Ameer Vann's latest EP is no easy listen, with some of the darkest lyrics in Hip Hop.
Ameer Vann, former Brockhampton, released EMMANUEL a little over a week ago, and this is an extremely controversial EP. Its Vann’s first release since the allegations made against him last year which resulted in his departure from BROCKHAMPTON . EMMANUEL is a project of a broken person displaying loaded self-hatred and features some of the darkest lyrics released in Hip-Hop this year. Each track gives us an insight into the mind of a man who has lost everything including those who he found refuge in. Along with this nearly each track features a subtle dig at former band BROCKHAMPTON . However, it could be argued that this is fair play as they are doing the exact same to him, particularly in new album GINGER.
The title and opening track ‘Emmanuel’ features some of the darkest lyrics on the EP, especially opening lines “It’s so hard to say, ‘I’m sorry’, its so hard to self-reflect/ Make the world a better place, I’ll put a bullet in my head”. Proving overall this EP isn’t an easy listen, he conveys he isn’t proud of what he’s done and is trying to make amends for his wrongs – this doesn’t mean he should be forgiven, but the theme of self-hatred shows how brutally honest this EP is. It features themes that are sadly so common in today’s society. Production wise there is not much going on except a strong bassline, but this seems to be intentional.
‘Glock 19’ has to be one of the best songs on this record, it was produced by CuBeatz and Cool & Dre, these producers have produced tracks for Travis Scott and Kendrick Lamar. The high quality production is shown on this track, especially in comparison to other songs on the EP which lack the same quality. ‘Glock 19’ has to be the darkest song on the record as it tackles the issues of drugs, violence and mental health with lyrics such as “I don’t feel alone cause drugs are my friends”. Its hard not to feel empathy for Vann as drugs have become his coping mechanism.
The name of the EP is quite telling ‘EMMANUEL’ means ‘God with us’ or ‘Jesus is God’ as there is intense religious imagery throughout the EP. It is important to note the importance of naming the EP as such. In ‘Los Angeles’ Vann raps “I feel like God in a scary way”; in context this could mean Vann feels like Jesus as the man who died for our sins. However, throughout the EP he discusses his own sins so maybe the message he is trying to get across is he feels like God because he is dying for his sins instead of gaining redemption and this could be why – as stated in ‘Pop Trunk’ – God isn’t listening to his prayers to save him.
‘Los Angeles’ covers the dark side of Hollywood and considers the idea of selling your soul for fame. Again this is another stand out on the EP due to its production value, this is thanks to Hit-Boy, who has produced songs for Kanye West. ‘Los Angeles’ is the most aggressive and energetic track on the record, even going as far to directly call out former band member Kevin Abstract – in bar “use my name as a meal ticket, they don’t wanna see me standing now”. This is in response to Abstract’s song ‘Corpus Christi’ where he says “I wonder if Ameer’ think about me, what he think about me”. This isn’t the only direct jab at BROCKHAMPTON , in Pop Trunk Vann says “I ain’t no boy in a band, I am more than a man” this is towards Dom McLennon who in BROCKHAMPTON song ‘DEARLY DEPARTED’ raps “Pass the weight off to your friends and never face the truth, Because you never learned how to be a man”.
The six song EP is brutally honest and is full of emotion. It is hard to separate the artist from the music and it is specifically harder when they discuss the issues that have arisen. Even though this may not be Vann’s redemption it is a slow step towards it. The lyrics are dark and troubled and it is hard not to feel sympathetic to a man who has lost everything he knows. It is truly one of the darkest hip-hop records of the year and is not an easy listen.
Ameer Vann’s EMMANUEL EP is out now via Winston Wolf.