Review: BROCKHAMPTON Saturation I, II, and III

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Review: BROCKHAMPTON Saturation I, II, and III

Charlie Bernstein, Writer

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From last June to December, the up and coming “boy band” (which the group considers themselves), or hip-hop collective Brockhampton (stylized as BROCKHAMPTON), released three full length studio albums, a trilogy, Saturation I, II, and III. Brockhampton is a 14 person group of all 20-25 year old guys that live in the same house together in LA. Not everyone in Brockhampton is a rapper though, Brockhampton is made up of rappers, singers, producers, even graphic designers, web designers, and their manager. With Brockhampton everything is done in house. Every member brings a different aspect and vibe to the table, so the tracks are very diverse and have a sound that is very fresh and distinct compared to a lot of the current hip-hop scene. Because they’re living with each other and constantly surrounded by each other, they are constantly pushing each other to improve and make their music overall better.

In 2017, over the course of three studio albums, brockhampton put out a total of 48 different tracks. If you think about it, that’s insane. Most artists it takes years to put out that many tracks, and some artists don’t even have that many tracks at all. I know you must be thinking that some of these tracks must be bad because they put so many out in such a short amount of time but your wrong. Obviously there are stronger tracks and weaker tracks, but the worst Brockhampton track from the Saturation trilogy is better than a lot of the mainstream hip-hop on the radio.

Saturation I is the gem that really started it all. Saturation open with a song called Heat which is one the best songs on all 3 albums. Its this super hard hitting banger which features 5 of the groups distinct members and is a fantastic way to open up an album. The song is filled with hard hitting emotion especially in the groups member Matt Champion’s last verse where he talks about his ex girlfriend. The song right after Heat is the song Gold which is another one of the groups best songs. The song is super catchy and is really the song that helped them blow up. This album has a lot of variety with its songs with slower songs and more intimate songs as well. The album ends with the member “bearface” singing exclusively on the song Waste with pretty much just a guitar and some percussion as the instrumental.

Saturation II is actually my favorite of the 3, it being the most upbeat and full of bangers and my favorite songs. Again Saturation II opens up with an amazing opener in the form of the song Gummy which starts with a classical instrumental that sounds like something at the beginning of an old movie, but quickly turns around into a very fun song that you can definitely bop to.  Saturation includes many great upbeat songs like, Fight, Tokyo, Queer, Swamp, and Sweet, which is my favorite Brockhampton song because its upbeat and really does a great job of showcasing the individuality of its members and how well they can work together. Two of my favorite verses on this song are Joba and Merlyn Woods verse. Another great song on the album is the song Junky. This song is not only great, but a very important song on the album because it talks about issues that aren’t discussed in hip-hop. On Kevin Abstract’s opening verse he discusses his sexuality and issues he’s had growing up gay and in Matt Champion’s closing verse, he talks about rape culture. The album follows the trend of ending on another Bearface song which is different than the rest of the album, but it makes it feel special.

Lastly Saturation III is another great Brockhampton project. Saturation III is the most ambitious of the 3 albums with more singing, more beat switchups, and a slightly more pop-esc sound. It again, opens with a great song and another one of my all time favorite Brockhampton tracks, Boogie. Boogie is a banger and really is all about how they’ve made it and they sort of celebrate their success in the song. The song is followed up by the song Zipper which is this very catchy very weird song where the member Joba really shines. After Zipper is Johnny which starts all surreal and immediately switches in to this really nice jazz featuring a great lead saxophone. Another great but very different song on the album is the song Sister/Nation where half way through the song the instrumental goes from chaotic to very spatial and vaperwave like. Some of the best songs on this album that i haven’t already named are: Stupid, Alaska, Hottie, Rental, and Bleach. Bleach really became the big song off of the album and the fan favorite because of the great vocals and killer production. It’s definitely on the slower side but the song is really good. The album ends with the song Team, the first half of the song being another bearface exclusive but the second half features a lot of the other members. Also during the outro of Team, the intro to Heat starts to play. Thats wild. When i listened to that for the first time i was freaking out, it was so cool.

If I had to rank the albums i would say for me it would be: Saturation II, then III, then I. Honestly this music is so good if you haven’t listened to any of it what are you doing. Go, really go, leave, listen to it, get outta here and listen to that music. Its great.