The World’s Greatest Boyband: Brockhampton

Staff Writer: Hannah Johnson  

Brockhampton is an American musical collective formed in San Marcos, Texas, in 2015 and currently based in California. Led by Kevin Abstract, Brockhampton formed partially through the online forum “KanyeToThe”, and describe themselves as a boy band. The group consists of vocalists Kevin Abstract, Matt Champion, Merlyn Wood, and Dom McLennon, vocalists/producers Joba and Bearface, and producers Romil Hemnani, Jabari Manwa, and Kiko Merley (the latter two of which function as the duo Q3), as well as graphic designer Henock “HK” Sileshi, photographer Ashlan Grey, web designer Roberto Ontenient (who also features prominently in voice skits), and manager Jon Nunes.

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Brockhampton allegedly takes up to two weeks to complete each album. How do they do it? 

 

The group released their first mixtape All-American Trash in 2016. The first album from the “Saturation Trilogy”, as well as their debut album Saturation was released on June 9, 2017, followed by Saturation II on Aug 25 and Saturation III on Dec 15. On March 30, 2018, Brockhampton announced that they had signed a record deal under the label RCA Records. Their fourth studio album, Iridescence, was released on Sept 21, 2018. This album is also the first in their second trilogy, known as “The Best Years of Our Lives”. 

In 2010, Kevin Abstract made a post on the Kanye Live online forum (now known as KanyeToThe) asking if anyone wanted to form a band, to which over 30 users responded. After this AliveSinceForever was then formed, although the band only went active in 2012.  

In 2013, AliveSinceForever released their debut EP album, The ASF EP. The lineup consisted of Abstract, Ameer Vann, Dom Mclennon, and Mic Kurb (later known as Rodney Tenor). At the end of 2014, AliveSinceForever disbanded to rebrand as the band, Brockhampton. “Brockhampton is the kind of group that you can drive around town with friends and jam out like maniacs”. – Ryan Mcall, KSU sophomore.  

Following the release of Abstract’s MTV1987, AliveSinceForever rebranded as Brockhampton and added several new members, some of whom were recruited through Kanye West fan forum KanyeToThe. In Jan 2015, Brockhampton released their debut single, “Bet I” accompanied by a video directed by members Henock “HK” Sileshi and Franklin Mendez. “Bet I” was removed from all streaming platforms in 2017, although the music video can still be found on YouTube. On June 16, 2015, Brockhampton released their second single, “Hero”. That same month, Brockhampton won the VFiles Loud contest, winning them a professionally directed music video for their next single “Dirt”, released through Fool’s Gold Records.  

On March 24, 2016, Brockhampton released their debut mixtape, All-American Trash for free. The project focuses on highlighting the group’s individual members and was led by the music video “Flip Mo”, performed by Merlyn Wood and featuring Dom Mclennon. 

On Dec 14, 2017, Brockhampton announced their fourth studio album, Team Effort, slated for release in 2018, along with a new single from Saturation III, “Stains”. Saturation III was released on December 15 to even further critical acclaim. The group also filmed a self-funded, feature-length movie to celebrate the Saturation trilogy. In March 2018, Brockhampton announced that Team Effort had been delayed indefinitely, and that they would instead release their fourth studio album Puppy in mid-2018. The next week, they announced via social media that they had signed a record deal with Sony’s RCA Records. Billboard reported that according to label sources, the deal was worth more than $15 million for six albums over three years. Puppy was delayed following allegations of sexual misconduct against founding member Ameer Vann. Although Vann admitted to being mentally and verbally abusive, he denied allegations of sexual abuse. “Hearing about the Ameer drama really set a lot of fans back. I can imagine a lot were very hurt and disappointed that such a huge part of the group did such awful things”. – Anthony Scott, KSU sophomore.

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Here we see the infamous Ameer Van (blue hoodie) hanging out with the group long ago. Would you say the group is better off without him?

On May 27, Brockhampton announced that Vann would no longer be a part of the group, stating that they “were lied to” and apologizing “for not speaking up sooner”. The group canceled the remainder of their tour dates, including an appearance at the Governors Ball Music Festival. 

On June 20, the band appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, in their late-night television debut, and their first performance since announcing Vann’s departure. They debuted the track “Tonya”, accompanied by guest vocalist Jazmine Sullivan, Ryan Beatty and Serpent with Feet, as well as revealing the new title of their upcoming album, The Best Years of Our Lives. Following the performance, the band resumed their summer tour, headlining the Agenda Festival in Long Beach, California. The next month the group announced a Beats 1 radio show Things We Lost in the Fire Radio, promising “new music all summer”. The show’s first episode was aired on July 6, 2018, featuring the debut of single “1999 Wildfire”, released that day with an accompanying music video. The track features vocals by Jazze Pha.

On July 18, the single “1998 Truman” was debuted as a part of the show’s second episode. A music video for the track was released later that day. On July 27, the group released the single “1997 Diana”, accompanied by a music video. Later that day the song was featured on the third episode of Things We Lost in the Fire Radio, alongside the unfinished track “Don’t Be Famous”.  On Aug 26, 2018, the group announced that a new album titled Iridescence, recorded in Abbey Road Studios, would be released in September. The band also announced dates of their new “I’ll be there” tour.  Iridescence was officially released on September 21, consisting of fifteen new songs, including the studio version of “Tonya” without Sullivan and Beatty, who led the vocals during the debut performance of the song in June 2018.

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Many critics have picked apart Brockhampton’s new album due to their obscure sounds and lyrics.

Photo Courtesy of; Creative Commons 

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