Brockhampton performing in 2018; from left to right: Merlyn Wood, Kevin Abstract, Joba, Matt Champion, Dom McLennon, Ameer Vann, and Romil Hemnani
|Origin||San Marcos, Texas, U.S.|
Brockhampton are an American musical collective and boy band formed in San Marcos, Texas, in 2015 and currently based in California. Led by Kevin Abstract, Brockhampton formed partially through the online forum "KanyeToThe", and define themselves as a boy band. In specifically labeling themselves in this way, as the members have repeatedly emphasized in interviews and on social media, they aim to reclaim or redefine the word. Indeed, their work does not fit neatly into the "boy band stereotype," Complex Magazine describes the group as "gay, black, white, DIY, ambitious, all-inclusive, and would-be pop stars," and this diversity is what largely distinguishes their lyrics and sound. The group consists of vocalists Kevin Abstract, Matt Champion, Merlyn Wood, and Dom McLennon, vocalists/producers Joba and Bearface, and producers Romil Hemnani, Jabari Manwa, and Kiko Merley (the latter two of which function as the duo Q3), as well as graphic designer Henock "HK" Sileshi, photographer Ashlan Grey, web designer Roberto Ontenient (who also features prominently in voice skits), and manager Jon Nunes.
The group released their first mixtape All-American Trash in 2016. Their debut studio album, Saturation, was released on June 9, 2017, followed by Saturation II on August 25 and Saturation III on December 15. On March 30, 2018, Brockhampton announced that they had signed a record deal under the label RCA Records. Their fourth studio album, Iridescence, was released on September 21, 2018 and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart. The album is also the first in their second trilogy, known as "The Best Years of Our Lives".
2010–2014: Formation and AliveSinceForever
Although not all of them were a part of the original group, Ameer Vann, Joba, Matt Champion, and Merlyn all met Kevin Abstract, the founder of the boy band, as teenagers, as they all attended Woodlands High School in Texas. In 2010, Kevin Abstract made a post on the KanyeLive online forum (now known as KanyeToThe) asking if anyone wanted to form a band, to which over 30 users responded. After this AliveSinceForever was then formed, although the band only went active in 2012. In 2013, AliveSinceForever released their debut EP album, The ASF EP. The lineup consisted of Abstract, Ameer Vann, Dom McLennon, and Mic Kurb (later known as Rodney Tenor). At the end of 2014, AliveSinceForever disbanded to rebrand as Brockhampton.
2014–2016: Name change and All-American Trash
Following the release of Abstract's MTV1987, AliveSinceForever rebranded as Brockhampton and added several new members, some of whom were recruited through Kanye West fan forum KanyeToThe. In January 2015, Brockhampton released their debut single, "Bet I" accompanied by a video directed by members Henock "HK" Sileshi and Franklin Mendez. "Bet I" was removed from all streaming platforms in 2017, although the music video can still be found on YouTube. On June 16, 2015, Brockhampton released their second single, "Hero". That same month, Brockhampton won the VFiles Loud contest, winning them a professionally directed music video for their next single "Dirt", released through Fool's Gold Records. On March 24, 2016, Brockhampton released their debut mixtape, All-American Trash for free. The project focuses on highlighting the group's individual members, and was led by the music video "Flip Mo", performed by Merlyn Wood and featuring Dom McLennon.
2017: Saturation trilogy
In January 2017, Brockhampton released a new standalone single and music video, "Cannon". In May 2017, Brockhampton released "Face", the first single and video promoting their debut album Saturation. Throughout the month, Brockhampton released several singles and music videos in promotion of the album, including "Heat", "Gold", and "Star", all of which were directed by Abstract and shot locally in their neighborhood of South Central, Los Angeles, California. The same month, it was announced that Brockhampton was going to be the subject of the upcoming Viceland series American Boyband, set to premiere June 8, 2017. A standalone music video, titled "Lamb" was released on June 8, 2017. Saturation was released on June 9, 2017 to critical acclaim, and brought new attention to the group.
Following the release of Saturation, Abstract stated that Brockhampton were already working on a follow up, tentatively titled Saturation II and was set to be released in August. On August 1, 2017, Brockhampton released the debut single and video from Saturation II, titled "Gummy". A week later, they released the second single and video, titled "Swamp". On August 15, they released the third single, titled "Junky", and later that day, they announced via Twitter the release date for Saturation II.
The album's final single and video "Sweet" was released on August 22. This was followed the same day by the surprise release of "Follow", after which Abstract announced via Twitter that the Saturation Trilogy would be concluded with Saturation III. Saturation II was released on August 25 to further acclaim and attention.
