Director John Singleton’s film Baby Boy is a classic of early-2000s black cinema. Tyrese Gibson stars as Jody, a guy with a serious Oedipus complex living in South Central Los Angeles. Throughout the movie, Jody deals with the ramifications of being an absent father, a nigh-worthless son and a bad fighter. If you haven’t seen Baby Boy, turn on BET or VH1 right now; there’s a 75 percent chance it’s currently airing.
This brings us to Brockhampton frontman Kevin Abstract‘s new solo song, “Baby Boy.” Despite what you might assume, it isn’t a direct remake of the Tyrese movie, but if you squint enough it’s a worthy successor.
Aside from the title, the main thing that Baby Boy and “Baby Boy” have in common is Abstract and Jody’s shared affinity for white tank tops. There are also some thematic similarities: Once you get past the earnest YouTube celebrities and kids awkwardly writhing around each other in suburbia, Abstract’s latest visual is about struggling to find one’s way, spiritually and emotionally, just like Jody did in theaters 18 years ago.
The song features Abstract singing over a lightly strummed guitar, asking for God’s assistance: “Spent my days alone, when God left me all alone/He’s all I got…I should let him know how much I need him now.”
In the film, Sweetpea (Omar Gooding) offers a similar prayer for his wayward friend Jody. “Dear Lord, please forgive us for all the sins we have brought upon us,” Sweetpea says as he kneels. “And look down upon us with forgiveness for all the sins we will have in the future. I know you understand that niggas ain’t perfect, but we try, Lord.”
“Baby Boy” comes from Abstract’s next album, Arizona Baby, his first major solo project since Brockhampton rose to fame. He recently explained his unorthodox release strategy for the album, which involves a series of EP-sized chunks rolled out in the weeks to come: “I’ve been making a ton of music some for the group some for me just bc some shit is too personal / self indulgent to Put on a group album and thats also a dif character all together but this summer I want all that shit out tired of holding records Back,” he wrote. “ARIZONA baby is an album btw I’m just slowly releasing it over time.”
Sadly, Baby Boy star Tyrese fails to make an appearance in Kevin Abstract’s “Baby Boy.” It’s a huge missed opportunity. He’d make a perfect addition to Brockhampton.