“The Best Boyband In The World”
BROCKHAMPTON is redefining the music industry. The band began with founding member Ian Simpson posting on a Kanye West fan forum called KanyeToThe. The post simply read, “Anybody wanna make a band? Who’s down?” and that is all it took for the self-proclaimed boy band to kick off their careers. Ian, also known by stage name Kevin Abstract, posted under username “harry styles” at the time and had never even met the people he was reaching out to, but this DIY experiment shows how the average person can make it in an overcrowded, ever-expanding industry.
As of last year the band put out a three-album trilogy titled “Saturation I”, “Saturation II” and “Saturation III”. The release of these albums landed them a track in the Triple J hottest 100 of 2017 and came in at number 11. Within a year they’ve gone from almost completely unknown to sharing a stage with the Wu Tang Clan. There was no PR plan besides sharing the best music they could create. They trusted that what they were doing was needed and interesting enough for people to want to find out about them.
Although the group has 14 official members, only a handful of them are involved in the production of tracks and actively rap on them. Everyone else adds to the group with whatever skills they have. These skills range from managing tours to lighting setups to graphic design.
Kevin Abstract is the visionary and objectively revolutionary gay rapper leader, with songwriting credits on almost every track. With the most developed solo career of the group because of the release of his own album “American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story” and accompanying tour, his fingerprints are easy to spot on the group’s musical direction.
Matt Champion (left) is also a main rapper in the group and notably one of the fan favorites. Dom McLennon (right) is another rapper in the group who often switches up his approach and flow for each song.
Joba (top left) mixes and masters all the group’s music, along with occasional production and lending his falsetto and spastic rapping to the song chemistry. Merlyn (right) is another key rapper and is often called the group’s hype man. Bearface (bottom left) is a singer and guitarist most notable for his role on the closing track of each Saturation album.
Then there is the production aspect of BROCKHAMPTON. The duo of Jabari Manwa and Kiko Merley and their presence is felt throughout the Saturation trilogy. HK is the group’s graphic designer and one of the key creative directors. He’s responsible for the single and album covers and also edits the music videos, documentaries and short films. Ashlan Grey is the cinematographer and cameraman and is responsible for most of the visuals that BROCKHAMPTON puts out. Robert Ontenient, AKA Roberto, is the band’s webmaster. Jon Nunes is the tour manager and makes appearances in the group’s tour vlogs. Romil Hemnani works with recording engineering and DJing at live shows and performances. Lastly, there is Kevin Doan, a VFX engineer and production assistant in BROCKHAMPTON.
Video courtesy of BROCKHAMPTON.
Many fans find it easier to relate to BROCKHAMPTON because of the many members under its belt.
“Because there are so many members of BROCKHAMPTON, they can really reach out to a whole plethora of people,” senior Wyatt Colceri said.
The diversity of BROCKHAMPTON doesn’t just stop at members, but extends to rap topics as well. Topics can range from Matt rapping about rape culture in “Junky” to leader Kevin Abstract singing lovingly about his boyfriend in “Something About Him”. These boundary-pushing lyrics are seemingly one of the reasons senior Melanie Brustad said she connects with BROCKHAMPTON.
“They’re sort of unconventional and I just think that’s really cool. The fact that the band is made up of so many different people is why I think so many people have started to like them and they do have such progressive music so that factors into it, too.” – Brustad
As of now, this group has seemingly altered the rap scene to make it more progressive and changed perceptions of how the music industry functions in 2018. For success as of now, BROCKHAMPTON has just released their most recent album “Iridescence”, earning the band their first number one album. As Billboard points out, the group’s new album has earned 101,000 equivalent units in the week ending September 27, 2018. Of that number, 79,000 represent traditional album sales, a number notably bolstered by the group’s efforts to bundle albums with merchandise sales. Their “I’ll Be There” tour ended in early December.
It seems that in 2018, with resources being available at anyone’s fingertips, traditional business models are getting a bit blurry and have been completely replaced by passion and personal drive. The innovative members of BROCKHAMPTON have proved themselves to be modern entrepreneurs of hip hop.
Feature photo: BROCKHAMPTON on Jimmy Fallon, courtesy of Andrew Lipovsky.