Released on the 9th of June, SATURATION is the first album in a trilogy of projects dropped by up-and-coming rap collective BROCKHAMPTON. (They like to be known as a boyband, though.) They aim to change the way Hip Hop is perceived, adjusting the social norms along the way. Capable of many, many different sounds, the group really finds a way into the mainstream with SATURATION.
Led by Kevin Abstract, the group features many other personalities, anywhere from rappers to singers and producers and content creators. Rappers such as Merlyn Wood, Dom Mclennon, Ameer Vaan and Matt Champion consistently change their sounds and flows, adapting to the beat as well as the subject matter and making each song a surprise. Bearface and Joba are both vocalists as well, the former capable of smooth, calming lyrics and the second more outreaching, capable of singing and rapping while doing both quite well. The others in the group are extensively involved with the boyband appearance as well, producing tracks and helping make their media presence felt. Enter SATURATION, the debut album from a group of outcasts in Texas.
The record begins with HEAT, a loud, rough song with lyrics matching the tone perfectly. Ameer raps violently and intensely about aggravated Larson, amongst other crimes, showcasing a darker side of his personality and then follows with the hook, a frightening threat towards those who came after his friends, shouting “Who done called the cops on my ni**as? That’s the first one to go, the first shot I blow.” Other members follow with similar verses revolving around violence and personal issues alike, but it’s not until Joba begins his chunk of the song that one can really appreciate the individualism present in the group. Screams of “F*** YOU! I’LL BREAK YOUR NECK SO YOU CAN WATCH YOUR BACK!” ring through the song, creating the most intense possible atmosphere leading into Matt Champion, who more calmly ends the track.
It’s often seen on this album how easily it is for the members of this group to jump from one emotion to an entirely different feeling and vibe within two seperate tracks. The jump from HEAT to the next song, GOLD, shows it clearly. A much more poppy & upbeat song, Gold allows the group to enjoy themselves a little bit more. Kevin Abstract smoothly lays the hook down in between verses, showcasing his own capabilities of making catchy songs. Champion lays down some of his best delivered lines and Ameer showcases a much more energetic, calm version of himself when compared to HEAT.
Furthermore, STAR is a clever song that consists of the various rappers name dropping and making various puns in reference to pop culture. Musicians, fictional characters, sports teams and actors alike are all shouted out in a comical, clever song that yet again proves the capabilities that the rappers have on such different beats.
And the jumps continue throughout the album, with tracks like MILK and FACE showcasing a much more personal side while BUMP provides yet another bass heavy, yelled song. The main point that can be reached is that no matter the direction the boyband decides to go on a track, they pull it off. The quieter, slower, calmer songs are just as enjoyable as the loud, hype songs. The sung lyrics are just as touching and meaningful as those yelled into your ears, and the production truly exceeds its expectations from song to song. The group seem to have truly perfected this and are capitalizing on it, working together in such a large group to turn a concept into reality. There are fresh ideas and well written lyrics just as much as there are those perfect deliveries and slick production credits, but the potential is just barely being tapped into. Although an exciting debut, the follow up in SATURATION II will have high expectations that can hopefully be hit yet again.