In true Kevin Abstract style, he dropped his latest album without warning last Thursday, co-produced by Brockhampton’s Romil Hemnani and famed producer Jack Antonoff (who also produced Taylor Swift’s Reputation). ARIZONA BABY is an 11-song album which features songs from his recently released EP’s Arizona Baby and Ghetto Baby. Being the founder of hip-hop collective Brockhampton, its unsurprising that Abstract’s album features many collaborationss with other members of the band such as Joba and Bearface. Much like Abstract’s previous work, this album takes a reflective tone, dealing with issues such as the struggles of fame and success, but also drawing attention to the tribulations of growing up black and gay in Southern America.
ARIZONA BABY has a bold and experimental tone to it using Abstract’s trademark of vocal experimentation to create a totally unique sound. This unique sound can be heard in ‘Joyride’ through the soft bright guitars mixed with the Latin-inspired brass section. There are a lot of different influences within this song and truly exemplifies Abstract’s wild creativeness. Abstract has mentioned that he gets his influence’s from Tyler, the Creator, Childish Gambino and Kanye West – these influences are incredibly prevalent especially in ‘American Problem’ and ‘Baby Boy’. Both song’s having parallels to Abstract’s 2016 album American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story through the use of smooth electric guitar and psychedelic tune – also seen in ‘Peach’. Abstract reveals a new vulnerability in ARIZONA BABY as the record can be argued to be discussing a fall of a relationship (specifically evident in ‘Mississippi’); this bold tenderness has become something Kevin Abstract has come to master.
The focus of ‘Arizona Baby’ is overcoming struggles or finding hope that one day things will get better. This is hugely expressed in ‘Use Me’: the intense propulsive flow of the first verse shows Abstract’s urgency for things to improve as he sings “Everything is gon’ be okay”
ARIZONA BABY is definitely a summertime album with a dark undertone, though there are more groovy songs that you could dance to at a house party. There are also tracks ready for those summer nights out reflecting. Kevin Abstract is an artist to look out for, and at only 22 years old he is making a name for himself in the rap scene. Overall, ARIZONA BABY makes for a superb album.
ARIZONA BABY is available now via RCA Records.