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‘Blanket’ Review: Kevin Abstract Gets Experimental

The album is Abstract’s first solo album since Brockhampton fell out around a year ago, and it oozes self-confidence.
%28Courtesy+of+Pitchfork%29
(Courtesy of Pitchfork)

 

Kevin Abstract — well-known as one of the founding members of hip hop boy band Brockhamptonhas made a complete pivot in his music career as of Nov. 3, when he released an indie rock album entitled “Blanket.” The album is Abstract’s first solo album since Brockhampton fell out around a year ago, and it oozes self-confidence. He managed to maintain a hip-hop essence while showing fans that he’s coming at his music from a different perspective. 

An Abstract Genre

When listening to Abstract’s music, there is no mistaking the distinct hip-hop style of his first two solo albums. However, in his latest venture, he has delved into the world of a more abstract genre (no pun intended). It walks the line between a variety of genres and explores everything from raspy singing backed by acoustic guitar to nearly a full minute of synthesized instrumental. It works very effectively, and even when the transitions between songs are stylistically jarring, such as “What Should I Do?” into “Mr. Edwards,” everything still feels very intentional.

Allowing For Space

It can be easy to go off the rails on experimental albums like “Blanket,” but Abstract did a fantastic job of maintaining a consistent ambiance through each and every track. Each song leads listeners on an emotional voyage that ebbs and flows with the tempo, the instrumental choices and of course, the lyrics. One of the best parts about “Blanket” is how peaceful it all feels, and this can be attributed to the space that Abstract gives his audience. In a recent interview with Vulture, Abstract said “In a lot of rap, there’s so much space. You hear one line over and over, and it’s hypnotizing and kind of psychedelic. I thought it’d be cool to do that with these sonics and this whispering vocal style.” In allowing for this space to find its way into his music, Abstract invites a welcome calmness into the busy lives of his listeners.

A Rise of Pride and a Fall of Popularity

Having been released for a few days, it doesn’t appear as though “Blanket” or any of the songs within the album will be hitting the Billboard charts anytime soon. However, that doesn’t seem to be Abstract’s goal with this album. In his interview with Vulture, he stated, “I was so broke and so desperate for attention. It was like, ‘How can I get everyone in Los Angeles and in New York and on the internet to look at me?’ … I’m very patient with it right now. I’m not desperate for the attention. I’m not in a hurry to get there.” This adds another layer to the slow pacing of “Blanket,” and almost seems like Abstract is telling everyone that after his hiatus in 2022, he’s in no rush to dive back into his chaotic lifestyle. “It’s challenging when you want to be the biggest artist in the world,” he admits to Vulture. “You want to make waves, but you also want to blend in.”

 

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About the Contributor
Audrey Hall, Arts Writer
(she/they) Audrey Hall is a second-year student majoring in English and French. She was born and raised in Salt Lake City and has been a Utes fan since day one! In high school she developed a passion for both creative writing and news writing, which led her to write for the Skyline Horizon and eventually the Chronicle. In her free time, she plays water polo for the University's club team and plays a lot of video games.

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