It would be irresponsible to assess or assign a genre to any individual Brockhampton song without having an understanding of the group’s overall design and category.

The concept and frequency of genre bending or hybrid/cross genres, has become very popular in recent years. A example of a major influencer in this category would be rapper Tyler The Creator. Ironically, Tyler is one of the role models and inspirations for lead member of Brockhampton, Kevin Abstract. In a recent interview following the 2020 Grammy’s, Tyler The Creator provided a great definition for the type of music he makes. He called out the Grammy’s for only nominating his album IGOR, which content contained very little rap, for Best Rap Album. In his frustration, he pointedly notes that anytime an artist, namely black artists, cross into a more pop genre or combined genres together in a song or album, they are still confined to a Rap or Urban genre. His comments on this topic start at 0:20 and goes through 1:25.

Though this video is about Tyler The Creator and not Brockhampton, Tyler makes critical points which help to better understand the new market and how it is applied to the music Brockhampton makes. Tyler’s response begs the question: what does this mean for a 13-member, semi-satircally self proclaimed ‘boy band’, whose individual identities span a diverse mix of races, ethnicities and sexual orientations?

One of the major talking points about Brockhampton in their interviews is how to define them both by their status as a group, by the nature of their sound, and by their interpolation of visual arts projects to coincide their music and image. As noted by Craig Jenkins in his article in Vulture, the band considers it’s “managers, graphic designers, and video partners to be full-fledged members” alongside the six rappers and vocalists, ultimately establishing the group as a “rap collective / multimedia empire.” I think this is especially important to understand the genre of Brockhampton’s music, because the group views their identity and sound as being a cohesive and comprehensive unit–you must consider the auditory and visual aspects of their productions to have a more refined understand of their genre.

Brockhampton’s discography seems to go back and forth, even within each individual albums, between objectively identifiable boy band-esque songs, rap, hip hop, and feature threaded elements from alternative and pop genres.

“JUNKY” is more easily categorizable. The song has all of the featured vocalists on the track rapping. “JUNKY” initially–and still does–remind me of Tyler The Creator’s early work: incredibly brash and somewhat haunting. Different from most rap songs, “JUNKY” is especially raw and open with its lyrics, but sonically it is very edgy and aggressive. Its these qualities which I think make “JUNKY” a part of the subsection of rap music coined “conscious hip-hop” by Richard Stacey in Types of Rap. The song embodies all the elements of socially conscious allegory, even in its overall performance.This is something that the group is known for. I think it is important to distinguish “JUNKY” as “conscious hip-hop” instead of just straight-forward rap because attributing such a broad classification to the song would delegitimize its lyrical importance.