The collective of rappers, singers, producers, designers, and directors known as BROCKHAMPTON is one of the first true creatures of the internet era. Born from a thread on a Kanye West message board (title: “Anybody wanna make a band?”), the group convened in the mid-2010s at a shared house in Los Angeles, turning out three albums (2017’s Saturation, Saturation II, and Saturation III) in a mere six months, while handling all aspects of art, design, and videography themselves. Following that trilogy, the outfit—which calls itself hip-hop's first boy band—made the jump to RCA Records, releasing Iridescence in late 2018. Like Odd Future (the 2000s collective that BROCKHAMPTON leader Kevin Abstract has called his heroes), the group represents a DIY ethic historically more in tune with that of punk than hip-hop—not just making music, but also building a world around it, with raucous, stage-diving live energy to match. They’re also part of an ever-widening definition of what hip-hop can be, injecting color and eccentricity into a genre sometimes burdened by self-importance, and tackling subjects (queerness and mental health, for example) most rappers still won’t touch. Speaking to Zane Lowe in 2017, Kevin Abstract said, “I think everyone’s gotta really just capture this moment while we’re broke as hell, living in South Central, 20 of us in one house, barely being able to eat. I want to capture that and put that into the music, and just put it out to the world and, hopefully, inspire people while we’re doing it.” They’ve since moved on from South Central, but the point remains: This is a group that doesn’t just want to share their art—they want to share their life.
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