Fifteen member rap collective Brockhampton shocked fans again when they announced the newest single and music video from their upcoming fifth album, Ginger. The group has been putting out merchandise for the album over the past couple of weeks in rounds, creating further hype around the release. “Boy Bye”’s music video is directed by Spencer Ford, who also directed Ginger’s previous two singles, “I Been Born Again”, “If You Pray Right” and “J’OUVERT” from iridescence.
The song starts out with a verse from Dom McLennon, notably Brockhampton’s most technical rappers. The shots switch between McLennon donning an all-red basketball uniform holding a basketball, while a group of men in all-white uniforms runs behind him trying to catch it, and presumably the same men now painted blue punch at McLennon. During Brockhampton’s Saturation 3 era, members painted themselves blue and wore orange jumpsuits, which is what this shot is referencing. McLennon opens “Boy Bye” with a bold sentiment, “Ayy, everybody ask me how I deal with my depression / Man look (Man look), I don’t got the answer to your question / If I did, you would probably never hear from me again / That’s a promise, not a threat and it ain’t no half-stepping (Hey)”
Matt Champion’s verse swoops in and comes as a surprise, the shot swiftly moving to an extreme close up of his face pressed against dirty glass. Once zoomed out, viewers can see Champion is in a glass container, suspended in the air. McLennon posted a tweet explaining Champion’s interesting creative choice.
Matt made his own box n put himself in it cuz the boxes constructed by society were too linear that’s why he in da air too https://t.co/IArt38OV5H
— Dom (@DomMcLennon) August 15, 2019
As the verse goes on, Champion sprays the glass with cleaner while rapping, “Actin’ like Regina, you a lil’ bit dramatic / I’ve been in the cockpit, I been in the cabin (Right)”
Brockhampton’s ringleader, Kevin Abstract, abruptly appears on screen surrounded by hands holding flaming lighters as the shot’s only light source. This shifts from a playful to a more serious tone, putting great emphasis on Abstract’s short but powerful verse.
“Trauma got me f***** up, my mama got me f***** up / My lil’ n**** locked up, it’s like Hakuna Matata” Throughout the verse, the lighters go out before a quick zoom in on a shirtless Kevin Abstract in front of a green flame backdrop, finishing the verse with, “Need a personal connection, I just wanna feel you baby / Bein’ sober made me realize how poorly I been behavin’, uh”
Matt Champion proudly takes the hook (a rare occasion for any Brockhampton song), largely scaled over a chroma keyed forest with a small Merlyn dancing in the lower corner. “My b**** is so pretty, pretty (Mm) / I get cash like really, really / Tell the DJ, man, he ain’t slick cause he ain’t played hits / He silly, silly” The chorus is a palate cleanser after the members’ heartfelt verses, bringing listeners to a less serious mindset.
Merlyn Wood repeats the chorus for its second half, the camera zoomed in on him dancing overtop of Champion sitting in the grass. Wood ends the courage with a sampled, “Boy bye!” ending the chorus with a lovely title reference.
The fourth and final verse goes to Bearface, one of the many members in Brockhampton who not only sings and raps but also produces. “Bringing in hits like I’m ‘Bari / Always feel left in the dark / Trauma the price for the patience / Character shaped like a arc” Bearface references one of the group’s producers, Jabari Manwa, who is behind many of their hits such as “BLEACH,” “SWEET,” “GOLD,” and “STAR.”
“Boy Bye” is reminiscent of “WEIGHT” and “JOHNNY”, previous Brockhampton releases that dig into each member’s psyche and inner-demons. Vulnerability and honesty are prevalent throughout the self-proclaimed boy band’s discography, and this single is no different. Joba outros the song vocalizing and singing, “I’m beautiful and bashful” while running from aliens dressed in metallic jumpsuits, presumably the same men from earlier and an allusion to Ginger’s previous single, “If You Pray Right.”
The intensity of “Boy Bye”’s lyrics matches up with the complexity of its music video, showcasing another great collaboration between Spencer Ford and Brockhampton. Ginger is a change in pace for the group, and while many fans have mixed reactions and deeply miss the Saturation era, it is clear that the “best boy band since One Direction” has a great album in store for us!
Featured image via Brockhampton’s YouTube.