It’s not often that a rap collective dubs themselves a boyband, but Brockhampton, the self-proclaimed ‘best boyband since One Direction,’ is a 14-piece group that is no stranger to defying creative norms. Five of the group’s members serve as the performers/vocalists, while the remaining members are producers, photographers, graphic designers, etc. Brockhampton has always been adamant about their decision to include their whole team in their ‘headcount,’ rather than letting their behind-the-scenes work go unrecognized.
Brockhampton first shot to fame in the summer of 2017, after rapidly dropping a trilogy of albums titled SATURATION I, II, and III. Their sound is based in alternative/experimental hip-hop, but elements from countless genres sneak into their songs. Their versatility as artists is what sets them apart from other rap collectives; their discography is equal parts bouncy, aggressive trap beats and soft, emotionally-charged songs. Fans are drawn to the honesty of their lyrics; for example, group frontrunner Kevin Abstract raps about the difficulties of being gay, rising to fame too quickly, and his struggles with religion.
The group has seen intense ups and downs in their two and a half years of fame. In May of 2018, one of the group’s main vocalists, Ameer Vann, was very publicly kicked from the group in the middle of their tour due to allegations of sexual misconduct from multiple women. This was a devastating blow for Brockhampton, but they’ve successfully regrouped, having released two albums since. Their most recent studio album, GINGER, dropped this August, and it’s one of their most cohesive and acclaimed bodies of work thus far.
I saw Brockhampton in the New Orleans leg of their Heaven Belongs to You tour, at the Fillmore. The stage was mostly bare, except for a single couch and three giant, LED-lined mirrored crosses that hung from the top of the stage, an homage to the tour’s religious name. Their set didn’t require any fancy frills or green-screens, as the real spectacle to watch was the boys of Brockhampton themselves.
Brockhampton gives every single show their all, jumping and dancing and letting their music explode through them. I’ve been to a good amount of standing-room only shows, but the pure electricity that pulsed through the crowd at this concert was unlike anything I’ve experienced before. The audience seemed to move as one, matching the crazy, heart-stopping energy that Brockhampton brought to their performance.
Their setlist was GINGER-centric, but favorites from all five of their albums were featured. They performed close to twenty of their most popular songs, and closed with an electrifying rendition of their song NEW ORLEANS, in honor of being in the titular city.
It’s safe to say that the boys of Brockhampton come out on top as some of my favorite artists in recent years. I had the pleasure of meeting three of the group’s members the day before the concert. Kevin Abstract tweeted out that the group would be stopping at The Boot to meet fans, and they did not disappoint, patiently taking a million photos and chatting with anyone who wanted to talk to them. Brockhampton is carving out their own niche in the world of hip-hop, and if you have the chance to see them perform live, it’ll be an electric experience that you won’t soon forget.
Cover Photo: Brockhampton Fandom