Hip-hop groups have always been popular since the birth of the genre back in 1973. From Grnandmaster Flash And The Furious Five to NWA, Wu-Tang Clan, and Odd Future, groups have always created some very diverse music. Maybe it’s because of the variety of voices, or the addition of new creative idea, but I’ve always personally been interested in the content groups release. One of the most popular groups that has gained a lot of traction this year is BROCKHAMPTON, a self proclaimed boy band based in Los Angeles but primarily from Texas. And I think they’re the future of hip-hop
Brockhampton got their start on the Kanye West fan website Kanyetothe. The group has passed files to each other back and forth a long period of time, and even released a free mixtape All American Trash. After a couple standalone singles, they took released the first single from their debut album Saturation, “Face”. From that single, which dropped in May, to the album’s release in June, they released three more singles. What these four singles did was show how much variety the group had to offer. From bombastic beats and rapping to a soulful R&B sound with a smooth backbeat, the singles offered it all.
The interesting fact about this album is that the album was done within a month! In an interview with Pigeons and Planes, one of the members of Brockhampton, Merlyn Wood said “When we announced the album, we didn’t even have any songs done,”. When you realize that the project is a 17 song banger with demos and leftovers, the fact it was finished in a month is shocking. Prior to even releasing Saturation I, they announced Saturation II. Four singles and a two months later, the band dropped their second album, and announced the third Saturation project.
Hi! My Name Is Merlyn…
Brockhampton separates themselves from the rest of the music world in a couple key ways. For one, their consistent output is rivaled by very few artists in today who aren’t named ‘Buckethead’. Joking aside, the churned out their project within a month or so, and their second project within three months. Their other big factor is their sound. Each member brings a very unique style to the table. Ameer primarily brings a gangster feel, JOBA a pop feel, Dom a more introspective feel and Merlyn bombastic energy. Of course, that’s not all of the members, but you get the idea.
Their production is also a very stand out point along with their hooks. A song like HEAT has a very aggressive beat and the rappers reflect the sound, whereas SWEET has a variety of flows and styles. One could argue that Merlyn’s aggressiveness doesn’t fit the song, but then again that’s just Merlyn. Brockhampton’s albums don’t follow a consistent idea or theme production wise. For example, let’s observe a stretch of songs from their Saturation II: TEETH. SWAMP, and TOKYO. TEETH is shorter, but is much more aggressive, whereas SWAMP rides a more laid back beat, allowing the rappers to ride the beat and vary up their flow. TOKYO has a much poppier feel and starts off like a Justin Timberlake vibe.
Their collective also takes it a step further to also include video producers, clothing brands and producers. Everything is in house and they don’t necessarily have to reach out to outside sources often. This in my opinion is what really sets aside the boy-band from other groups and artists. They aren’t just a group, but they are their own media agency, their own production team and their own being. And that is truly game changing. That is not to say that other collectives haven’t reached this standard. Odd Future, a strong inspiration of Brockhampton’s, accomplish this, especially Tyler The Creator, but that Brockhampton perceptively has more control.
Wonder where my life went, living in the moment
Brockhampton has exploded on the music scene within this past year. I’m thoroughly excited to see what the South Central boy-band brought together by the internet have to offer the culture. With many distinct voices, catchy as hell flows (What got you shook on a Saturday?!), and the drive to release a third project to add to their two critically acclaimed albums, the sky is the limit.