by Daniel O’Neill ’21 A&E Staff
Ameer Vann’s six-track EP EMMANUEL is his first release since he was removed from the BROCKHAMPTON roster in May 2018. Since then, Vann has spent his life out of the public eye. He was released by the band due to multiple accusations of sexual misconduct by many women.
On top of the sexual misconduct accusations, he was also accused of having a relationship with a minor, which Vann has denied. He released a statement saying, “Although my behavior has been selfish, childish, and unkind, I have never criminally harmed anyone or disrespected their boundaries…” After this statement, he went on a personal hiatus that eventually culminated in EMMANUEL.
This hiatus not only allowed Vann to think about how his life had drastically changed, but also saw his old bandmates release two successful albums, iridescence and GINGER. In that time, he seems to have figured out his complete outlook on what had happened. The opening title track has an inconsistent yet heavy beat that backs up his dark lyrics. Here, he references his terrible childhood multiple times and makes a reference to his suicidal thoughts. The rest of the album follows down this same dark, twisted, and depressed lyrical dirge.
The next song, “Pop Trunk,” continues the same depressed theme of the previous track, this time backed by a trap beat. “Los Angeles” begins with the same darkness that has consumed Vann, but transitions into referencing his time with BROCKHAMPTON. The most harrowing lyric of the song is “I lost my friends to Los Angeles.” Lyrics like these are bound to grab the attention of the rest of the hip-hop industry, especially those familiar with Vann’s story.
The most important takeaway from this intense EP is that Vann is in conflict with himself and his old band. He is struggling to figure out the desperation that he feels, but completely accepts that he is going to be hated for what he was accused of. Vann is an excellent example of a tortured artist that is attempting to kickstart his career again. He brings the same energy that he did in BROCKHAMPTON, except this time there are more intense emotions involved.
Many believe that Vann’s work with BROCKHAMPTON, specifically the Saturation projects, is his best. EMMANUEL, however, is filled with emotions that portray Vann as someone who has weathered the worst storm and somehow is still alive. The EP is an outlet for him to explain his emotions, not just his side of the story. The isolation that he feels and his obvious maturity due to the circumstances is shown throughout the entire EP. The anger and despair present on the new EP are what makes it his most vulnerable project to date.
Ameer Vann’s fans wholeheartedly expected a redemption album, but instead got clarity in the form of a powerful six-track EP. This was supposed to be just a comeback EP, but EMMANUEL ended up putting his heart and soul on display for the world to see. While BROCKHAMPTON still touts itself as the boy band of hip-hop, Vann steps into the spotlight with a menacing project of masterful lyricism and bleak, foreboding emotion.