“BUZZCUT” is the first single to be released from BROCKHAMPTON’S upcoming sixth studio album, ROADRUNNER: NEW LIGHT, NEW MACHINE. The album title alone sets the theme for not only what we can anticipate from the album in the future – but perfectly encompasses and describes what “BUZZCUT” looks like and sounds like as a stand alone single.
“BUZZCUT” showcases BROCKHAMPTON adopting a “new machine,” when it comes to not only making music during a time in which our world increasingly feels artificial and time seems distorted – but an entire new approach sonically and aesthetically is emerging as well. As the pandemic morphs and alters how we live our lives, it’s also shifting our perspectives of the world at large.
BROCKHAMPTON is usually never shy when it comes to embracing creative experimentation in their tone, sound, or appeal. However, the energy of “BUZZCUT” is something I haven’t quite seen in awhile from them – rage, aggression, and apathy are being released into the mic like therapy.
“BUZZCUT” sonically mimics the feeling of an acid trip – derealization flows into the beat as hard hip-hop drums kick off the track. The instrumentation can be best summed up as inherently chaotic, paired with Kevin Abstract’s fast and furious flow on his first verse.
I almost didn’t recognize Abstract’s voice at all on this single. He spits with some much urgency that his words almost come out as a warning. He raps, “Told him I made it to Hollywood, all it took was a summer to fail. A platinum record not gon’ keep my black ass out of jail.”
A notion of both caution and an air of fate are fighting each other in Abstract’s head like a video game. He brings up the fact that people are watching and waiting for him to fail as a black male in society. This makes it feel as though his success is fragile against the inevitable narrative many black males are coerced or set up to be trapped in: a life behind bars.
An internal psychosis is unraveled as if Abstract is stuck in a bad trip. Fate now becomes the enemy as he spits a bar, claiming that his “whole family is cursed” – and this sense of indifference and resentment takes over the entire track.
The beat during the chorus is chopped, mixed and distortedly warped as Abstract shouts, “Now get the fuck out of my ride. Fuck with me, give no shit, guess my ignorance is bliss.”
His ignorance not only leads him to bliss, but Abstract soon finds himself closer to freedom than ever before. Danny Brown’s feature in this track compliments Abstract’s anger and indifference with a sense of surrender.
Instead of spitting with so much quivering, bubbling up emotions visible in his pitch – Brown is much more to the point and graphic. His verse carries heavy, painful and violent lyrics that pervades the streets he is forced to occupy – yet his overall tone is much more animated and energetic than it is wrath.
Both Abstract and Brown reference the truth and the simulation that manifests more and more everyday in our physical world. Brown raps, “White on the street, walking the beat like Abbey Road. Through the lights, camera, action, glamour, glitters and gold. Unfold the scroll, plant seeds to stampede the globe. No peace on the street, so I’m clutchin’ my heat. Gotta watch out for these savages roamin’ the street.”
If you are white, just merely walking down the street is a completely different reality than it is for African Americans. The world has created a simulation in which racism is normality and has manipulated the black community to be seen as predators when they merely are prey to killer cops.
The music video for “BUZZCUT” is insanely colorful, with the aesthetics being inspired by the early 2000s. Pixels and psychedelic images make their way on and then back off the screen, mimicking the sensation of hallucinating.
The track ends with one question: WHAT IS GOD TO YOU NI****? Just as the saxophone and strings merge their way into the end of the track.