BROCKHAMPTON – ‘Hollywood Swinging’ single review: a funky and well executed commission

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Groovy

The US rap group deliver a compliant but totally on brand new version of a funk banger.

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The Despicable Me franchise of films has almost made a routine of serving up some really enjoyable music for each instalment.  Ahead of their upcoming final album, US rap ‘boyband’ BROCKHAMPTON’s entry into this tradition for Minions: The Rise of Gru is also very fun, unique and true to its creators’ identities.

The boyband is not going to be around for much longer (still waiting on that final album) so this was a pleasant surprise. Kicking off with fanfare and, bizarrely, a sample of a crying baby, the song is bold and an inspired take on sounds of funk and old-school hip-hop. The sample used for the duration of the track is from Kool & the Gang, a group which is one of the most frequently used sources for rapping beats. This choice even makes sense for the film, because it is set in the 1970s, when funk, soul and jazz were all thriving in America. In this case, it has been sped up slightly and the chorus was redone to give the singing a more urgent quality that makes Kevin Abstract’s voice so recognisable. Dom McLennon continues to serve up the best flow of the group in his verse, while Joba’s outro is wonderfully playful.

It is a small trip from their typical style to be sure, but there are many recognisable stylistic markers that will resonate with fans. The aforementioned sample of a wailing toddler is zany, the ensemble of vocals, many of which deliver their lyrics in quirky ways is all fun and fairly re-listenable. I look forward to seeing if any of this carries over to their final act as a group.

Hollywood Swinging is out now via Decca Records/Universal Music, check it out below. The full soundtrack for Minions: The Rise of Gru will be released on July 1st, and also features songs from Tame Impala, Bleachers, Diana Ross, Phoebe Bridgers and more. 

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