Bidding farewell to the best boy band since One Direction
Sirens, synths, and a sinister drum loop – these were the sounds that I was greeted with within the first ten seconds of the song "HEAT". The instrumental felt menacing. The vocals kept jumping around. The restlessness in the lyrics was fuelled by adrenaline, pride, and self-doubt. What unravelled before me over the course of the next hour was a beautiful mess of an album. It had anthems – songs I could march down the street with that prepared me to take the day head-on and made me laugh every once in a while. For the next few weeks, it was all I listened to.
Formed on a Kanye West fan forum, BROCKHAMPTON quite literally broke boundaries. The members of the collective were sprawled all across the USA and were united with the common belief that they could go on to make great music. And that is exactly what they did. I could go on about the innumerable accolades they have won and the many records they broke but that is not what they will be remembered for. Their music struck a chord and will leave an imprint.
What might have been the supposed weakness of the crew instead shaped their identity. The diversity never clashed. It was what made their sound so distinct. Having such a wide array of talent let them turn it up a notch but also allowed them to mellow things out. While the SATURATION trilogy gained the recognition it deserved by virtue of the implosive energy of the record, the band proved that they do not shy away from being vulnerable.
Following the allegations against Ameer Van and the subsequent departure of the rapper, the band felt disjointed. The incoherence seeped into the music as well with the album iridescence being met with mixed reactions. To redeem themselves and rejuvenate that initial spark, the members sat down and put together their most heartfelt record to date in the album GINGER.
They talked about their identities, the woes of growing up, love, heartbreak, and the uncertainty of the future. That was precisely what resonated with me so much. Under the crushing agony of having to figure my life out, I felt numb. Although I could never express how I felt like I never truly had any control over my own decisions and how helpless that made me feel, BROCKHAMPTON's music felt like someone just spelt the words out for me. Except it wasn't just one person, it was an entire rap collective. And so, I found solace in it. It was an escape from the delirium of my own indecision. Through joy, pain, exhilaration and hope, the songs just fit.
The members wore their hearts on their sleeves. They were unapologetic about who they were and weaved it into their music. It's that authenticity that people grew fond of. Whether the boys were dressed in jumpsuits, just breaking things for the fun of it or performing on national television, they carved out a space to unveil their identities.
Every fan had their own reason for falling in love with the crew. They inspired their audience through their manic, anarchic, aggressive and authentic energy. Whatever happens down the line for BROCKHAMPTON, I think the members can go forward knowing that they embodied the spirit of a generation.
Abir Hossain is a sub-editor at SHOUT.