Formed in 2011 via a Kanye West forum, Brockhampton became a hip-hop phenomenon in the latter half of the last decade. As they head into retirement, they cement themselves as a crucial voice for Gen Z artistry, encompassing the volatile and eclectic nature of the social media era.
Hip-hop group and self-renowned boyband Brockhampton are officially over. Well, at least they will be, after one final performance at Coachella later this year.
Following a string of six studio albums and one mixtape, this large, eclectic, and diverse group of young men managed to draw in millions of Gen Z listeners and prove themselves worthy successors to their late noughties contemporaries, Odd Future.
As they played two final shows in London this week, Brockhampton provided one last victory lap to a fan base that has waited years to see them perform as a group, in the flesh, on stage. I was lucky enough to attend their last performance at O2 Brixton and was taken aback by the love and support shown by the crowd.
Brockhampton represented the pinnacle of modern music marketing, with a focus on progressive values, homegrown filmmaking, all-encompassing branding and merchandise, as well as feverish social media activity across multiple platforms.
They were arguably the first Gen Z ‘band’ or artist to truly take off through internet forums, reviewers, and community engagement. Mixing together sonic influences from Frank Ocean, Tyler The Creator, Kanye West, and many others, Brockhampton served as the first of a new wave of alternative hip-hop artists to disregard industry norms and carve a lane entirely their own.
What made Brockhampton different to other artists?
For those who don’t know, Brockhampton were a hip-hop group consisting of multiple members – upwards of ten – including performers, producers, designers, managers, and more.
The initial idea behind the group was to provide transparency to fans about the entirety of the project, not just those on the microphones performing verses. They were initially formed via a forum post on KanyeToThe by Kevin Abstract in 2011 and would later move to LA as a collective in one house.
From here, they produced their own tracks and directed videos using basic filming equipment. The group would release three albums in quick succession in 2017 known as the Saturation trilogy, which would prove to be their breakout work and magnum opus to many in the wider hip-hop community.