By Justin Hermstedt

No musical act has propelled itself into the new year with more momentum than Brockhampton. The eclectic hip-hop group released three albums in the second half of 2017, each one more successful than the last. They left Los Angeles for a national tour which includes a sold out stop at the Truman in Kansas City. Most importantly, the self-described “boy band” has garnered a devoted following on the internet.

Brockhampton comprises roughly 14 members, an assortment of rappers, singers, producers, designers and other artists. Whether there’s a hint of irony to the boy band label or not, thousands of online teens and former teens have taken it and ran with it. Brockhampton found their niche with young people who never fit in with a musical fandom before now. A large segment of young people who were once the target demographic of One Direction never identified with 1D’s catchy, fluffy, and apolitical teen pop. Brockhampton proudly subvert the typical tropes of a boy band in terms of subject matter. *NSYNC never rapped about armed robbery, and K-pop stars BTS don’t lust over Shawn Mendes.

But Brockhampton aren’t just an edgy boy band; they’re also on the cutting edge of hip-hop. Brockhampton are challenging how hip-hop should look and sound, inspired by predecessors like Odd Future, Kid Cudi, and Kanye West (some of the members met on Kanyetothe, a Kanye West fan forum). From Saturation to Saturation III, the group refined its vibrant DIY style into a cohesive product. It seems like these boys are poised to take over the world.

But how sustainable is this level of productivity? Isn’t a tragic breakup an essential chapter in a boy band’s life? As Brockhampton begin to earn more mainstream success, we’ll witness not only the birth of stars, but also the supernova of the group that got them this far.

Brockhampton’s new year isn’t going to look like this past year, but they’re more likely to evolve than to fall off. Throughout 2017, Brockhampton members have consistently been creating on an individual level, including music, film, graphic design, and fashion projects. These like-minded artists have cultivated an environment where individual artistry is encouraged, and where they can make music on a group level without the pressure of an overbearing record label. All their creative endeavors will continue and expand in 2018, along with whatever Brockhampton produce as a group. They even already teased a fourth album, aptly titled “Team Effort.”

Regardless of what the future holds for Brockhampton, now is the perfect time to check them out.