They have a daring attitude and a musical style which can only be admired, there is literally nobody quite like them.
When the term “boyband” springs to mind, you think of the cheesy shining lights of popular culture, the likes of NSYNC and The Backstreet Boys for 90s kids and One Direction or JLS leading the way for this generation. Upon first listen, American hip-hop group BROCKHAMPTON don’t strike you as a typical boyband, but that’s what they want to be called. They all met on a Kanye West forum and have gone on to have a hugely successful 2017, with their two ‘Saturation’ albums being some of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year so far. They have a daring attitude and a musical style which can only be admired, there is literally nobody quite like them. They’re genius goes beyond the simplicity of recording and releasing music, they have so many more strings to their bow and that’s why they are so well loved across America and the UK.
There isn’t really a leader of the group, but it is without question that the most popular of them all is Kevin Abstract, a 21 year old Texan rapper who has had an underground hip-hop impact in previous years, particularly with his 2014 debut solo album ‘MTV1987’. He prefers now to be a member of BROCKHAMPTON and there is plenty of them to go around. There is no less than 14 members in the group, varying from rappers to guitar players to singers or even creative directors. They direct their own music videos, all of which are absolutely magnificent by the way, and they make their own cover art as well as merchandise; they truly are self-made and independent in every way possible (apart from being in a group and not going solo).
Now I have said an awful lot about their variety and the fact that they can do so much more than just the music, but the music itself is a defining factor as to why the group are so popular. They are musically ambidextrous, able to move in any possible direction effortlessly and make it sound fresh and cool. Whether it is the nasty production and aggressive lyrics on songs like ‘GUMMY’ and ‘SWAMP’ from ‘Saturation II’ or the rough emotional cuts like ‘FACE’ or ‘WASTE’ from ‘Saturation’, they can balance all kinds of attitude and style onto a track. This depth and variation is what makes these two albums so magnificent, they can all rap and they have some exceptional musicians in the ranks too who can create a serious ballad if need be.
Now this is great, it’s clear they are talented and do things off their own backs, but why on earth do they call themselves a boyband? Well, Kevin Abstract has the answer to this. He took to Twitter to ponder why people were struggling to grasp the concept of calling BROCKHAMPTON a boyband:
In an interview with Pigeons & Planes the group spoke about their style and said they “studied boybands” and hope to be an example for change in the music industry, developing the term of “boyband” to way beyond that of just pop music. “We didn’t look like Harry Styles in high school but I definitely identified with Tyler, The Creator and Frank Ocean. That was a boyband to me” said Abstract.
Oh, by the way, Kevin Abstract is gay (hence the liking dick comment) but if that changes your opinion of the group then I don’t think they want you to listen to them and I certainly don’t want you reading this. He is very open about his sexuality throughout the discography and tackles the stigma surrounding homosexuality and hip-hop regularly in his music, as well as accepting the challenges it can bring. All that matters to me is that his music is good and it certainly is, it’s fantastic to hear him proclaim who he is with such confidence; you’re a true role model Kevin and a pretty hilarious one at that too (follow his Twitter it is gold).
The group have got themselves a VICELAND television show too, it is called American Boyband and follows them on their first nationwide tour of America. It aired on June 8th and was brought out just before the release of ‘Saturation’, which they intend to complete the trilogy of with the release of ‘Saturation III’ at the end of the year. They will then release the physical copies as a boxset once all three projects are out, a quirky and clever idea to make their music accessible.
So, if you need anymore convincing of BROCKHAMPTON’s sheer brilliance, then just listen to their work if you haven’t already; they’re a group, sorry, I mean BOYBAND making major moves in the music industry and their meteoric rise will only continue. Watch this space because they have the potential to reach seriously incredible heights as a group, whether it remains in the hip-hop genre or not remains to be seen; either way I am so excited for what is next and you should be too.