In May 2018, just as BROCKHAMPTON was beginning their tour for the upcoming album PUPPY, Ameer Vann’s departure from the group was announced via Instagram. Following sexual assault allegations, the group decided it was in their best interest to part ways. They canceled the tour and Ameer deactivated his social media accounts.
After more than a year of silence, Ameer returns to social media and to the public eye with a new six-track EP, Emmanuel. He returned to Instagram just a day before the release of the EP, with a cryptic profile picture of roadkill and a post of him standing in front of a billboard advertising his new project. His choice to make his profile picture something so enigmatic, a picture intended to represent himself, is indicative of the feelings he explores on Emmanuel.
The EP’s titular opener relies heavily on Vann’s vocal performance for the entirety of the song. He raps about the depression and anxiety he lives with, the regret he feels for the mistakes he has made, and the suicidal thoughts he has. It’s unclear exactly what those mistakes were; the allegations of sexual abuse never got to court, they simply faded away after he left BROCKHAMPTON. Ameer denied the allegations in a tweet saying he never criminally harmed anyone. He did confirm his disrespectful and selfish behavior towards past partners however. The allegations split fans on the rap collective into a group that supported his removal and thought his behavior was unacceptable, and those that thought he was too important a member to continue on without. It’s difficult to say whether his removal was a result of the sexual assault allegations themselves since the public knowledge of the situation is limited.
On one of his tracks, Los Angeles, Vann insinuates that money may have been a motivating factor in his removal from the group. He opens with the line “I signed a deal, said goodbye to my innocence,” referencing BROCKHAMPTON’s signing to RCA records for $15 million in March 2018. He believes that the other members were more concerned about their public image and maintaining their record deal than getting through the allegations with him. He then goes on to rap “I lost my friends in Los Angeles.” Many of the group members had grown up together in Texas and had been with each other for major parts of their lives, like the success of the SATURATION trilogy. Ameer was and continues to be more hurt by the loss of his childhood friends than the loss of membership in BROCKHAMPTON. Vann highlights the prominence of their falling out as subject matter in recent songs from the group: “Use my name as a meal ticket / They don’t want to see me standing now.” On BROCKHAMPTON’s latest project, GINGER, the emotional centerpiece of the album, “Dearly Departed,” is some of the leading member’s anger about the controversy and the hurt he caused them, directed to him. While their feelings are entirely valid, the song was released over a year after the controversy came and went. Vann thinks they are trying to cause him some hurt and potentially get back at him for what he did to them. Vann’s thoughts raise the question: is it okay to very publicly share a conflict without the consent of one of the parties involved? At what point does a conflict become something that has to be publicized? Despite all the negative publicity this conflict gave Vann, he has made it clear on Emmanuel that he is still a very capable and willing rapper and that the members of BROCKHAMPTON cannot stop him from continuing to make music.