The “Saturation” collection from Brockhampton is quite a great feat — three records written, recorded, produced and published in a span of six months.
But, what’s even more unthinkable is that almost every song on every record is vitally important and wildly well-done. They all play a key role and each record wouldn’t be the same with one missing.
I am getting ahead of myself here though.
Brockhampton is a 15-person rap group, or as the group likes to say, a boy band.
The leader of this collaboration is Kevin Abstract, with the rest of the group members being his friends that he met on a Kanye West, fan page, sub-Reddit.
Today they all live together in Los Angeles, where they do all their writing, recording and producing. But, that is enough introduction — onto my thoughts of these three records.
It’s easiest to group them all together because each record is roughly the same concept and sound with small differences here and there, other than one monumental difference.
Every member brings a uniqueness to the record that you can’t get very easily anymore and you can easily distinguish between each person. They each have their own flow and vocal style.
It really makes every song feel fresh and new, and keeps you listening repeatedly to break down each member.
With the uniqueness, it’s possible that they wouldn’t sound good together; however, every member rolls off each other. They flow so well together and play off each other’s strengths. They know when to switch rappers and when to keep the flow going.
Now onto the production, and this is where the group starts to depart from other rap groups and artists of this century.
In each record, Brockhampton experiments a little bit more than the last. They sprinkle in heavy drum beats, with whimsical synths and driving guitar leads.
The production team isn’t afraid to try a beat out and see where it goes and the members of Brockhampton aren’t afraid to take risks and rap over what they are handed.
Each song also has this nice crisp sound to it that makes every sound and whistle in each track pop out at you. Then when you add the clean, yet real, vocals from each rapper, it feels like pure perfection.
Now I’m not saying that the vocals are always clean.
Abstract is always willing to put some heavy autotune to his voice to add a little bit more flavor to the already exotic soup of “Saturation.”
The lyrics go into various topics that range from growing up, violence, living life, etc. But there is one common theme that always looms, not only between tracks but between records: sexuality.
So many songs bring up members’ conflicts with being gay, transgender, and bisexual as well as a plethora of other things.
This is where the group unquestionably separates itself from the rest of the crowd.
There is a specific demographic that listens to heavy rap music, just like there are demographics for every genre of music. However, Brockhampton has opened their arms to so many people and they don’t care who you are.
I’m not saying music normally does this on the surface, but underneath it festers. If you watch live shows people from all demographics are in the crowd and this started from being open about talking about such touchy topics that most hip-hop artists don’t go near.
Abstract puts it perfectly on the track “Junky” – “Not enough rappers be gay.”
Overall, these records are something more than just pop rap bangers with great experimentation and great member collaboration. It’s a set of records that is pushing the boundaries of what and who can appreciate music.
Happy Listening Gannon University!
• Rating: low-mid 9/10
• Favorite Songs: “Milk,” “Tokyo,” “Sister/Nation”
• Least Favorite Songs: “Trip,” “Sweet,” “Liquid”
• Genre: Pop Rap, Alternative Hip Hop, Alternative, R&B