With hip-hop and rap culture on the rise, American boy bands are becoming a thing of the past. For Brockhampton, however, this proves to be the opposite. Before the conception of the group, Texas-raised Kevin Abstract had joined a prominent Kanye West fan forum in 2015. Soon after joining the online community, he formed a group that ranged from aspiring rappers to art directors, creating a new movement of rap with more than 15 prominent members. Instead of focusing on the artists themselves, today’s obscura revolves around Brockhampton’s latest album “Saturation III.”
Released in Dec. 15 2017, “Saturation III” has given me time to really get a feel for the album. In fact, I’ve had more than a month to replay and recite every song. As good as “Saturation” and “Saturation II” were, “Saturation III” takes a whole new step towards the rap game. Oddly and ironically mirroring the group energy of Tyler the Creator’s “Odd Future” group, their style of music is far from similar to their flow. Brockhampton’s music sets a wide playing field, one where both Tupac, Radiohead and One Direction fans can all enjoy the same album without hesitation. As Pitchfork writes in Dec. of last year, “[the group’s] insistence on being labeled a ‘boy band’ is an attempt to redraw these lines and reclaim zones once reserved for teenybopper bait and flipping them to mean ‘rappers’.” With “Saturation III,” the band’s message starts to be shown through lyrics able to reach every demographic regardless of race, gender or sexuality. Although it has been out for more than a month, I wouldn’t want to specifically reference any special lyric in any certain song to avoid spoilers for new fans. But, four songs have definitely caught my attention and are worth listening out of order. Here they are:
Although Brockhampton’s earlier works might have been impressive, the structure of each song in “Saturation III,” With 15 members in the band, it’s no surprise that delegating voices in a time slot of 4 minutes or less per song is hard. In “Liquid” and “Bleach,” however, personal stories of individual members truly highlight the importance of these artists’ works. Any listener can tell how crucial music is in each of these singers’ lives. From a writer’s perspective, “Saturation III” is a polished form of artwork. As a fan, I’m listening to “BLEACH” and “RENTAL” on repeat. In other words, “Saturation III” is a nice ending to the trilogy and an amazing beginning to Brockhampton’s legacy.