Posted on: October 21, 2021 Posted by: Juan Carbajal Comments: 0

These past two years have given us a hard look at society itself; we have been forced to face and think deeply about underlying issues with a desire to be better.

Whether due to a distrust in government, anger at escalating violence of police brutality, or just exhaustion at the state of our lives and our relations with others, many people have reached breaking points.

A musical collective group, Brockhampton, artistically expresses these kinds of devastating lows, turning them into a new energy and creating art that’s both alert and exciting, as shown in their track, “Don’t Shoot Up the Party.”

Juan Carbajal

JRN 101 Student

The group is all about uniqueness and creativity, as Brockhampton represents revision. They were mostly recruited through the internet, with the intention of being a “boy band” that redefines the idea of one. The group of young men consists of 13 members of varied backgrounds in terms of location, race, musical taste, sexual orientation and occupation. 

Their music is a mesh of different strains of hip hop, pop, R&B, indie, alternative, and hints of electronic and rock. Brockhampton created seven projects in only six years, pushing out art that expresses anything from socially conscious music to something that you can blast in your car, nodding along. Both elements are influences that helped make what we have in this track.

The lead singer, Kevin Abstract, spits with frustration about his upbringing in “Don’t Shoot Up the Party.” As a gay Black man in America, he lyrically releases the struggles of homophobia, racism, classism and gun violence that he has been exposed to and internalized. He lists each frustration frantically with a very personal detail or two in lines like “All American self-hatred runs deep, White boys all I see whenever I sleep.” Out of context, that last bit might sound like a weird line, but what gives it substance is knowing that Abstract has mentioned before the racism that’s been thrown at him. Racial self-loathing also affects who he’s attracted to.

Timothy Norris/Getty Images
Kevin Abstract, lead singer of Brockhampton, captures the feeling of 2021.

The beginning, with all lyrics in mind, feels like Abstract is bringing every frustration that has bubbled up within him – self-hatred, hating others who don’t understand him, and hatred shown towards him for the man he is. He highlights the individual and environmental factors that can end up in a violent shootout. It’s a level of awareness that’s too real about wanting to have a good time when times aren’t too good.

In another line, Abstract states, “I had to go back home I seen too many n– die in a week/ I give my dogs black wealth, let ‘em live well” and shortly after that bar he states, “Keep the peace, keep ‘em dancin.” These lines represent one man revisiting people he’s close with and giving them financial support while trying to be a positive influence. Making good entertainment doesn’t just mean that the hostility ends, he wants to keep it going without any danger. It’s a sentiment of keeping his close ones safe and having fun while also knowing things can go south real fast, as suggested by the track’s title.

Overall, as we are trying to get comfortable in what will eventually be a post-Covid society, many of the hostile tendencies and inner frustrations that create paranoia are reflected in Brockhampton’s “Don’t Shoot Up the Party.”

The result is something you might hear to get in the mood on the way to a party, as much as it is a dangerous anthem about why you might hear gunshots at one. The shifting mood of this song perfectly encapsulates the world we live in. We want times to be good, but the environment around us makes that difficult.