Release Date: Dec 15, 2017
Record label: BROCKHAMPTON
Brockhampton, the self-proclaimed “all American Boy Band," continue their insanely active 2017 campaign by dropping the third installment of the Saturation series. The idea of an artist dropping three projects in the span of seven months immediately would make you question the quality of the releases, but the group's trajectory has been trending upward since the release of the first Saturation back in May. Luckily for fans and followers, this trilogy-closing album doubles as the best album in the series and their strongest release to date.
Recently, Brockhampton (usually stylized as BROCKHAMPTON) -- the South Central Los Angeles hip-hop conglomerate, or "boyband" -- teased fans that Saturation III would not only be their last installment of their Saturation album series, but their last album as Brockhampton. However, on a recent appearance on Zane Lowe's "Beats 1" show, Kevin Abstract and Co. declared that "Even though everybody knows it's not really our last album.
The thing about Brockhampton is they're supposed to be too much. What do you expect when you're attempting to take in three albums by a collective of 14 members in one year, whose chief artistic reasoning is "because we can?" The freshest act, sorry, I mean "boy band," of 2017 doesn't think much about albums just yet; they're just a fucking art factory, like Andy Warhol envisioned. They're product machines with an unmistakable aesthetic, one-word titles in all caps, which adorn the title cards of their many colorful and boisterous videos.
If the whole BROCKHAMPTON ethos relies on inclusivity and a DIY spirit, it's no wonder the internet factors so heavily into their mythos. They're a group of twentysomethings who started making things as a collective through the KanyeToThe forum, who were inspired by The Social Network to move in together. They borrowed their egalitarian blueprint from Odd Future--build community online, work communally, create and share constantly and control the means of production--and grew their fanbase on Tumblr.
Self-styled Los Angeles 'boyband' Brockhampton have had a busier 2017 than most, having released both their debut and sophomore albums this summer, just two months apart. While the original 'Saturation' caught people's attention with its energetic experimentation, it was the tighter and more confident second chapter that really established the group as a force to be reckoned with. Given the very short break between these two projects, you might have expected either a 2018 delay for 'Saturation III' or potentially a Godfather III-esque dip in quality.
Brockhampton defines itself as an "all-American boy band," a label that could initially be read as a glib in-joke were it not for the LA-based collective's earnestness. Certainly, the first thing that comes to mind for most people when they hear "boy band" isn't a 14-strong crew of mixed-race queer and straight rappers, producers, and creatives, living together under one roof, making genre-bending hip-hop about marginalized identity and self-acceptance. But that's the whole point, Brockhampton's members argue — persuasively — across "Saturation III," the final installment in a trilogy of albums that have brought the group from relative obscurity to widespread recognition in just six short months.
Brockhampton have received a lot of praise as the boyband for a new, progressive age, with a queer frontman, lyrics that often address identity politics and, as a 14-person collective all living under one roof in Van Nuys, California, having some sort of psuedo-socialist vibe too. However, their unsettling, erratically pitched techno-panicky beats, JOBA's modulated vocals and Henock "HK" Sileshi's colorful meta music videos make them feel not like the boyband for today but the boyband of the future. There's something about that fuzzy high pitched synth sound and Kanye-modeled bleeping that feels beyond human, like each and every one of these individuals is not an artistic savante but entirely crazy, and the exposure gets you empathetically riled up in their mania too.