With the release of his new EP, disgraced BROCKHAMPTON member, Ameer Vann, plays out a narrative we've seen too often in the MeToo era: relentless self-loathing.
"It's so hard to say I'm sorry, it's so hard to self reflect," Vann raps on "Emmanuel," the title track off the rapper's first EP since allegations of sexual abuse surfaced against him in 2018. "Make the world a better place, I'll put a bullet in my head." EMMANUEL is rank with self-pity, with Vann using his troubled upbringing and mental illness as a scapegoat to evoke sympathy from those who rightfully dismissed him. "Ain't no little piece of heaven, all these demons that I have," he continues. "I am broken, I am tired, I am lonely and depressed. I am made up of mistakes, I'll start going down the list," he raps before detailing the story of his abusive father, drug addicted sister, and how he's "so sick" he needs a doctor.
Soon, the self-loathing, as is common in the case of abusers, turns to ignorance. "This a new beginning, call me Jesus," Vann raps. "It ain't easy," he repeats over and over again. With an opening statement of this caliber, Vann does what many misogynistic men have done with their MeToo "apologies:" shift the attention away from the victims and contradict accusations by painting themselves as the "real" victim. We've seen it most recently with Ryan Adams and Casey Affleck, both of whom discussed troubled childhoods, and how the accusations didn't paint a genuine portrait of who they are. "Man it's crazy how they deal with you," Vann raps. "Talk about it like they still with you."
Vann continues to touch on similar themes throughout: running from his past, being institutionalized, abusing drugs, his bipolar disorder. He never addresses the allegations themselves or mentions the people he's harmed. It's clear he resents the accusers and resents his former bandmates at BROCKHAMPTON. He blames his failed relationships on money disputes and on the temptations of fame. He finds solace in his mental illness, describing how he misses "living at the hospital" and that his Bipolar Disorder makes him "feel like God in a scary way." Vann is painfully aware of his disorders and aware of his issues with ego and control, but rather than hint at any sign of remorse, the rapper sits in a dark corner, and chops up his failed relationships to: "They just didn't understand."
Ameer Vann sounds lonely, he sounds manic, he sounds depressed, and he seems to be in the same headspace as he was in 2017 when he wrote: "I love to watch 'em squirm, I love when bitches bleed, if she's sucking on the barrel, you can't hear her scream." Ameer Vann's actions were inexcusable, and with EMMANUEL meant to be his "comeback EP," it's clear the abuser hasn't learned much. "My depression what I love the most," he raps on "Los Angeles." "I can't seem to let it go." It's the only honest moment of self-reflection we see on the entirety of the project.