Brockhampton is a great definition of what we stand for when it comes to art and labels. They are an alternative collective of rappers, singers and producers, yet they define themselves as a "boyband" - a title that is often given to mainstream pop acts. Their sound is mainly influenced by hip hop, yet they defy a lot of standards associated with how male rappers should portray themselves, especially since they speak openly about their experiences as LGBT people, and about mental health, amongst other topics not often addressed in hip hop culture.
From the members' ethnicities to the elements they add in their performances, Brockhampton is by all means multifaceted. They have been around for a few years and are slowly, organically making their way into the big scene. In 2018, their latest album "Iridescence" debuted at #1 on Billboard 200 and is now ranking well on lots of Year's Best lists.
The praise is deserved. Brockhampton makes really cool music, as you'll know once you hear tracks such as "Thug Life".
In "Thug Life", Brockhampton pays homage to Tupac and his legendary "Thug Life" tattoo, rapping and singing over an R&B beat and a jazzy piano, adorned by Mariah Carey-esque ad-libs, gospel and trap music elements.
The lyrics are no less impressive. The rappers address personal struggles with depression and self-identity crisis in a poetic way ("It's different reconciling with skeletons I ain't know I possessed / I sough perfection out in ways I no longer accept"), forming a curious paradox with the informality and ghetto vibe of the hooks.
The track is great, but listening to Brockhampton's music seems like not enough to understand them. Something about them feels very '90s to me, but at the same time I feel like they couldn't be a better representation of the present generation. They are diverse, they are creative, they take what they have and turn it into their own thing, making art under their own therms. They don't limit themselves.
I feel like these guys are their own package, and I still gotta dig more into their universe, but so far I already love what I see and hear. I was already hooked after listening to "Iridescence" when I found their interview for Billboard in which member Abstract explained their vision: "every artist since forever -- from Da Vinci to Drake -- has wanted to split their heads open on the sidewalk and spill their emotions into the world, for everyone to love, ache and hurt as they did." ... Of course the Da Vinci and Drake references got me, hahahaha... But honestly, all these parallels between "fine" art and hip hop are just the obvious conclusion anyone will come to once they get rid of the labels and standards put on art. I feel like these guys get it right with this. Jaden Smith said he can see Brockhampton doing different kinds of things in art. I agree, and if that happens, I will surely be there to check it.
You can learn more about Brockhampton here:
About the curator: Ana Clara Ribeiro
Music, art and entertainment have always played a big role in the life of Ana Clara Ribeiro. She grew up in Gurupi (an inland city in Tocantins, the youngest State of Brazil), listening to all kinds of music, reading, writing, watching stuff and connecting them to her personal beliefs and other ideas she read about.
As she became a lawyer and a writer, all the topics to which she is constantly exposed continued to give her insights about life, people and the universe, through the lenses of art.
Nowadays, when she isn’t analyzing lawsuits or producing content about Law, Marketing, Business or Music, she is certainly doing something related to her various personal and professional projects, always to the sound of a playlist as eclectic as her life.