Fresh off the back of TikTok-fuelled virality, all-American boyband BROCKHAMPTON have dropped a new, safe for work music video for their biggest hit to date — the wistful and sweet, “SUGAR." Originally intended as the lead single to their cathartic, fifth studio album Ginger — a pause was placed on the promotion of the track following its leak ahead of the album drop in late August last year. After months of cryptic teases across social media and plenty of fan anticipation, the band finally shared a NSFW music video for the single directed by Kevin Abstract in December.
In an interview on the Zach Sang Show, BROCKHAMPTON leader Kevin Abstract described how the concept for the original, Safdie Brothers-approved “SUGAR” video came to him in a dream: “It was a nightmare — I woke up, wrote my dream down and turned it into a video.” In what is, essentially, a four-minute trip, the loaded visual depicts sex, a murderous alien, a dejected animated sun, and an unfazed Matt Champion delivering his verse in a fiery afterlife in the company of the devil.
The latest visual offering of “SUGAR” — which dropped February 17 and has already amassed almost one million views — is decidedly more toned down than its preceding version. It features the group plus Ryan Beatty performing in front of a light backdrop in what appears to be a filming space, with a giant mirror flitting between the performance and the behind the scenes. The group looks comfortable, happy — as if depicting a moment when somebody puts on everyone’s favourite song. The video even includes a nod to TikTok, with Matt Champion and Ryan Beatty attempting the “SUGAR” dance trend, originating from user Jalessa Howard. It ends with chaotic clips of the boys running around a warehouse space, letting loose, chasing each other, laughing — closing out with a mirror shot of the group being wheeled away.
Looking back to their humble origins on internet forums, it’s clear to see that BROCKHAMPTON are a success story unlike any other, and a heartwarming one at that. This group — that works to challenge modern-day preconceptions of masculinity, friendship, and community — catapulted to prominence in the music industry and built their dedicated fan-base through experimental hip-hop following the 2017 release of the Saturation album trilogy. Their gritty 2018 release, iridescence, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, and the recent viral success of “SUGAR” has seen the band amass almost ten million new monthly listeners on Spotify since December last year.
If their journey so far and the two contrasting videos for “SUGAR” tell us anything, it’s that BROCKHAMPTON are ever-discovering new things about themselves and their identity as a group — and that at the core, they’re having fun doing it. So, what’s next for the self-proclaimed best boyband since One Direction? “We wanna be really, really big— we wanna be in arenas,” Merlyn Wood talks on the band’s vision for the next year in a mini-tour documentary by illroots.“We love our fans — we want to continue giving them albums they can cherish ’til they get mad old.”
Fans can catch BROCKHAMPTON at Coachella 2020 in April and on the European leg of their “Heaven Belongs To You” tour in May. “SUGAR” is available to stream on all major platforms, and you can watch the new video drop directed by Kevin Abstract below: