5 Queerest Moments On Brockhampton's New Album 'Iridescence'
Self-proclaimed boy band Brockhampton released Iridescence today (Sept. 21), the long-awaited followup to their Saturation trilogy.
On their major-label debut, the L.A. rap collective plows forward, maintaining the sense of laser-focused creativity, volatility and brutal emotional connectivity that has made them one of the most exciting hip-hop crews (er, boy bands) to follow in recent memory.
Brockhampton's founding member Kevin Abstract is one of the most consistently interesting figures in the group, and it feels a little revolutionary to see the other members of Brockhampton not only accept, but encourage rapping about his queerness. Openly gay rappers are few and far between, especially those who are as transparent as Abstract. He’s joked in the past about being queer a lot, comparing himself to Troye Sivan “with a lot more melanin,” wanting to make out with Zayn Malik, and detailing his longstanding crush on Shawn Mendes. But Abstract, vitally, has also been candid and explicit about the difficulties and pleasures of being a gay black man — from coming out with his homophobic family, being criticized for rapping too much about being gay, and his gay relationships and sexual forays.
Still, not much can get in the way of Abstract rapping about being gay. Here are his five queerest moments from Iridescence.
“Something About Him”
“Something About Him” is the sweetest, most overtly queer moment on Iridescence, and perhaps Brockhampton’s entire oeuvre. A love song dedicated to Abstract’s boyfriend Jaden Walker, “Something About Him” expresses his passion in a plainspoken way. “I really like how you do all the things that you do,” he swoons. “I really like how you say all the things that you say.” Some fans even joke that this is his version of Ariana Grande's “Pete Davidson,” her minute-long ode to her Saturday Night Live star fianceé.
On “Weight,” the Brockhampton boys introspect about the burdens they’ve carried with them as they’ve reached stardom. Abstract raps about missing high school, with a sweeping string arrangement behind him, even though he was stranded in the closet while dating a girl who he didn’t feel passionately about. “And she was mad cause I never wanna show her off,” he says. “And every time she took her bra off my dick would get soft.”
Over a sample of Radiohead’s tense, cerebral “Videotape,” “Tape” rewinds through the Abstract relies on the familiar trope of being sad at the strip club. But he subverts it, turning the male gaze towards another man at the club. "And there's a male stripper doing a belly dance/For me and my boyfriend," he sighs.
The Iridescence opener, which features a duet between Abstract and longtime friend Jaden Smith, has a fatalist streak. “I ain't scared of nothin’,” raps Abstract, as he fantasizes about the life he could leave if he escaped the trappings of fame. “Tell my boy, I want a crib in London,” he sings. Maybe he'll be a homeowner soon?
This one-off single released before Iridescence technically didn't make the cut for the album, but we'll look the other way, given how he pays homage to the city of New Orleans and their readiness to embrace LGBTQ people with open arms. "Got that New Orleans on me, smellin' like a queen to ya," he raps. (Plus, the music video features Jaden giving Kevin a super-quick kiss on the cheek.)
Stream Iridescence below: