Meet Brockhampton, one of the hottest acts hitting the stage at Coachella. Ahead of this boy band’s debut, get to know how this group – boasting 14-plus members – wants to change the world while creating a new ‘dynasty.’
The 2018 edition of Coachella is stacked. With The Weeknd, Beyonce and Eminem as the headlines, the festival – taking place on April 13-15 and 20-21 – promises to be the biggest yet. In fact, just by including the group Brockhampton, Coachella practically doubled the number of on-stage performers. Get to know about this band keeping DIY alive, where they got their name and how they’re planning to be the next big music empire.
1. They’re not what you expect when you think of “boy band.” Named after the street that founder Kevin Abstract, 21, grew up on, Brockhampton would not immediately strike someone as a “boy band.” Instead of the synchronized dancing and pop vocals associated with One Direction and NSYNC Brockhampton is more known for its chaotic energy during live performances, their visually captive videos and their hip-hop sound.
“I don’t look like Justin Timberlake, and I don’t look like Harry Styles,” rapper Ameer Vann, 21, told The Verge “But I would love to be them. We do the numbers, you know what I mean? We sell out shows. We make pop music. What is pop music right now? It’s hip-hop. … We make pop music, so why is it so weird for us to be a boy band. “I think people will start asking that question. Why is it okay for this group of people to be called a boy band and it draws no attention at all? But not this group of people, who are seemingly the same except for one thing, or a few things.”
2. There have been more than 14 members of the group. At this point, it might save time to list who isn’t in the band. At time of publication, the following fourteen members of Brockhampton are: founder Kevin Abstract, Ameer Vann, Matt Champion, 23, Merlyn Wood, 21, Joba, 24, Dom McLennon, 25, Bearface, 24, Romil Hemnani, 23, Jabari Manwa, 22, Kiko Merley, 21, Henock “HK” Seileshi, 23, Ashlan Grey, 22, Robert Ontenient, 22, and Jon Nunes, 25. There have been past members of the group, including Rodney Tenor and Albert Gordon. Someone might have joined by the time you finished reading this.
3. Thanks to Yeezy, the Internet has its “first boy band.” Kevin was once part of the hip-hop group ALIVESINCEFOREVER, but left the group. “I kind of felt I didn’t have as much power as I wanted,” he told Fader, “so, I’m like, I’m just gonna make my own thing and I’m gonna build it how I want to. I’m gonna reach out to people from ASF to see if they want to come and join me.” Kevin’s new recruits came from the famous hip-hop forum KanyeToThe, which has earned the group the title “the Internet’s first boy band.”
4. Brockhampton challenges society norms. The group is immensely popular – a million monthly listeners on Spotify, three sold out nights at NYC’s Irving Plaza, a sold out 5,000-run boxed set that went for $50 a pop – and The Verge notes the group’s fandom is full of “mostly kids of color, aged 13 to 19, and often queer.”
“A lot of the common themes in our music are ideas of acceptance and being yourself,” Romil Hemmani told Dazed. “Independent thinking. A lot of very basic ideas that people will preach to you but they never really follow through on. … Like, (Kevin) said he wanted to give black kids a new superhero, someone to identify with and look up to and feel like, ‘If they can be themselves and struggle through all this stuff and still remain true to themselves, then I can do it too.’ “
“Also just to change what it means to be a man,” Kevin added, “and be manly and masculine. That’s why I said before it’s OK to get your feelings hurt, it’s OK to admit that, and it’s OK to cry because men can do that too. There aren’t a lot of famous men in the forefront who are speaking towards that.”
5. They want to be more than a band. “I just wanted to have my own dynasty. I wanted my own Cash Money or Roc-A-Fella. Outside of that, I also wanted my own media company,” Kevin Abstract said. “I always used to say, at the end of the day, I want Brockhampton to be like Paramount or something, and you don’t really know who’s behind it. You just think about Brockhampton and all the types of content we provide.”