New artist of the week: Brockhampton
Rap boy band crew with members from the US, Grenada and Ireland
Seriously solid crew: Brockhampton
What: Boy band rap moguls in waiting.
Where: US, Grenada and Ireland
Why: Crews have been synonymous with rap music since the days of The Rock Steady Crew and include Wu-Tang Clan, Odd Future and A$AP Mob, but Brockhampton are the first to self-style themselves as a boy band.
The 15 all-male members, headed by Kevin Abstract, met on a Kanye West forum online, and the members come from places including Texas, Florida, Connecticut, Grenada and Belfast (Ciarán Ruaridh McDonald aka Bearface is a producer for the group). They talk of Brockhampton being a corporation that includes a rap collective, a record label, media company and creative agency.
It’s their music that is most notable. Brockhampton’s sound isn’t easy to distil but it does have an outsider POV, off-kilter production and pop hooks. Abstract is refreshingly open about being gay throughout their releases, an openness that is still depressingly uncommon in rap. This year, the first two of a planned trilogy of albums under the name Saturation have galvanised their breakthrough and won them diehard fans, and they’ve been the subject of an eight-part Viceland documentary series following them on tour.
A group with more than a dozen members and multiple releases can be a bewildering thing to delve into, but Brockhampton’s collective energy is palpable, and a growing fanbase is listening to their development as it happens.