Kevin Abstract is taking the rap world by storm

Anai Freeman, Associate Social Media Manager

“Question Everything.” Clifford Ian Simpson, also known as Kevin Abstract, is the one of the newest upcoming artists, releasing 2 albums within the time span of 2 months with a third on its way in December. This gives listeners such as myself a plethora of different songs to listen to as well while also kick starting his career in a group known as Brockhampton.

Abstract’s music compels listeners due to his lyricism: he tends to rap about his sexuality as well as how he is still trying to figure himself out. Abstract states in an interview with The Guardian that “We are what America actually is. We speak for people of color who have a hard time expressing themselves publicly. Being a person of color as well as being male and openly homosexual isn’t easy due to the stigma and or standard of being “black.”  In the same interview Abstract states, “Even if the idea popped up in my head, I would just tell myself that’s not what it was, but when I’m able to reflect back on certain things as a kid, it makes sense. Just looking at guys and saying, ‘Oh, that guy’s cool’ – but [cool] was not what it was. But living in the south and being raised around people who were taught this is bad and not acceptable, you just don’t accept that. I can’t even blame them for raising me that way. They were born in it too. I was just lucky enough to recognize.”

Abstract’s parents didn’t accept his choice of not attending college or his sexuality, resulting in him running away at the age of 17. “Me telling that story [of coming out, in the song Miserable America] helps another kid, ‘cause no one has ever said that in a song, and I resonated with that,” he says. “That’s why it’s important for me to open up for bigger pop stars, ‘cause [kids] won’t hear my music otherwise. And for me to be onstage in front of that many kids and for them to be like, damn, I identify with this person – now they have a new hero that looks like them.”

Abstract left for San Marcos,Texas with a group of friends he met in an online chat discussion dedicated to Kanye West. “I just wanted to make it [music]. But I had no money. How do I make this happen?” he says. “Luckily I had them, and they were in the same boat.” For the next year, Abstract and his friends would spend their time learning how to perfect their music to soon sign with managers Christian and Kelly Clancy of Odd Future fame.

Abstract is now headlining his own sold out shows, which even include music festivals such as the notorious annual Camp Flog Gnaw hosted by Tyler The Creator in his hometown of Los Angeles. Something Abstract used as an outlet ultimately became so much more than he originally thought, giving his fans a way to express themselves as well. His music calls out to everyone who is confused about their career path, who they are and even their sexuality, giving fans reassurance that it is okay to not know who you are because even he doesn’t know.