Kevin Abstract remembers the day Frank Ocean penned his heartfelt letter on Tumblr, which later set the stage for his eclectic queer story telling for the outcasts. At 20 years old, Kevin Abstract is ushering in a new sound, with his latest project American Boyfriend, a salute to Frank Ocean full of glittering vocals and messily confessional lyrics.
His lyrical content in poignant, set in his high school years living in the outskirts of a Texas suburb where he met the first boy he ever fell in love with at 16. The album is executive produced by Frank Ocean collaborator Michael Uzowuru. Although Frank Ocean was rarely a topic of discussion, the gravity and emotional undertone to American Boyfriend is reminiscent of Ocean with all the sentimental strings and melodramatic choirs. But Kevin Abstract is not looking to emulate Ocean, rather lay the foundation for a pop and emo discography.
His journey began at the age of 11, where he found solace rapping over instrumentals on Youtube and uploading then to MySpace. After running away at 15, he found his way to Georgia before eventually returning to Texas where he connected with a slew of like-minded music nerds. His debut album MTV1987 was released in 2014 and received positive praise from Billboard, Complex, Pigeon & Planes and 2DopeBoyz.
These days, he live in South Central, Los Angeles with a group of 12 friends he met online. They call themselves Brockhampton and have only released a hand full of playful videos. When asked about his musical journey, Kevin stated “I just want people to be able to put on American Boyfriend and accept to not know."
This is not a hip-hop album; it's ambitious reaching far outside the binaries that place artists on tight restraints in the realm of creativity. American Boyfriend is full of guitars, smooth melodies, and poignant, vulnerable songwriting. In his own words, "my new record is pop as fuck."
But the most revealing aspect of the album is not only the 90's pop-rock vibe. But, it reveals the most honest songwriting we've heard from an upcoming artist boldly addressing their sexuality: "Can't tell my family I'm bi, can't tell my mother I'm gay, the hardest part of my day is wishing I was fucking straight." And it's lyrics like this that permeate the mind and soul. While other artists opt to address their lavish lifestyles, Kevin Abstract takes a backseat, using his artistry to foster a transparent relationship with the listeners, inviting us into his subconscious, glittery world of honesty.
From touring with The Neighborhood, Kevin Abstract has been heading in this new direction, pulling everything together on American Boyfriend- creating an exciting musical chapter in his career. Dive in to American Boyfriend here and stay tuned for more from Kevin Abstract.