Image via Kevin Abstract

Image via Kevin Abstract

Pro-tip for rising acts trying to establish themselves at SXSW: bring 10 friends. It sounds stupid, but it’s amazing what a difference 10 people who are really into the show can make.

The coolest thing about Tim and Goodwin’s Hard Rock/Culture Collide showcase at SXSW 2015 was that all the artists were friends, or at least extremely supportive of eachother. They were all showing love and turning up in the audience during each other’s shows, and it made the event run more like a party than a concert. Out of all the shows at SXSW with corporate sponsors and a disconnected lineup, this one felt the most like actually being part of something special.

Everyone killed it. The tone was set with Marvel Alexander’s extremely fun, self-DJed show, but things took an interesting twist when Kevin Abstract and his Brockhampton squad took the stage. They were all dressed in hooded onesies and stood on stage in a line, straight-faced, staring down the audience.


Brockhampton on stage at Hard Rock’s SXSW Showcase at Container Bar

Back in September of last year, Kevin told us that he met a lot of the creators he now works with through KanyeToThe, a popular forum for Kanye West fans that has turned into so much more than a typical discussion board. Knowing his background, it makes more sense that Kevin and his team are putting together a performance that goes way beyond the typical rap show, even in its early stages.

Throughout the show, the Brockhampton members took turns stepping out and taking the lead while the others stood, swayed, and moved as a unit in the background. A few times, they all exploded into an on-stage turn-up—an infectious display of energy that lit up the audience.

“Who is this?” asked a tall man in front of me with a foreign accent. “Brockhampton? This is crazy.”

There’s nothing fancy about what they’re doing. Aside from a few planned movements, matching outfits, and a team mentality, there wasn’t much to the show. But it felt like something much bigger. It was more than a bunch of people performing songs, and it seems like only the beginning of something that will undoubtedly become much more elaborate as these innovative kids continue to perform and develop their vision.

With the Yeezus tour, Kanye West changed the game. Of all artists alive right now—especially in hip-hop—he’s pushed the hardest and taken things the farthest. So what does it look like when a bunch of wildly ambitious young creatives come up in his wake? It’s hard to say, but Brockhampton gave a glimpse of it last night at SXSW.