In an interview with The Fader, Brockhampton founder Kevin Abstract said that he thinks what they’re “doing hasn’t really ever been done before.” In a way, it’s very true, as a rap group that defines itself as a “boy band” hasn’t challenged the musical genre norms and definitions since rappers started singing, but the idea of a young rap group/creative artistic hub has been around for a while, most recently in the late 2000’s with Odd Future.
There is more to Brockhampton than a decade-displaced Odd Future however, and it’s past lyrics and function. Sure, they have the same amount of crew affiliation and violent, provocative lyrics, but they’re going about the whole thing differently than simply a “rap collective.” Branding themselves as a “boy band,” Brockhampton acts more as a bunch of talented artists than it does a rap clique, especially due to their penchant for catchy choruses and inclusion of every prominent member in almost every song.
The main player at work is Kevin Abstract, Brockhampton’s leader/founder, a rapper from the city of Corpus Christi in Texas (the state where the group formed), who joins other openly gay rappers in hip-hop such as Young M.A, Cakes da Killa, and Frank Ocean. In Brockhampton’s most popular song “Junky,” Abstract has the first verse (a verse that took the title for August’s Verse of the Month), in which he addresses the lack of conversation regarding homophobia and sexuality in rap music.
It’s not a topic that defines Brockhampton’s music, or even all of Kevin’s verses, but it’s a defining moment that garnered a lot of interest on music sites across the board. What Kevin Abstract brings to the table is but just another tool in Brockhampton’s genre-bending music however, as the rest of the group all have their own specific talents as well.
Rappers Ameer Vann and Dom McLennon represent classic hip-hop, Matt Champion channels the energy of the Beastie Boys, Merlyn Wood represents the sing-rapping of contemporaries like Lil Yachty and Lil Uzi Vert, JOBA sings with impeccable falsetto, production team Q3 and Romil Hemnani capture the emerging sounds of the genre while creating new ones, and video producer Robert Ortinent brings to mind the Odd Future-style of visuals that stressed home-made footage over big budget productions.
Songs like “Heat” are among their most aggressive/Odd Future-adjacent, “Gold” their catchiest, “Star” their most weed-rap/Das Racist-like rhymes, “Jesus” their most personal, “Face” their most groovy/”Redbone” by Childish Gambino-esque, and “Bank” their most contemporary. They’ve also been releasing music and videos at an incredible pace, with two records out and one on the way before the year’s end. Brockhampton represent everything that’s exciting about the next generation of hip-hop artists, whether it’s creatively, musically, or even functionally, and if they’re anything like Odd Future, it only gets more interesting from here.
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