‘The Internet’s First Boy Band’ was founded on the online music forum, ‘KanyeToThe’ in 2015, when it’s several members made the life changing decision to move to Los Angeles to pursue their creative careers as a collective. Comprised of both talented musicians and inspired art directors, BROCKHAMPTON currently consists of 15 members, who, since the band’s conception, have formed a considerable fan base and even gained the attention of artists such as Tyler, The Creator and Jaden Smith. If you aren’t familiar with them already, or if you’re an existing fan, I aim to outline the key reasons why for me, BROCKHAMPTON’s discography is essential listening for any music fanatic.
The large roster that BROCKHAMPTON boasts not only enables them to output exceptional music at an unrivalled rate, it also creates a diverse blend of distinctive sounds – both in their flows and production styles. From their hard-hitting bangers such as ‘BUMP’ and ‘JUNKY’ to spaced out cuts like ‘CANNON’ and ‘SWAMP’ (which are reminiscent of tracks from Outkast’s ATliens), BROCKHAMPTON’s gifted team of producers are consistently delivering a range of tracks which challenge your conception of the term “boy band”.
Although Romil Hemnani and Q3 (Isaiah Merriweather and Jabari Manwarring) handle the majority of production, numerous members of the group provide additional help with production and instrumentation, thus, creating a wide scope for the inspirations and musical elements which go into the band’s albums. So far they have released two albums from their SATURATION trilogy, in addition to their debut All-American Trash, throughout which no two tracks sound alike or possess recycled beats. The difference in vibe on the abrasive, hard hitting opening track to SATURATION I, ‘HEAT’, to the emotionally driven penultimate song, ‘FACE’, is something which few artists can execute so seamlessly and with such an effective result.
In addition to flaunting diversity in their production styles, the band’s front men come from an assortment of backgrounds and it is this variety of circumstances that ultimately plays into the members’ sense of individuality. This is fundamentally effective in the creation of a greater piece and really translates across in their lyricism and vocal styles. Ameer Vann describes in a shortcut film (made for Ray-Ban) collecting trash and working in a slaughterhouse before he began pursuing his dream. Energetic vocalist Merlyn Wood decided to leave Texas to join the group after trading in studying at an architecture school for larger aspirations as a front man for BROCKHAMPTON. The synergy present in this collective of young talent could only have come from a set of such individually driven members.
Each member remains true to his own roots and personal style, most notably, however, the founder of the crew, Kevin Abstract, who is recognised for being an extremely talented artist. Abstract also joins names such as Frank Ocean and Syd in the list of LGBTQ musicians who are currently pushing for and creating a community in which artists can be open about their sexuality. In Abstract’s case, it is refreshing and enjoyable to see an artist who approaches presenting his homosexuality in his music with such boldness and tenacity, while avoiding coming across as gimmicky. He consistently delivers punchy verses and entertainingly catchy hooks while the band as a collective strive to challenge stereotypes of what the male Hip Hop star must conform to. In a time where Hip Hop, despite having managed to shed some of its homophobic image, still has considerable work to do, with rappers such as Kodak Black having recently receiving backlash for homophobic comments, BROCKHAMPTON is an important pro-LGBTQ powerhouse that needs to be heard.
THEIR MUSIC BANGS
The final reason you need to hear BROCKHAMPTON’s output is simple – it’s extremely good. I’ve already discussed the diversity of the band’s talent, but that barely scratches the surface. Throughout their discography, Abstract and his posse of visionaries explore different themes of love, heartache, chasing your dreams, racism and more, all the while making it exceptionally pleasurable to listen to. Their emotionally charged songs are hard-hitting and passionate, but BROCKHAMPTON’s ability to make a “banger” is worthy of commendation. The track ‘GOLD’ has one of the catchiest hooks of 2017, and it’s not the only song on their albums which has an exceeding and memorable hook which will linger in your head for weeks to follow. With lyrics such as “Bitch, I ain’t your friend. I ain’t having kids, ‘cause I know that if I’m gon’ bring them in the world. My little spawns of Satan just might take off with your fucking girl” on the track ‘BUMP’, the members of BROCKHAMPTON have enough bravado to match up with some of the biggest names in Hip Hop and the talent to back it up.
The production value of their music is one of the many things which has gained so much attention for the band recently, which, when combined with the verses and hooks of their extremely talented vocalists creates a recipe for some outstanding music. If you need any more convincing you can also check out some of the great visuals for the singles off their recent albums on their YouTube channel. With the recent release of SATURATION II and the third instalment of the trilogy in the works, you couldn’t pick a better time to get in on the hype surrounding BROCKHAMPTON.