The title of America’s favorite boyband belongs to a group you have likely never heard of. Brockhampton, the fifteen-member band based out of Los Angeles, are redefining what it means to be a part of a boyband. With three full-length album releases in 2017, back to back tours, and countless music video drops in the span of 8 months, Brockhampton has been making waves within the music industry. The band released their first project, All American Trash, in 2016, though it was not until 2017 and the release of their Saturation trilogy that the band truly started to gain traction and recognition, especially online. The band owes quite a bit to the internet, as it the place where the band has acquired the large following that exists today. Though currently based in California, Brockhampton began in San Marcos, Texas founded by hip-hop artist Kevin Abstract.
The band’s standout project, their Saturation trilogy, is a set of three albums that show the band’s overt ambition and pure musical talent. Though the albums are primarily rap and hip-hop based, the group still manages to explore varying genres and experiments with a wide range of sound. Saturation, the first installment, might be the least diverse sound-wise, yet it still shows the groups mastery of the rap form. Dominant contributors from the group include founder Abstract, and rappers Ameer Vann, Merlyn Wood, Matt Champion, Dom McLennon, and Joba. Members of the group deliver back-to-back hard-hitting verses coupled with sticky sweet hooks courtesy of Abstract and Joba, as seen on standout tracks like “GOLD,” “FAKE,” and “BANK.” Their second installment, Saturation II, shows the band beginning to mature. This maturity is seen in lyricism that deals with darker themes and slower, more melancholy tunes. The album also has a wider sound range than its predecessor. Saturation II features hard-hitting cuts like album opener “GUMMY” and “JUNKY,” a track that deals with issues of homophobia, drug abuse, rape culture, and more. The album also features sunnier tracks like “SWAMP” and “SWEET,” both having same syrupy, earworm hooks the band is an expert in. The album closes on a high note with “SUMMER,” a guitar-driven power ballad from vocalist member bearface.
The band’s final and most recent installment, Saturation III, is their most ambitious project to date. From the outset with opening track “BOOGIE,” Saturation III is high-octane and overtly experimental. Brockhampton is at their best on this album, delivering high energy, in-your-face verses on tracks like “ZIPPER” and “STUPID.” As much as this album is loud and bold, the group also takes ample time to slow down on meaningful cuts like “RENTAL” and the emotion-packed “BLEACH,” which currently stands as the band’s most popular song on the streaming platform Spotify. All in all, Saturation III shows just how much Brockhampton matured and the high degree to which they refined their sound over the span of only a few short months.
Brockhampton is not just saturating our music libraries. The band released fourteen music videos over the span of 2017, the majority of which are directed by frontrunner Kevin Abstract. The band also had a TV show on the network Viceland. Titled American Boyband, the show chronicles Abstract in the early stages of forming the Brockhampton and turning their internet following into real life success. Last December, the band released Billy Star, a 22-minute short film also directed by Abstract and featuring songs from Saturation III. The film is a picturesque, sunset-hued suburban love story that packs a big emotional punch and shows promise for film releases from Brockhampton in the future.
With all their past projects, Brockhampton has still made time to go on two national tours. Last year the group went on “Jennifer’s Tour,” a whirlwind tour all in the month of September. The band is currently playing their “Love Your Parents” tour, running from January to March of 2018. On January 23rd and 24th, the band played two sold-out shows at Atlanta’s Buckhead Theater. As expected from their Saturation albums, the show itself was insanely high energy. Lead members performed onstage in matching orange jumpsuits, riling up the crowd and keeping audience members fully engaged and entertained throughout the set as they played their most popular cuts spanning their discography.
All in all, Brockhampton is transforming the original notion of what it means to be a part of a boyband. Forget a cookie-cutter, corporate influenced collection of endearing British 20-somethings. Brockhampton’s musical talent and penchant for creating stellar content of varying mediums sets them apart from their contemporaries. On “BOOGIE,” Kevin Abstract raps “Best boyband since One Direction.” At their current rate of creation, it is not hard to see why Brockhampton is claiming this title as their own.