My conversations usually begin with something like asking someone if they listen to BROCKHAMPTON, and getting a response that they’ve never heard of him.
Well, it’s not that simple. As the self-proclaimed best boy band since One Direction, BROCKHAMPTON is a team. They’re spearheaded by Kevin Abstract, whose real name is Clifford Ian Simpson. Simpson chose the band’s name after the street he grew up on in Corpus Christi, Texas. The rest of the group includes vocalists Matt Champion, Merlyn Wood, Joba, Dom McLennon, Bearface and Jabari Manwa.
Also included are their producers, graphic designer, photographer, web designer and manager, bringing the total up to 13 members. It’s hard to really pin them under a genre. It’s rap, pop and grunge, among other things.
The group met on the online KanyeToThe Forum, when Simpson made a post asking if anyone was interested in joining a band, along with some of his friends from high school.
BROCKHAMPTON is weird—and that’s what makes them so great. They’ve been unconventional from the beginning and have mastered a sound that is truly unique from anyone else in the business. Their beats can be quirky and use autotune to pitch their voices up. There are catchy choruses and hard hitting verses that stick with you emotionally. They haven’t been perfect, but there’s grace in their mistakes.
Live performances for the group are electric and they’ve shown up in matching costumes or painted blue head to toe. They’ve made numerous music videos that are erratic and exciting.
There’s a good chance you’ve heard their song SUGAR, which spent nine weeks on the Billboard Top 100 chart back in 2020. Some of my favorites include BLEACH, WHAT’S THE OCCASION, FACE and HONEY.
Simpson also represents a razor-thin area of hiphop as an openly gay man. BROCKHAMPTON prides themselves in their diversity and all-inclusive mindset. Their lyrics tackle issues like loss and struggles of identity and present a sense of humanism rather than being big name celebrities or superstars.
Unfortunately, the group had to overcome adversity when former member Ameer Vann was removed back in 2018 for multiple abuse allegations, but Simpson said it wasn’t an easy decision considering he and Vann had known each other since they were 14. Vann was also the face of three of their studio albums.
BROCKHAMPTON has only been producing albums since 2016 but have been prolific in their last six years. They’ve put out eight studio albums, highlighted by the SATURATION trilogy, a collection of albums all released in the calendar year of 2017, which is virtually unheard of. Not to mention this was all done without signing to a record label until March 2018.
They added to the catalog with a surprise double release last Thursday, but it was a bit misleading. The first one released was called The Family, but it turned out to be a Kevin Abstract solo project dropped under the group name. The true last collective album from them released that night, named TM.
Abstract made a point to say this was absolutely BROCKHAMPTON’s last project together as they’ve stressed it’s time to go their separate ways and produce music individually. That being said, this wasn’t the first time it’s been the ‘last album’ for the group, which is what they claimed after dropping Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine back in April of 2021.
It’s doubtful, but it may not be the last we’ve seen of BROCKHAMPTON. If it is though, it’ll be hard to forget how incredible, unlikely and fantastic their run was. I speak for millions when I say I was grateful to watch their journey unfold.
Christo Siegel is a junior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Christo by tweeting him at @imchristosiegel.