Brockhampton is a boy band because they say so. This Texas-made, L.A.-based group is not your typical boy band by any means. But in calling themselves one, it makes us think that it’s definitely time to broaden the definition outside of just cheesy pop and matching outfits. They just announced their fourth album, Puppy, set to drop in June; what better time to take a look at their twist on the genre?
Brockhampton has been quoted saying that they’re the best boy band since One Direction on several occasions, including in their own songs (see above). They’ve name-dropped NSYNC and Harry Styles. And technically, they’re a group of cute guys making catchy music — who are we to tell them otherwise? But this boy band is bound to meet resistance using that title, mainly because they’re predominately rappers..
Who is Brockhampton?
The group officially formed in 2015, but the history between several of its members’ date back a few years earlier. The makings of Brockhampton came to be when Kevin Abstract posted “anyone want to make a band?” to an online forum.
Teaming up with several people from that forum including Ameer Van and Dom McLennin, Brockhampton was formed and continued to grow. The group now boasts 15 members, including rappers, vocalists, producers, graphic artists and more.
While Brockhampton has gone on record stating there’s no group leader, the boy band’s clear Harry Styles or JT is Kevin Abstract.
Brockhampton is the first queer boy band
Not only is Brockhampton pushing the mold of how we define a boy band, they’re also the first boy band to be unwaveringly queer. Kevin Abstract refuses to hide his sexuality and instead, brings it the forefront of his bars. Take the song “Junky” — in just a few short lines he effervescently references masc culture, trying to come out to his mother and growing up gay and black.
I told my mom I was gay, why the fuck she ain’t listen?
I signed a pub deal and her opinion fuckin’ disappearin’
I’m payin’ bills for my sister and tryna fund her business
Is it homophobic to only hook up with straight niggas?
You know like closet niggas, masc-type
Why don’t you take that mask off? That’s the thought I had last night
“Why you always rap about bein’ gay?”
‘Cause not enough niggas rap and be gay
Where I come from, niggas get called “faggot” and killed
So I’ma get head from a nigga right here
And they can come and cut my hand off and, and my legs off and
And I’ma still be a boss ’til my head gone, yeah
“Junky” isn’t Abstract’s only queer reference by any means. All of his songs find him using male pronouns when talking about sex or love, not to make a statement, but because his sexuality is part of him —therefore it’s reflected in his music. That’s what makes these verses, and songs so much more important for the LGBTQ community than something like Macklemore’s “Same Love.” (And also the fact that Abstract is actually a talented rapper, among other things).