2017 Artist of the Year: BROCKHAMPTON
BROCKHAMPTON thrived in 2017 off the back of a simple concept: don’t fear being contradictory. Fans want quality over quantity? BROCKHAMPTON chose to release three albums over the course of six months. Want to be respected as a boy band? BROCKHAMPTON drew songwriting influences from experimental hip hop for their crossover hits. Want to be considered the next big pop rap success? BROCKHAMPTON never shied away from discussing controversial topics like homosexuality, violence, race politics or self-fulfillment.
It’s the contradictory nature of BROCKHAMPTON that not only lead to them releasing some of the most fresh music of the year, but also connecting with their listeners on such a personal level. They’ve captured the cultural zeitgeist of the millennial generation, a generation told to chase their passions in a world that lacks the capacity to accept them. The last two years have proven that despite being the largest and most educated generation in United States’ history, the political powers that be have no interest in taking their voices seriously.
Luckily, BROCKHAMPTON was not satisfied with the status-quo. With the goal of making the music landscape so saturated with their music that they couldn't be ignored by music journalists, BROCKHAMPTON released their SATURATION trio of albums. BROCKHAMPTON’s triple threat of releases paint a complete and cohesive portrait of the millennial experience, from unbridled aggression on SATURATION’s opener “HEAT” to the introspection on SATURATION III’s closer “TEAM.”
Beyond the thematic and conceptual content of their projects, BROCKHAMPTON were not afraid to blend elements of hardcore hip hop, experimental hip hop and alternative R&B when crafting the sonic landscape for their music. The 48 tracks released by BROCKHAMPTON in 2017 proved the group were beyond classification, but had a sound that - no matter how diverse from their prior material - was distinctly theirs.
But at the center of the SATURATION albums that guaranteed their level of success was the level of polish they brought to every project. Each album stands on its own without having to rely on the gimmicks and novelty of BROCKHAMPTON to keep listeners returning to their projects. SATURATION II and III in particular elicit a certain height of quality that immediately led fans and journalists to consider possible classic-level-status for both projects. It’s one thing to have the ambition BROCKHAMPTON bring to their work-ethic, but to have the talent to achieve that ambition is rare in a time where songs as effortless and indistinct as “Gucci Gang” can land a rapper at the top of the charts.
It’s rare for an artist to succeed artistically and commercially like BROCKHAMPTON on their debut project. It’s even rarer to release two additional projects in the span of six months that match and exceed that success, so rare in fact that BROCKHAMPTON are completely incomparable in this regard. The self-proclaimed boy band have solidified their place in the history of hip hop in just a few short months and have created a starting point for themselves that have journalists and fans alike watering at the mouth to see how they’ll progress. BROCKHAMPTON is the rare group that not only feels like a once-in-a-generation kind of group, but actually matches the high expectations that come with such a title.
Chandler Copenheaver is a senior majoring in public relations. To contact him, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Senior / Public Relations