BROCKHAMPTON, who originally formed to redefine the term "boy band," have revolutionized the music scene with their collective-based approach. Their journey began with about 30 members, each with distinctive roles—writing, rapping, videography, marketing, and design—and the group has gone through several iterations. Kevin Abstract remains the leader after allegations of sexual misconduct forced another cofounder, Ameer Vann, to leave. After much restructuring, re-recording and re-hashing of their live performances, BROCKHAMPTON have provided a coda to their "indefinite hiatus" with these final offerings, The Family and TM.
The Family was teased in a video trailer after the band's Coachella performance (after which they canceled all following performances) and shows Abstract talking to the team, explaining that he had made something that was "not a solo thing, it's a group album. It's about the group."
The album is eclectic, demonstrating the group's true diversity in background and interests. Its production harks back to their Kanye West-influenced roots (the original members met on Reddit fan forum for the rapper). Tracks like "RZA", and "Good Time" use samples that could easily be mistaken as being from some of West's earlier albums, whereas darker tracks like "Gold Teeth" wouldn't feel out of place on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Even the gospel-inspired "Prayer" is reminiscent of West's more vocal-heavy tracks like "Only One" with Paul McCartney. Beyond the multiple variations in hip-hop styles present on the album, the group have also included two indie-inspired vocal tracks: "Any Way You Want Me" and the standout "My American Life."
The Family is an honest encapsulation of BROCKHAMPTON's tumultuous rise to fame. Abstract does not hold back in his lyrics, laying everything on the table for fans to hear. Standout lines like "as the checks grew it became harder to leave" ("The Family"), "I turned my friendship into a business into an empire" ("The Ending"), and the 2018-deal referencing "I wish I knew the day we signed it would change shit" ("Brockhampton") show things weren't all roses for these innovators. In true boy band fashion, although they may have broken up, their influence will live on forever.