2017 has truly been the year of Brockhampton. The gargantuan hip hop/boyband troop has already released two of the year’s best rap albums, in ‘Saturation’ and ‘Saturation II’, now here comes the finale of the trilogy.
When the release date of ‘Saturation III’ was announced, it was teased as the “final studio album” by the group, luckily it has since been revealed that said statement was just Kevin Abstract’s way of truly highlighting the end of this particular series of albums, as a follow-up, ‘Team Effort’ has already been announced for 2018.
The only misstep with ‘Saturation II’ was the fact that outside a lot of diverse, varying instrumentals, and unique song structures, the group essentially held onto their key qualities that brought them to the dance on ‘Saturation’, which is fine, because fundamentality, Brockhampton is a powerhouse. So, does ‘Saturation III’ do anything to give itself its own identity? The answer isn’t “yes”, the answer is ‘BOOGIE. ‘BOOGIE is the album’s opening track, and it is immediately the group’s wildest, most daringly paced song to date. Almost everything on the previous two albums was slick, sometimes amped up, sometimes laid back, but steady, ‘BOOGIE’ is fast and noisy with a siren-like instrumental, and it’s incredibly juicy.
The weirdness is continued on the eerie, piano-driven ‘ZIPPER’, and somewhat still on ‘JOHNNY’, but with a sentimental twist, a colourful DIY beat – as the group is known for – and some of Kevin Abstract’s most curious and enlightening lyrics, such as “I could’ve got a job at McDonalds but I like curly fries / that’s a metaphor for my life and I like taller guys” and “Anybody got Harry Styles’ phone number? / okay, I called him and they said I got the wrong number”.
The album adds to the intelligent, conscious reputation that the emcees had made for themselves on their previous records, particularly Ameer Vann’s verse in the ‘NATION’ section of ‘SISTER/NATION’, rapping about quiet suburbs with picket fences, reminding him of separation and the racism he has been on the receiving end of. Also Kevin Abstract’s verse about misjudging America as progressive since electing a black president, on ‘TEAM’, a song that really proves the chemistry the rappers have. The song also repeats the Bearface-sung ‘sad closing track’ trait of the other two ‘Saturation’ albums, before hitting a 180 and turning into a freaked out, conscious outro.
Another thing ‘Saturation III’ has is hooks, and plenty of them. From ‘STUPID chorus “Boys wanna play with my cell phone” to the “Put the bag in the cup, add it up, add it up” of ‘HOTTIE’.
Brockhampton have no problem switching things up, which makes their post-‘Saturation Trilogy’ work that bit more appetising. Structurally, the album’s early and later stages feel a lot more concise than its middle, but it’s still a constant thrill-ride, as was to be expected. A massive union of fiery verses, melting pot beats, and compositional experimentation, Brockhampton continues to rule with the grand finale of the ‘Saturation Trilogy’.
‘Saturation III’ is out now via Question Everything Inc. and Empire Distribution