On December 1, Brockhampton officially announced Saturation III as their final studio album; however, the group later clarified that this was not a literal statement, and they were likely to release further albums. On December 12, they released the album's lead single and video, entitled "Boogie". On December 14, 2017, Brockhampton announced their fourth studio album, Team Effort, slated for release in 2018, along with a new single from Saturation III, "Stains". Saturation III was released on December 15 to even further critical acclaim. The group also filmed a self-funded, feature-length movie to celebrate the Saturation trilogy.
2017–present: Ameer Vann's departure and Iridescence
In March 2018, Brockhampton announced that Team Effort had been delayed indefinitely, and that they would instead release their fourth studio album Puppy in mid-2018. The next week, they announced via social media that they had signed a record deal with Sony's RCA Records. Billboard reported that according to label sources, the deal was worth more than $15 million for six albums over three years.
Puppy was delayed following allegations of sexual misconduct against founding member Ameer Vann. Although Vann admitted to being mentally and verbally abusive, he denied allegations of sexual abuse. On May 27, Brockhampton announced that Vann would no longer be a part of the group, stating that they "were lied to" and apologizing "for not speaking up sooner". The group canceled the remainder of their tour dates, including an appearance at the Governors Ball Music Festival.
On June 20, the band appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, in their late night television debut, and their first performance since announcing Vann's departure. They debuted the track "Tonya", accompanied by guest vocalists Jazmine Sullivan, Ryan Beatty and Serpentwithfeet, as well as revealing the new title of their upcoming album, The Best Years of Our Lives. Following the performance the band resumed their summer tour, headlining the Agenda Festival in Long Beach, California. The next month the group announced a Beats 1 radio show Things We Lost in the Fire Radio, promising "new music all summer". The show's first episode was aired on July 6, 2018, featuring the debut of single "1999 Wildfire", released that day with an accompanying music video. The track features vocals by Jazze Pha. On July 18, the single "1998 Truman" was debuted as a part of the show's second episode. A music video for the track was released later that day. On July 27, the group released the single "1997 Diana", accompanied by a music video. Later that day the song was featured on the third episode of Things We Lost in the Fire Radio, alongside the unfinished track "Don't Be Famous". On August 26, 2018, the group announced that a new album titled Iridescence, recorded in Abbey Road Studios, would be released in September. The band also announced dates of their new "i'll be there" tour.  Iridescence was officially released on September 21, consisting of fifteen new songs, including the studio version of "Tonya" without Sullivan and Beatty, who lend the vocals during the debut performance of the song in June 2018. It debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 on September 30, 2018, becoming Brockhampton's first chart-topping album.
The 20 year old founder of the group from Corpus Christi, Texas is the only member of the band who had a substantial solo career before the band’s creation and rise in popularity. He is openly gay and raps about his experience as such in much of his music.
Champion attended the same high school as Abstract, Merlyn, Joba, and Ameer and bonded with them over their love of music. A fan favorite, his personal contributions to the band’s sound has been described as a “charismatic, laid-back style paired with a capable singing voice”.
Merlyn split his childhood between time in Ghana and Texas. He attended the University of Texas for less than a year with the intent of pursuing a degree in Architecture, but quickly dropped out and moved to Los Angeles to be a part of Brockhampton.
Raised in Connecticut, McLennon connected with the group through the “KanyeToThe” online forum. He was a member of the earlier AliveSinceForever group and is known as the most “technically skilled rapper” in the group.
Boring also attended the same high school as Champion, Abstract, Merlyn, and Ameer, but he was one grade above them. He was not an original member of the group and actually had his own recording set-up at his house, where the group would record. Eventually, they developed a friendship and the group saw potential in Boring, resulting in his addition to the group.
“Bearface” was born and raised in Belfast, UK, and has spent much of Brockhamptons early years traveling back and forth between Los Angeles and his home in Northern Ireland. Although he is generally a lesser known performing member of the group, he contributes significant vocal talent to the group and is responsible for the voice that closes out the first two of the band’s albums.
Born in Connecticut, Hemnani is one of the leading producers of the band. He worked with Abstract and McLennon as a group known as Alive Since Forever, which ultimately became Brockhampton. In the Saturation Trilogy, Hemnani alone produced 33 out of the 48 songs in the albums.
- Q3 – production (2015–present)
- Jabari Manwa
- Isaiah “Kiko Merley” Merriweather
- Henock "HK" Sileshi – creative direction, graphic design (2015–present)
- Robert "Roberto" Ontenient – web design (2015–present), skit vocals (2017)
- Jon Nunes – management (2015–present)
- Ashlan Grey – photography (2016–present)
- Ameer Vann – vocals (2015–18)
- Rodney Tenor – vocals (2015–16)
- Albert Gordon – production (2015–16)
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Frontman Kevin Abstract and the band’s Abbey Road ally Jaden Smith share a chorus
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