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Kevin Abstract

Best known as a founding member of rap group Brockhampton, Texas rapper and singer/songwriter Kevin Abstract's dreamy, introspective songs blur the lines between hip-hop, pop, R&B, and alternative rock. His lyrics reflect on depression, relationships, drug use, and his position as an outcast in society, having relocated several times during his life and come out of the closet. In addition to his work with Brockhampton, he has also released solo efforts, including his debut MTV1987 (2014), Billboard-charting Arizona Baby (2019), and numerous subsequent singles like "Slugger" and "Sierra Nights" (both 2021), followed by the rocking "Blanket" and more reflective "What Should I Do?" (both 2023). Born Clifford Ian Simpson in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1996, he was heavily influenced by Nirvana, Will Smith (as both a rapper and actor), and Kanye West, among others. He began making music as a high school student, started releasing mixtapes in 2009, and formed a collective called AliveSinceForever in 2011. Solo and group EPs followed, and Abstract's debut album, MTV1987, arrived in 2014, around the time of his 18th birthday. Primarily produced by Romil Hemnani and based on Abstract's life experiences, the album received acclaim, appearing on year-end lists from Spin and Pigeons & Planes. AliveSinceForever disbanded and re-formed with a new lineup as Brockhampton and began releasing singles in 2015. Their debut mixtape, All-American Trash, appeared in March of 2016, and included songs by Abstract as well as Ameer Vann, Rodney Tenor, Dom McLennon, and others. Abstract toured with the Neighbourhood in England and the United States, and released his second album, American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story, near the end of the year. The album included songs written and produced with Michael Uzowuru (Frank Ocean, Vince Staples), as well as Om'Mas Keith, Jeff Kleinman, and others. Abstract headlined an American tour in support of the album shortly thereafter. In 2017, Abstract returned focus to Brockhampton. That year, the crew released a trilogy of critically acclaimed efforts -- Saturation, Saturation II, and Saturation III -- with each album charting higher and higher until landing them at number one in 2018 with fourth LP Iridescence. Following Brockhampton's dizzying rise into the mainstream, Abstract shifted focus in 2019 back to his solo work. After the release of single "Big Wheels," he unveiled the first part of his project, Arizona Baby. Part two, Ghetto Baby, arrived a week later. The final version of the album received official release at the end of April, and charted at number 53 on the Billboard 200. The set featured production by Jack Antonoff and Brockhampton groupmate Hemnani. Abstract teased numerous solo songs throughout the first half of 2021. "Slugger," a collaboration with $NOT and slowthai, as well as "Sierra Nights," featuring Ryan Beatty, were out later that year. Abstract made a handful of featured appearances -- such as on Easy Life's "Dear Miss Holiday" -- before resuming in 2023 with "Blanket" and "What Should I Do?"
© Paul Simpson /TiVo


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