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Strength Through Vulnerability on “Arizona Baby”

“Sometimes I feel like all I’m gon’ have is my money,” raps 22-year-old, Texas-born artist Kevin Abstract on “Corpus Christi,” a track where Abstract’s lyrics read like an intimate journal entry. The song dives into the insecurities that come with rapid wealth. Abstract questions the relationships with his family, friends and boyfriend: “I’ve been a bad nephew, son, boyfriend, whatever they call it.” This is just one of the several recurring themes on Arizona Baby, all of which Abstract explores with brutal emotional honesty.

Kevin Abstract’s last full album, American Boyfriend,  was released in 2016. It’s a record that put Abstract on the map for its distinct teenage angst; he navigates the intersections of being young, black and gay in America. “I wanna be American,” sings Abstract on my personal favorite track, “Empty,” pointing to the alienation he experiences for his identity. American Boyfriend feels like a coming-of-age story unfolding across 16 tracks and is well worth the listen.

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Arizona Baby was released over the course of April; the final installation of the album was the drop of its five final tracks, “Use Me,” “Peach,” “American Problem,” “Crumble” and “Boyer” on April 25. Alongside the release was a music video for “Peach,” featuring pop singer-rapper on the rise, Dominic Fike and several members of Kevin Abstract’s wildly popular boy band, Brockhampton.

While American Boyfriend gave Kevin Abstract relative fame, it was the work of Brockhampton that skyrocketed his career. All of the new wealth and notoriety Kevin Abstract grapples with on Arizona Baby he gained through the success of Brockhampton. On “Corpus Christi” he even addresses internal issues with the band that resulted in the removal of a member almost one year ago.

Arizona Baby gives the listener, in full breadth, just how much Kevin Abstract has grown as an individual artist. The record’s production has more complexity and more range than Abstract’s previous works. So what are you waiting for? Stream Arizona Baby now.  

Sarah Mae Dizon

George Mason University '21

Sarah Mae Dizon is a sophomore at George Mason University majoring in Communication with a minor in Social Justice and Human Rights. She is a proud Filipina-American who, in between cups of coffee, likes to write a thing or two.
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