Supergroup’s two final albums “TM,” “The Family” mark end of band’s successful 12-year run, fans reflect
The two final Brockhampton albums will likely be their least commercially successful. These albums will probably get the least amount of radio play, and the band will never tour nor perform them. However, they might be the most valuable albums to fans.
Brockhampton is a self-entitled ‘boy band’ from Texas. Since its formation in 2010, it has made great impacts on culture and music. While all-men rap groups are nothing new, Brockhampton represented a modern take on the concept. Having a queer frontman and breaking away from traditional rap with its collaborative production style and diverse vocalists set Brockhampton apart from other rap groups.
Members of the band began to tease a final album after the announcement of their disbandment in January. Some members, though mainly Kevin Abstract, have been promoting the final album titled “The Family” which was set to release on Nov. 17. However, fans were slightly suspicious when two singles were released without the band’s signature all-caps spelling and only featured Kevin Abstract as a vocalist.
To some surprise, the album was written and performed by only Kevin Abstract and featured personal, intimate lyrics of his experiences and feelings. However, the real surprise came hours later when a promotional photo was released for “The Family” with small text on the bottom corner reading “Surprise album (TM) midnight local.” This second album released within hours of “The Family” was stylized in the classic all-caps spelling. “™” featured all the members with classic Brockhampton sound and chemistry fans know and love.
The group’s downfall can be traced to allegations of sexual misconduct and other crimes by member Ameer Vann. The group reacted by kicking Vann from the group and canceling their upcoming album ‘puppy.’ Over the next few years, the group began its descent from the mainstream, culminating in its disbandment. Tensions between members and fans began to rise due to the relationships the members have with Vann, along with creative differences and solo career ambitions.
The new albums answer many questions fans have about what is happening internally in the band and whether they will move forward. The lyrics for ‘The Family’ read like letters straight to the fans, perhaps a confession. Kevin Abstract shares the most intimate aspects of what Brockhampton has done to his life and where the band stands now.
“Do we see each other? Hardly
Shit we made together? Godly”
Kevin shares his faults and the consequences of it all. Fans hear his contributions to the end of the band and his regret about being too focused on himself and his career — for prioritizing the product of his art over the intimacy of his friendships.
“It be so fucked up, I am doin’ Zoom calls
Talkin’ with niggas about personal shit
I’m like, “Yo, make sure we filmin’ this
Keep the camera rollin'”
That’s a toxic relationship
That’s what our friendship turned into
I turn everything into art”
He shares times he lets his anger get the best of him and the relationships that will never be the same as a consequence.
“Me and Jabari had a fight that changed our relationship
When you yelling at your brothers, it gets dangerous
I don’t think our love’s ever been the same since”
In these lyrics, Kevin is longing for the safety of the past and the early days of the band, and most importantly his relationships and friendships. This highlights that the album is full of love for the band and its members.
“I know it hurts but this is my favorite way (Yeah)
I know it’s hard, but please, just hear what I say
If I could fly through a California night
I’d end up back on 37th street”
These lyrics specifically make me emotional since they allude to the Brockhampton Factory, a house on 37th Street in LA where the band recorded their iconic album “Saturation” and all of its music videos.
“The Family” served multiple purposes. First, it seems that the band only had enough music to release a single album even though they were contractually obligated by RCA records to produce two more. Fans speculate that Kevin Abstract produced this album in order to save the last music made collectively for a final album. Second, due to the dramatic and controversial fall of Brockhampton, fans had many questions left over. Rather than address them in public statements, Kevin Abstract lets his music speak for him. This allowed ‘™’ to focus on the music, not the drama.
If the second album was released without addressing anything, fans would be really unsatisfied. This way Kevin appeased and communicated with his fans for one last time, in order to bring the privilege of one final classic Brockhampton album.
Childhood friendship and a humble beginning make the fall of the band all the more emotional. Kevin Abstract, the band, and fans are losing the pure and wholesome elements that have brought much joy. These albums can be interpreted as a moment of grieving, but also a celebration of their accomplishments.
The story of Brockhampton is a fascinating one with mistakes and lessons we can learn from. Overall, Brockhampton has had an undeniable impact on music and culture that will be felt for years to come. I am grateful to have witnessed the final hurrah of it all.
As Kevin Abstract said at the end of his album, in the final song, titled, simply “Brockhampton”:
“The next chapter is everything that we said it would be
This next chapter is everything that we want it to be
The show’s over, get out your seats”