culture

Why Brockhampton Is Special to the Music Industry and Culture

The rap collective—aka ‘America’s favorite boy band’—is teasing new music and we can’t wait for it to drop this summer

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Brockhampton performs at Governors Ball / Getty Images

Brockhampton recently gifted fans with a teaser for a cryptic project titled Ginger. The 49-second video shows band member Matt Champion sitting on the golden wing of a parked plane as a song from the upcoming project plays. The camera zooms in as Champion toils with his shoe laces, showing us a clear closeup of “GINGER” emblazoned on his red cap. We don’t know an exact release date or how many tracks the project will have, but we do know why Ginger is worth the wait. 

In September 2018, the California-based rap collective released its Iridescence album. Now, after taking a much-needed break from music to host group therapy sessions with Shia LaBeoufGinger will surprisingly arrive in the near future. How soon, though?

 

In an interview with GQ, lead singer Kevin Abstract confirmed Ginger will be out this summer and will have strong influences from OutKast. “We want to make a summer album,” Abstract said. “Feel-good. Not too sad and like, ‘Oh, our life sucks,’ just more like, ‘Just enjoy what's in front of you.’”

Becoming Brockhampton

If you haven’t discovered Brockhampton yet, let us explain why you should care now. The 13-member boy band, whose size has fluctuated over the years, was formed in San Marcos, Texas, in 2015. What started as a callout from Abstract in an online forum—“Anyone wanna make a band?”—quickly expanded into a group of vocalists, producers, designers, videographers … and a manager (can’t forget the manager).

 

A distinguishable mixed sound of pop, rap, indie and queer is the product of a band made up of members of varying races, regions and sexual orientations. Every member of the group has a different persona and a distinctly different vocal style.

With Kevin Abstract, Merlyn Wood, Ashlan Grey, Matt Champion and Joba hailing from Texas; Jabari Manwa, HK, Robert Ontenient and Kiko Merley from Florida; Romil Hemnaniand Dom McLennon from Connecticut; and Bearface from Northern Ireland, the musical composition possibilities for this group are endless and make way for longevity. Each music video is artistically crafted yet simple. Their album cover art is barely complex but still always compelling. They effortlessly grasp the aesthetically visual online world while keeping it contemporarily fresh. 

 

Inclusivity and diversity are at the forefront of the band’s culture and lyrics, resulting in a huge fan base on a level deeper than music. In a genre that rarely castigates abuse and hosts a significant library of lyrics that highlight misogyny and disrespect toward women, Brockhampton is working against it. In a verse on “Junky,” Champion tackles rape culture and won the band major respect. 

But Brockhampton’s consciousness and action against rape culture go beyond lyrics. The band has a strong no-tolerance rule for sexual misconduct, and the group recently kicked out lead rapper Ameer Vann. A founding member and literally the face of two Brockhampton albums, Vann was forced to leave the group after allegations of sexual and emotional abuse were posted on Twitter. The removal, public statement and decision to regroup after the news was highly admirable and a mature course of action that fans appreciated.

Redefining ‘Boy Band’ for a New Generation

Since 2015, Brockhampton has been redefining what it means to be a boy band. They’re a music group first but also a creative collective, record label and community organization that hosts therapy sessions for artists. They’re changing the homophobic space in hip-hop, dismantling misogyny, normalizing mental health and pushing the limits of modern rap. 

 

You’d think a music group with this many members would struggle with fitting everyone on a track or lack flow and smooth transitions, but Brockhampton conquers the odds, as demonstrated during this 2018 performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Brockhampton is easily winning fans with stellar music, personal anecdotes and socially conscious vibes. Anticipation for Ginger is as high as its expectations. A summer album after a year of change, therapy and regrouping sounds extremely promising and we can safely assume this next release will live up to all the hype. 

 

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