03 Oct BROCKHAMPTON: A Breakdown of the Unconventional Boyband
Whether you’re into hip hop or it’s not your scene, it’s still likely you’ve heard of the rap collective BROCKHAMPTON over the past couple years. Currently standing at upwards of 13 members and 5 studio albums since 2017, you may wonder how a group could get together and produce so many great albums in such a short amount of time. With the recent release of Ginger, what better time to do a quick review of the group’s history, discography and members.
Founder Kevin Abstract
Although they released their first single as “BROCKHAMPTON” in 2015, founder Kevin Abstract began the collective as far back as 2010 when he made a post looking for members on a Kanye fan forum. From this post, a group AliveSinceForever was formed and one EP in 2017. However, the group split up by 2014 and was rebranded as BROCKHAMPTON. They then released their first mixtape, ALL-AMERICAN TRASH, in 2016.
Checkout my personal favourite from the mixtape “INFATUATION” below.
2017 was when things got really crazy for the group with the release of their Saturation trilogy. SATURATION was released in June 2017, and I was quickly obsessed with “FACE” and “GOLD”. To the excitement of their quickly growing fan base, they then announced that a continuation was already being working on and would be released in August. This turned out to be Saturation II, and Saturation III, the trilogy conclusion, was announced just before it’s release.
It is basically unheard of to release three large albums of high-quality content in just a 7-month time span. It was a risk but most certainly payed off. The Saturation trilogy will likely always be my favourite content from BROCKHAMPTON. There is such a unique quality to all three of the albums. Somehow, they were able to combine a mix of some hard-hitting rap songs along with sad ballads and somewhere in between all together and make it work. All of the songs have a different sound and feel; however, they are still uniform enough to represent BROCKHAMPTON and have them be easily identifiable. I feel as though where they really shine is through their combination of extremely catchy choruses paired with rap verses. Most rap artists accomplish this with features, but since not all members of BROCKHAMPTON are rappers, they’re able to accomplish this on their own. As catchy as songs like “BOOGIE” are, nothing can hit you in the feels like “BLEACH”.
If you haven’t listened to any of the trilogy in depth before, here are some standout songs:
After a well-deserved break following the Saturation trilogy, BROCKHAMPTON released iridescence in 2018. This album had a very experimental feel and strayed a lot from the sound that everyone loved in the Saturation albums. In my opinion this album was a bit of a let down in comparison to their previous albums. It felt like a set back after their very successful start. Many people suspected this might be due to the fact that the group lost a member that was fairly vital to the Saturation albums, Ameer Vann. Ameer contributed many of the well-known verses in all of the Saturation albums, but was kicked out of the group by Abstract following allegations of sexual misconduct. The remainder of their tour was also cancelled following the scandal. With such a large group, it seemed inevitable that some members would be lost here and there.
The group made a comeback from iridescence with their August release of GINGER. The sound of this album goes back to the root sound they became known for, and has some really great singles as well as distinct overall vibe. My personal favorites include “NO HALO”, “SUGAR” and “I BEEN BORN AGAIN”.
Many of the group’s key rappers also have solo work, notably Kevin Abstract and Matt Champion. Abstract released his third studio album ARIZONA BABY this April and Champion has a few popular singles, “Fangs” being a standout.
Merlyn Wood and Dom McLennon are two other familiar voices from the rap verses. However, an interesting thing about the group is that not all members are rappers. Russell Boring (JOBA) and Ciaran Ruaridh McDonald (bearface), are responsible for many of the catchy choruses. There are also producers, artists, creative directors, web developers and more which are also considered part of the boy band and appear in many of the videos.
BROCKHAMPTON produces a lot of visual content on top of their music. They even have some songs that are stand alone videos. Here’s a couple I would recommend checking out:
They also released a video “This is Dominic Fike”, starring the “3 Nights” singer that has had rising popularity recently. Fingers crossed for more collaborations between them coming up!
We’ve certainly not heard the last of BROCKHAMPTON. Abstract has said that they hope to be the “biggest band in the world”. I’m looking forward to seeing what content, audio and visual, is coming next.
View BROCKHAMPTON’s full discography here:
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