When I recommend BROCKHAMPTON’s music to my friends, I give them all the same warning: You won’t like this at first.
Listening to BROCKHAMPTON for the first time, it comes across as a cacophony of sound, verses that don’t make sense and random synthetic noises.
It’s as jarring as it is intriguing. From high energy, heart pounding bangers like “BOOGIE” to emotional, heart shattering songs such as “GINGER,” the band offers a dynamic range of music that’s hard to define.
What’s more interesting than their music, though, is their history.
In “JELLO,” founder Kevin Abstract raps “Met all my friends through Kanye West and I ain’t met him yet,” referencing the formation of the band via an online Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) forum in 2010. The group originally called themselves AliveSinceForever before changing their name to BROCKHAMPTON in 2014.
Currently, the band consists of 13 members who contribute to vocals and production.
BROCKHAMPTON coined the catchphrase “America’s favorite boy band.” They push the boundaries of a stereotypical boy band’s appearance, featuring members from diverse backgrounds.
Songs like “FIGHT” highlight members Ameer Vann and Dom McLennon’s experiences with racism and finding their place in the world. Several songs incorporate Abstract’s struggles of growing up queer in a small Texas town.
The band is no stranger to expression through music. BROCKHAMPTON has released albums every year since 2016, with the pandemic in 2020 causing the only exception. With such a wide range of songs, the band tackles a variety of topics and incorporates their own personal feelings into their music.
In 2018, member Ameer Vann left the band after allegations of sexual assault. The band canceled the remainder of its 2018 tour dates and released a statement saying they “were lied to” and expressed remorse for not “acting sooner.”
BROCKHAMPTON used the song “DEARLY DEPARTED” as an outlet to express their complex feelings of grief and betrayal toward their former friend. Abstract begins the song by saying, “What's the point of having a best friend if you end up losin him?” while McLennon mentions in the song that he “does not feel obligated to dismiss the truth because of how I feel about our time.”
The unique way BROCKHAMPTON addressed Vann’s departure from the band demonstrates their persistence in the industry. The band went on to produce albums “iridescence,” “GINGER” and “ROADRUNNER.”
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After their Coachella performance in the spring of 2022, BROCKHAMPTON announced, while wearing varsity jackets that read “All good things must come to an end,” their final album would be released by the end of the year.
There is no official stated reason for the indefinite hiatus, but it appears that time is the biggest factor for the split. Although BROCKHAMPTON has maintained a presence in the industry for almost 12 years, which is impressive considering the large number of members involved, many members, such as Abstract, Matt Champion, Joba and Merlin Wood, have found success in solo projects.
At the end of October, Brockhampton released information on social media about their final album “The Family.” “The Family” will consist of 17 tracks that drop on Nov. 17.
BROCKHAMPTON tends to experiment with different sounds and concepts, and fans will likely get a better feel for the album as the band drops more singles and art to accompany. Fans have already noted that the titles of their new songs are not fully capitalized, and the band responded via their instagram story that this signifies a “new era.”
I hope “The Family” encompasses themes and stories of BROCKHAMPTON’s journey and brotherhood and leaves a sense of closure. BROCKHAMPTON’s music accompanied me through many occasions, from workouts to contemplative moments alone to screaming the lyrics in the car with my best friends.
You might not enjoy BROCKHAMPTON and their outlandish style, and that’s okay. It’s not for everybody. But I’ll always appreciate their contributions to the music industry and to my life.