Unless you’ve been living under a rock since last summer, chances are you’ve heard of BROCKHAMPTON. The boundary-pushing, DIY hip-hop boy band has been making waves since 2017 with its rollout of the Saturation trilogy.
BROCKHAMPTON’s strategy of “saturating” the music market with dozens of songs and churning out music videos at an incredibly fast pace proved successful, earning it a growing fan base and two largely successful tours since fall 2017. With its sudden entrance into mainstream culture, the act can be hard to follow given its prolific backlog of content and its wealth of members. But never fear — the following list breaks down what each member contributes to the group, including a good starting point for getting acquainted with each individual musician.
Ameer Vann: Vann has an uncanny ability to rap, even among the several talented members of the boy band. While others often bring great one-liners or melodies to the table, Vann’s entire verses always stand out. He raps about selling drugs in almost every one of his verses, but he finds a way to make this trope entertaining. Notably, Vann also appears on each of the album covers for the Saturation trilogy.
Best line: “Grab life by the horns when I whip the Lambo” — “GOLD”
Kevin Abstract: Abstract is the de facto leader of the group. He’s a versatile performer — able to destroy verses like his opener to “JUNKY” — and he also has arguably the catchiest hooks of all the band’s singers. Abstract’s primary subject matter is his sexuality and how it affects both his personal life and his public perception. His presence on Twitter and Instagram is the opposite of what you would expect from a celebrity; he isn’t afraid to potentially jeopardize his image by speaking his mind, and he loves to flaunt his boyfriend and his obsession with Shawn Mendes and Harry Styles.
Best line: “Delete my tweets ’cause I’m ashamed of being a fuckin’ Simpson” — JUNKY
Matt Champion: Champion is the self-proclaimed heartthrob of the boy band, and often raps about his fame, his suburban past life before joining the boy band and his ego. His surging self-confidence is the central aspect of his personality, and this persona has attracted a sizable personal fanbase for him.
Best line: “What the fuck you mean, I can’t feel myself?” — “BOYS”
JOBA: JOBA is one of the founding members of the group. Not only does he mix and master a significant portion of BROCKHAMPTON’s music, but he also provides many of the melodies that make BROCKHAMPTON songs as catchy as they are. He’s the leading vocalist on “FACE” from Saturation, but also the one screaming his head off at the end of “HEAT” from the same album. What distinguishes JOBA from other band members is that he can spontaneously switch up his style on tracks at will. He truly has an incredible range, making him an underappreciated member of BROCKHAMPTON.
Best line: “My bed is cold and indented where you used to sleep” — “FACE”
Dom McLennon: The everyman rapper of the group, McLennon isn’t as heartthrob-ish as Matt, as gritty as Ameer or as off-the-wall as Merlyn. What McLennon does bring to the table, however, is an impeccable flow and insightful range of topics discussed in his raps. He has a great talent for storytelling, rapping as if he’s painting a picture.
Best line: “Swan dive down the 405 / Land at the bottom of El Toro High / With the precision of a cut from a Zorro knife” — “GOLD”
Merlyn Wood: Merlyn Wood is an individual who words cannot do justice to. He is a great rapper but also an energetic vocalist who can elevate the hype of any song he is featured on. His abrasive voice makes a song bang even harder as soon as you hear him. It’s an effect that can be better explained by listening than by reading — check out “SWEET” or “GOLD” to understand Wood’s idiosyncratic vocal style.
Best line: “Don’t call me stupid, that ain’t the way my name pronounced” — “SWEET”
Bearface: Bearface is more of a solo operator within BROCKHAMPTON. He performs, in full, the outro songs to each Saturation album. These songs deviate from the usual hip-hop or R&B fare to bring an emo-rock feel to the end of each project.
Best solo song: “WASTE”
Romil Hemnani: Aside from his mesmerizingly big eyebrows, Hemnani offers crucial production value to the group, as he works behind the scenes and creates many of BROCKHAMPTON’s instrumentals, including “QUEER” and “SISTER/NATION.”
Best beat: “JUNKY”
Robert Ontenient: Ontenient primarily serves as the web designer for the boy band. Referring to himself as “Roberto,” Ontenient also appears in the beginning of every Saturation-era BROCKHAMPTON music video. His usual shtick is his Spanish-spoken intros to these videos, which all begin with “Me llamo Roberto,” and he also appears in each of the Spanish-spoken skits across the three albums.
Ashlan Grey: Ashlan Grey is the principal photographer for BROCKHAMPTON, offering a personal view into the life of a boy band at home creating music and on the road touring. Grey took each photo of Ameer Vann for the Saturation album covers, and he also appears on “STAINS” from Saturation III, poking fun at the boy band’s repetitive subject matter.
Kiko Merley & Jabari Manwa: Also known as Q3, this production duo directs the vibe of a number of BROCKHAMPTON tracks, including “GOLD,” “SWAMP” and “RENTAL.” They employ a versatile style that includes pop-rap, R&B and trap.
Best beat: “FAKE”
HK: Henock Sileshi or “HK” is the creative director and graphic designer for BROCKHAMPTON. He created the album covers for each part of the Saturation trilogy, which have become the face of the boy band’s rise to fame in the past year.
Last, but certainly not least, Jon Nunes manages BROCKHAMPTON.
Contact Justin Sidhu at [email protected].