i know kevin abstract’s “empty” video came out over half a year ago now, but i wanna talk about it anyway. i remember my first time seeing it. i had heard of him a few times prior to this, but i had made the mistake of never checking out his stuff. i saw the video surfacing here and there on twitter a few times, and even then i hadn’t clicked on it. i finally gave in after i saw someone tweet it to tyler’s twitter. i watched it and was struck by how beautifully up-front this guy is about his queer sexuality; i really hadn’t seen anything like it in a music video before. i couldn’t stop watching; i loved it. i checked out the rest of his material and related heavy with the whole outsider persona that he portrays. it turns out that “empty” had been the first single from his upcoming album american boyfriend: a suburban love story, which dropped in november 2016. needless to say, the album made me a fan. that is, if i hadn’t already been one.
i think artists like kevin are unequivocally important for listeners like me (i.e. those who hated high school and who never really fit in). kevin is a product of innovators like tyler, frank, kanye, and cudi, who have all been known to portray some sort of vulnerability–usually in quantities that are considered abnormal and condescendingly feminine for men in today’s society, especially in the hip-hop industry–in their music. kevin is no stranger to this himself and really allows these influences to shine both through his music and through his message; his music thereby acts as an outlet, not only for him, but for his fans as well. furthermore, i think he’s also becoming more and more of a role model and an icon for people of color and other minorities, which is huge in an environment where these groups are constantly marginalized. while kevin may not be hugely popular, his current impact is nothing less than admirable and inspiring, and it has earned him a cult fan base that continues to grow and support him on his journey to become a worldly-acknowledged popstar.
watch the video for “empty” here: