride is fucking nasty

Clumseee
April 29th 2019


1451 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is very good. Georgia rules.

Clumseee
April 29th 2019


1451 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ayy question of the day. This Georgia or Phoebe Bridgers' Georgia? Poll closes soon pls vote now.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2019


42566 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

prolly take this one, but Georgia is towards the bottom of SITA for me

TheMrAlexK
April 29th 2019


11124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

My one big complaint with this album as a whole is that it really does feel like a bunch of EPs stapled together (which probably comes from Kevin’s rollout of the album). Like the original three autotune drenched Arizona Baby songs hardly resemble the rawer guitar driven Ghetto Baby songs imo

anarchistfish
April 29th 2019


27819 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

joy ride is top 5 songs of the year yh

Digging: Danny Brown - uknowhatimsayin

luci
April 30th 2019


11881 Comments


seems like a poor man’s frank ocean. prob gonna skip

JeetJeet
April 30th 2019


7155 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"seems like a poor man’s frank ocean. prob gonna skip"

Add in a dash of Andre 3k and you pretty much have Kevin Abstract.

Digging: Isaiah Rashad - Cilvia Demo

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
April 30th 2019


16928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Someone rec'd Joy Ride in the SOTD and holy shit does it slap

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
April 30th 2019


16928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

black + makes music = "poor man’s frank ocean" ig

Darius the Great
April 30th 2019


20933 Comments


if i liked brockhampton 1 + 2 but not rly 3 will i like this

TheMrAlexK
April 30th 2019


11124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

"black + makes music = "poor man’s frank ocean" ig"



You forgot the gay part but yeah



"if i liked brockhampton 1 + 2 but not rly 3 will i like this"



I can't confidently say this sounds like any BH album. It stands on it's own quite nicely imo.

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
April 30th 2019


16928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Joy Ride sounds more like 3 than anything imo which is why I love it



And MrAlex if that's the case then Negro Swan is a poor man's Frank Ocean

TheMrAlexK
April 30th 2019


11124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Oh I’m on your side in this. The Andre 3k influence is pretty prevalent on some of this but Kevin has definitely carved out his own sound and identity at this point.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
April 30th 2019


42566 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

yeah 3 Stacks can't drop an easy hook as well as Kevin can, largely because 3 Stacks' singing voice is largely quite bad. of course Kevin can't rap as well as Andre because Andre's the greatest rapper of all time. dumb comparison basically

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
April 30th 2019


16928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh I know haha I just needed to fit a Negro Swan jab in there somewhere



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