BROCKHAMPTON, I love you.
BROCKHAMPTON can only be described as one thing: BROCKHAMPTON. Now, that may seem a little on the nose, but it’s really the best way to describe the young collection of rappers, producers, designers, and singers. The self-titled boy band is completely unique in their sound, brand, distribution, and profile. Their lead man Kevin Abstract is a very gay, very black artist in an industry that has historically been very prejudiced against the LGBTQ+ community. It’s incredibly refreshing and even more important to see someone like Kevin be at the head of a group as spectacular as BROCKHAMPTON is.
What is BROCKHAMPTON?
It may seem at first glance like everything starts and ends with Kevin Abstract, but trust me, it’s quite the opposite. BROCKHAMPTON is a complete collective production that is something we’ve never quite seen before. The group’s release of three albums in only six months (and five total in the past two years) is astonishing. Very few artists are able to put out so much music and have said music be so polished and encapsulating.
And why? Why is their music so good despite how quickly it’s being put out? I have a few answers for you. Creative freedom, musical diversity, and love for the craft. BROCKHAMPTON’s sheer scale in roster may be their greatest asset. In total they have 13 total members, this size prevents any single member from experiencing any sort of creative burnout or fatigue. Not only that, but in an article published by The Fader late last year, every member of the group expressed a genuine love and care for each other and for the music. They are a family. They support, bounce off, and supercharge each other. Both emotionally and musically.
This is one of BROCKHAMPTON’s newly released singles, “1999 WILDFIRE.” In it, Kevin Abstract serves the role as (he commonly does) of singing only the hook. Members Matt Champion, Joba, Dom McLennon and Bearface are those who demand the most attention of the listener. Each verse builds upon the last, the song is constantly developing and transforming as each member contributes their own artistic meal for you to feast on, with Abstract serving as the steady heartbeat for everything. Those elements are not just exclusive to the song, they’re parallels to what BROCKHAMPTON is at their core. Constantly changing, constantly evolving, each artist and member contributing something meaningful to anything and everything that the group does.
Apart from that, their sound is completely and utterly unique. There is no other artist who sounds anything like BROCKHAMPTON does right now. Their influences are vast and very apparent, but their sound is unequivocally, new.
The group originally met over a Kanye West forum, so Yeezy’s influence (as it is in many places) is felt here. Tyler, The Creator and all of Odd Future’s influence is here. OutKast and Andre 3000, Gorillaz, The Internet, Kid Cudi, Lil Wayne, even Mac DeMarco. It’s all here. They are the ultimate musical, melting pot.
Though BROCKHAMPTON is fairly new, their impact on the industry and on their fans is paramount. The group just signed a new record deal with RCA Records that’s worth $15M. They just got a new radio show with Apple Music. They performed their single “Tonya’ on Jimmy Kimmel Live. BROCKHAMPTON is here and they’re going to be here for a long time.
Apart from their commercial success, the boy band has also had an impact on the LGBTQ+ community, people of color, the mentally ill, and anyone else who has experienced pain just for being themselves.
Matt Champion’s verse on “JUNKY” goes like this, “you mad ’cause she ain’t fuck, mad ’cause she ain’t suck // Beat your ass before you got time to say “why not? //
Where the respect? Is your ass human? // I look you in your eyes, say ‘fuck you, are you fuckin’ stupid?’ //Respect my mother, ‘spect my sister, ‘spect these women, boy” That verse is just as aggressive as it is feminist. And as shameful as it is, overall respect for women is something that’s greatly needed in the hip-hop community.
Kevin Abstract also has a verse on “JUNKY” where he says, “‘Why you always rap about bein’ gay?’ //Cause not enough n****s rap and be gay // Where I come from, n****s get called “f****t” and killed // So I’ma get head from a n**** right here.” “JUNKY” as a song is probably BROCKHAMPTON’s ‘most in-your-face, here’s what I think’ song and I welcome it with open arms. The group is destigmatizing being gay, being mentally ill, and they’re socially conscious in a way that is refreshing. All this while making some of the best music of the year.
BROCKHAMPTON, I love you.