BROCKHAMPTON: Your New Favorite Boyband
You’ve heard the name. BROCKHAMPTON. They’re probably on that new spotify playlist your friend sent you the other week, the muffled beats from “GOLD” escape the ear buds next to you in the elevator on the way to class, and all of the clout culture fiends are sporting the boy band’s freshest merch. However, it wasn’t long ago that the group was just another underground collective.
A few guys chatting in a Kanye West forum in 2010 has transformed into a 15 member boy band that is gaining the most buzz since One Direction. BROCKHAMPTON is the brainchild of 21-year-old Kevin Abstract, who knew from the release of their debut mixtape All American Trash in 2016 that the group was stacked with star players who were making hip hop music in a way that had never been done before. BH includes rappers, producers, photographers, and creative designers. These behind-the-scenes visionaries are brought along on tour and swooned over just as much as the rappers.
2017 was BH’s most pivotal year of growth. The release of the SATURATION trilogy, the group’s first three studio albums has launched the guys into the limelight. In September they embarked on “Jennifer’s Tour,” their first, with SATURATION I and SATURATION II under their belt. SATURATION III was released in mid-December, and by this point every hip hop enthusiast and beyond already knew it wouldn’t be long until the “hipster version of Odd Future” engulfed mainstream listeners. BH’s ability to release three impeccable albums in six months demonstrated why they’re receiving critical acclaim. The trilogy infuses elements of smooth to gritty trap production underneath swirling falsetto choruses, verses packed with narratives dealing with drug addiction, social injustices, and what it’s like to be queer as a rapper.
On February 5th, the guys played a sold-out show at the House of Blues Boston, a 2,500 capacity venue as opposed to the 575 capacity Middle East that they performed at last September. Before entering, I saw loads of fans decked out in orange jumpsuits and blue painted faces, looks inspired by BH’s SATURATION album covers. There was no shortage of sad bois wearing t-shirts from the original SATURATION album—they wanted everyone to know they were an OG fan, duh.
I caught up with fellow Emerson student Nathan Graham, sophomore Visual & Media Arts major, in line. “BROCKHAMPTON are by far the most inspiring artists that I’ve discovered in the past year,” says Graham. “I really love their fans, which I think is one of their best qualities as America’s Favorite Boy Band.”
Inside, screams spilled down the balcony and mezzanine and producer Romil Hemnani’s parents waved as they took videos of the crowd’s pre-show shenanigans.
From second row to the barricade I could hear the whispers and screams from the pit.
“Bro I can’t wait to hear HOTTIE live!”
“What no, Ameer is the hottest, not Matt!”
“I can’t decide which of Dom’s verses is my favorite, they’re all mad good.”
The house lights faded and a lanky figure emerged wearing a mask. Ameer took off his mask and “BOOGIE” started playing to open the show. “I was standing right in front of the speakers at the time and I could literally feel the bass in my chest, it was so sick!” says sophomore Visual & Media Arts major Eliot Lee.
I was knocked into a whirlpool of jumping and screaming, a mix of groovy dance moves and trap rap thrashing. Witnessing the show from the second row, whilst trying to keep my balance and composure, was a very difficult task.
“JELLO,” “QUEER,” AND “GOLD” were the crowd favorites. Ameer, Dom, Joba, Kevin, Matt, and Merlyn never stopped moving as they sweated and spit their verses even louder and with more fervor than the recorded versions.
The guys paused for a few minutes as they looked into the crowd; they were embracing the epic storm of mosh pits that started with them. The wavy coos to “BLEACH,” a slower but fan favorite track off of SATURATION III, left the crowd pleading along as Kevin reached his microphone farther into the audience so that fans could be heard singing.
After an hour and a half, BH closed the show with an encore of “STAR”, performing it not once but five times for a five star night. Kevin called for fans in the audience who had blue faces or orange jumpsuits during the fourth round of the song to join BH onstage. The energy was overflowing at that point; everyone would remember BH in Boston. The “best mosh pit of the tour” erupted in the middle of the pit as “STAR” was performed for the final time. To make it all official, Kevin took to Twitter after the show, writing, “Boston just beat Tampa. Best show all tour, hands down.”
Illustration by: Hayley Joseph