Brockhampton’s self-branding as “the internet’s first boy band” often seems antithetical to their reality. Their rabid devotees call themselves “dumbasses” rather than a cutesy moniker. And though they claim to be following in the tradition of telegenic nineties acts geared toward teen girls, the unsigned rap collective spits unorthodox bars that are anything but cookie-cutter. Still, in the past two years, the fourteen members of Brockhampton—six of them Texans—have moved from San Marcos to Los Angeles and pole-vaulted from the rap underground to stardom. Brockhampton could very well conquer mainstream pop. Here’s how they’ll get there.
Revamp Old Terms
“I’m just super into redefining things,” Brockhampton founder and Corpus Christi native Kevin Abstract says at the beginning of American Boyband, the group’s Viceland documentary miniseries. First up for review? “Boy band,” of course. Brockhampton expands the accepted “white, straight male” definition to include black, brown, and gay.
Weaponize the Web
Before the members, previously scattered around the globe, moved to San Marcos in 2015 to record their mixtape, All-American Trash, they met on a Kanye West web forum. It’s fitting, then, that a community of web fans is fueling the band’s rise. The dumbasses are some of Twitter’s most evangelical spreaders of free PR for the band, and nearly 30,000 subscribers analyze the members’ every move on the Brockhampton subreddit.