In 2015, Vice described Brockhampton as “the internet’s first boy band”. Two years later, it’s hard to see the group as anything but that.
The group, formed in San Marcos, Texas, bring a myriad of sounds and styles to form a self-described “all American boyband”. While this may sound odd for a hip hop group, we must note that Brockhampton are rather unique in the sense that their sounds combine, rather than clash. The styles interlace, rather than oppose. Indeed, Craig Jenkins noted, "Brockhampton doesn't behave like a rap group. The vocals are shared, voices intertwined, rather than traded off verse for verse."
The Texan group are made up of Kevin Abstract, JOBA, Ameer Vann, Matt Champion, Dom McLennon and Merlyn Wood.
Each member contributes a certain uniqueness to the crew. Rap groups often have a ‘disposable’ member – naming no names – but no Brockhampton album would feel whole with a missing artist. There’s Kevin Abstract, the founder. Merlyn wood with the hooks, Matt Champion and Joba with the inimitable, humourous verses. Ameer Vann and Dom McLennon add some steel to their delivery. There’s also a dedicated backroom team of producers and managers, making Brockhampton a 16-strong team.
The voices are different, the style is unique, and the messages vary. Their ability to deliver a heartfelt track of an equal standing to a club banger is an art only perfected by those in the Hip Hop Hall of Fame.
The first Brockhampton track I heard was ‘Gummy’ from their second album, Saturation II. A side note - as an Eminem fan, I often have the issue of a lack of new material. With Brockhampton – delivering two albums in under eighty days – you’ll often find too little time to analyse each track individually.
Which is a huge shame, because each verse in itself can be considered an artefact. ‘Gummy’ )itself puts group founder Kevin Abstract’s talent in full view – with Merlyn Wood’s bridge and the underlying beat giving this a very 2000s feel. Jump to another of Keakie favourite below – ‘Sweet’ – and we see a postmodernist composition, combining the influences of Kanye (Matt Champion), Eminem (JOBA) and others over a trance-like beat. Every project is unpredictable, every verse building on the one before in a pseudo-subversive manner.
In terms of quality, however, this is one of the most consistent groups around – dozens of high-quality tracks are being delivered on a regular basis.
Saturation II dropped on 25th August, and based on the singles released thus, the crew are set I’d be for a huge rise in popularity.
Can you believe they met on a Kanye West forum? Check out Brockhampton’s Saturation II below:
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