BROCKHAMPTON’s latest release, ‘Saturation III,’ breaks boundaries

‘One talent that BROCKHAMPTON encompasses is its knack at relatability’

Official BROCKHAMPTON Facebook page

Official BROCKHAMPTON Facebook page

By Jaylene Lopez

If there is a group that could define the internet-age generation, it’s hip-hop boyband BROCKHAMPTON. The Texas-native, California-based group made waves in 2017, releasing its three studio album projects, “Saturation,” “Saturation II” and now “Saturation III” to complete the trilogy.

The boyband truly moved up the ranks with its trilogy as its newfound success juxtaposes their homemade reputation. As a collective of a handful of rappers, producers and artists, the boyband puts its all into making project after project, completely defying typical traditions in the music industry.

“Saturation III” in particular is its most genre-bending project yet, which, when paired with catchy hooks and conscious lyricism, makes the album both musically and expressively unique. BROCKHAMPTON’s experimental style morphs throughout the collection with variety — no two songs are the same. Each title has its own theme and brings a new, fresh topic to the album’s conversation.

One talent that BROCKHAMPTON encompasses is its knack at relatability. As young adults in the internet age (several being people of color), there is a sense of loneliness and frustration that can come with growing up in a such an exasperating world — one that seems to be completely against any kind of individuality or eccentricity. The boyband values creativity and being an outcast, which is self-explanatory when considering the group was born out of being the outsiders of high school, with the rest of the members eventually joining after meeting on a Kanye West fan forum.

On the first track, “BOOGIE,” group leader Kevin Abstract raps, “I’ve been beat up my whole life/I’ve been shot down, kicked out twice,” referring to the discrimination he faces from his mother for his sexuality. Yet, he follows with the lyrics, “Ain’t no stoppin’ me tonight/I’ma get all the things I like,” to show that he’s making it through his hardships.

Production on this project varies, which is what makes it so exceptional. At times, production is dense with intense, electronic beats like on “SISTER/NATION,” or it incorporates indie-rock instrumentals like on “TEAM.” Several tracks are ballad-like storytelling opportunities for the group, such as “LIQUID,” “BLEACH” and “RENTAL.” Others, like “HOTTIE,” have sharp drumming and space-synth. “STUPID” and “ALASKA” emanate 90s and early 2000s-like production, making them shine through the album as well.

The lyrics on this project are poetic, displaying the vulnerability of the group as well as their self-awareness. One member, JOBA (Russell Boring) on “JOHNNY,” describes his battle with depression when he says, “It seems I’m destined to fall apart when I’m depressed/It’s all a test, scream at God from my bedside.” Cultural references to racism are also a theme on this album, with Ameer Vann’s verse on “TEAM,” “I raise my black fist, I got big lips/I’m strong as Samson, they cut my f***in’ locks/I lose my f***in’ strength.” The transition tracks like “CINEMA” also allow for more depth on the project, spoken in Spanish by member Robert Ontenient. They add poetic interludes to better tell the group’s story, continuing the narrative of the other two albums, “Saturation” and “Saturation II.”

What makes this album stand out is its depth; although there is a storyline and similar themes in each part of the “Saturation” trilogy, the third and final album truly shows off the boyband’s talent. Superb lyrics mixed with impressive, unorthodox production deviates this record from most hip-hop albums out there, making the group incredibly unique. Comprising the themes of coming-of-age, BROCKHAMPTON’s ability to connect with the issues of individuality, racism and mental illness makes the project one of the most noteworthy albums of the year.

Jaylene Lopez can be reached at [email protected]