Artist Spotlight: Brockhampton a breath of fresh air in rap

 Brockhampton technically expands beyond the handful of voices on their recordings. In total, there are 14 members of Brockhampton, contributing photography, production and web design to the collective. (Photo via Brockhampton's Twitter)

Brockhampton technically expands beyond the handful of voices on their recordings. In total, there are 14 members of Brockhampton, contributing photography, production and web design to the collective. (Photo via Brockhampton's Twitter)

Brockhampton call themselves a “boy band,” which can be confusing at first. The group’s sound is grounded in rap and R&B, but they are experimental in every facet, from how they define themselves to their music.

Responding to the confusion over the “boy band” label, Brockhampton member Kevin Abstract tweeted “just cause we're not white and some of us rap and like dick… doesn't mean we're not a boyband.”

Brockhampton technically expands beyond the handful of voices on their recordings. In total, there are 14 members of Brockhampton, contributing photography, production and web design to the collective. Being a creative team rather than a music group has allowed Brockhampton to maintain creative control over their three 2017 releases, the “Saturation” trilogy. Just a few weeks ago, the group signed to RCA Records for a deal reportedly worth $15 million.

Some fans expressed reluctance to the idea of a major label Brockhampton. But it’s likely the group will be able to enjoy the resources of RCA without bending to major label pressure. Brockhampton has one thing a lot of artists don’t upon signing: leverage. They gained a cult following by self-releasing four full-lengths. Altering that formula now risks alienating fans. Hopefully, RCA realizes that and allows the group to maintain creative control. Abstract assured fans on Twitter that “nothing changes.”

The group’s uniquely surreal sound has drawn comparisons to Odd Future. Sometimes their lyrics are emotional, other times they are aggressive and even uncomfortable. The group raps about sexuality, mental health and race, among other social issues. Their production pulls in everything from boisterous horns to 8-bit melodies to speaker-shaking bass.

It can be hard to categorize a group who refuses to stick to a definitive sound. “Cash” is song that muses on social issues backed by emo-reminiscent guitar. “Who command my scholarship and kick us out our neighborhood?” Merlyn Wood wonders.

“Boogie” is in-your-face, with blaring sirens and jazzy horns complementing the cocky lyrics, proclaiming they’re the “best boy band since One Direction” and establishing their dominance in the music world.

On a single album, the group will flip what they’re doing on its head. They’ll go from a slow R&B-inflected jam to a rambunctious rap song. Brockhampton maintains, however, it’s never just about the music. Rather, Brockhampton is the entire creative vision of the group.

“I want Brockhampton to be like Paramount or something, and you don't really know who's behind it,” Abstract told The Fader. “You just think about Brockhampton and all the types of content we provide.”

In addition to music, the group churns out short films and cinematic music videos, photography collections, clothing and more. Any creative endeavor you can name, Brockhampton’s got a foot in it. If you’re looking for your next obsession, Brockhampton’s got plenty to explore.


Schae Beaudoin is the life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at schae.beaudoin@uconn.edu.