The Los-Angeles based hip-hop collective BROCKHAMPTON is back making noise with the second album of their Saturation trilogy, Saturation II. Each song on the sixteen-song project pushes the status-quo of modern mainstream hip-hop production and subject matter. The self-proclaimed “boyband” have been rapidly growing in popularity the past year due to the success of individual members and them turning Brockhampton into media brand- similar to Odd Future during their peak around 2014. It also doesn’t hurt that popular hip-hop internet blogs/communities are flocking to Brockhampton for their self-sustaining nature. By only using production/fashion design/videography/lyrics created by Brockhampton members, they are producing a unique sound and image that is only specific them.
Saturation II pushes the limits of what’s considered the norm in modern mainstream hip-hop production. They utilize distinctive, yet unique instruments throughout the project to give the piece a cohesive feel while maintaining track individuality. Each of the seven members carry themselves with the level of swagger and confidence that hip-hop demands yet still touch base with more sensitive topics like mental health, sexual orientation, and societal pressures that the regular 20-something would face regardless of fame or fortune. A few members of Brockhampton tend to be in the limelight more than others such as Kevin Abstract, Ameer Vann, and Matt Champion. Nevertheless, no single member lacks in terms of performance throughout the project. Every member of Brockhampton is a precut piece inside of a completed jigsaw puzzle.
The tenth song of the project, JUNKY, is a great example of what Brockhampton does and does well. The beat is multi-layered with what sounds like an Erhu (a traditional Chinese bowed string instrument) along with a cacophonic, booming bassline accompanied by the natural sounds of stomps/claps to keep the song’s rhythm. The first verse by Kevin Abstract is not only impressive lyrically, but also turns masculinity in modern hip-hop on its side. Abstract is an openly-gay musician and makes it a point in his lyrics to show the swagger and masculinity of homosexuality that isn’t shown in the heterosexually-dominated music business that we all consume. If the vast majority of rap songs nowadays talk about the ladies that they frequent with or taking someone’s girl, why can’t Kevin Abstract rap about stealing your boyfriend?
With Saturation I and II both coming out within several months of one another, I don’t expect to wait for the trilogy to end for too much longer. Brockhampton continues to expand their sound with every project they release as well as come into their own creativity. Saturation III can’t come soon enough.
Hip-hop's newest boy band is shaking up the landscape of modern music aesthetic and subject matter.