BROCKHAMPTON. Have you heard of them? If not, you really should have. Hip-hop is changing, and artists like those in the 2015-established "musical collective," BROCKHAMPTON are the forerunners for this change.
Millennial rap is in, old-school rap is out. Forget about P Diddy (or, 'Love,' as he most recently referred to himself as in his latest Vogue 73 Questions interview), LL Cool J, Jay Z or any of the like. The new hip-hop is "hip," it's inclusive, and it's more in-your-face than ever before.
Who is Brockhampton?
They call themselves a '"boy band," but in all honesty, they are far from it. BROCKHAMPTON is more of a creative collective or "hip-hop startup company." Driven by their co-founder, Kevin Abstract, the group's individuals fiddle with an assortment of arts ranging from photography to production, as well as their most notable, new-age, futuristic, and somewhat weird hip-hop, rap, and R&B music.
- Ian "Kevin Abstract" Simpson – vocals, video direction, creative direction (2012-present)
- Ameer Vann – vocals (2012-present)
- William Andoh "Merlyn" Wood – vocals (2015-present)
- Dominique "Dom McLennon" Simpson – vocals (2013-present)
- Matt Champion – vocals (2015-present)
- Russell "JOBA" Boring – vocals, production, mixing, mastering, engineering (2015-present)
- Ciarán "bearface" McDonald – vocals, production (2015-present)
- Romil Hemnani – production, engineering (2015-present)
- Q3 – production
- Jabari Manwa (2015-present)
- Isaiah "Kiko Merley" Merriweather (2015-present)
- Henock "HK" Sileshi – creative direction, graphic design (2015-present)
- Robert Ontenient – webmaster (2015-present)
- Jon Nunes – management (2015-present)
- Ashlan Grey – photography (2016-present)
Towards the beginning of June, the collective released their debut album, 'Saturation', and boy, did it hit the spot. Tunes such as "STAR" and "HEAT" were a part of that first set, and the boys have released two more albums since: 'Saturation II, and III'. I mean listen to "BOOGIE" and tell me it isn't pure genius...
Why They Really Are a Big Deal
Not only are their songs just consistently impressive, but they really are changing hip-hop (I'm not sure if I mentioned that already...). We all know that hip-hop doesn't have the best reputation when it comes to inclusivity vis-à-vis issues such as heteronormativity, sexuality and such. However, I no longer see this being the case in the very near future, or possibly present. Although, I would not necessarily class Frank Ocean as a hip-hop artist, I definitely think he was a major influencer in the black music industry, and now, Ocean has a whole group of uber-cool, different and representative protégés.
Here's an excerpt from Saturation II's 'JUNKY':
Is it homophobic to only hook up with straight niggas?
You know like closet niggas, masc-type
Why don't you take that mask off? That's the thought I had last night
"Why you always rap about bein' gay?"
'Cause not enough niggas rap and be gay
Where I come from, niggas get called "faggot" and killed
So I'ma get head from a nigga right here
So, if you hadn't heard, Kevin Abstract is gay. And he doesn't hide it. And I love that.
As well as the ability and perseverance to normalise homosexuality in hip-hop culture, BROCKHAMPTON also challenges the outdated perception of "masculinity" in a heteronormative society. They transparently address their instabilities, mention them through lyric and discuss things which no other hip-hop artists have dared to.
BROCKHAMPTON is Odd Future for people who went to college. Some members are gay, some are straight, they have three amazing albums, and their music is heat.