SATURATION

by BROCKHAMPTON

Released June 9, 2017 via QUESTION EVERYTHING / EMPIRE

Reviewed June 9, 2022

Top tracks (based on community voting)
GOLD (65%), HEAT (60%), STAR (37%)

Trap’s dominance in pop-rap was molding convention rapidly, and apart from Migos, groups seemed like an archaic artifact. So to see a collective like BROCKHAMPTON not only deliver the same quirky sass as groups like OFWGKTA (without the dated humor), the versatility of instrumental talent akin to Childish Gambino, or the on-mic chemistry of Wu-Tang, was extremely refreshing. Infused with production techniques inspired by M.I.A. and Kanye West and marketed as a more vulnerable ‘boy band’ rather than a stoic ‘rap group,’ SATURATION not only is a product of everything that came before, but additionally a diverging path for hip-hop. BROCKHAMPTON are pervious to emotion stemming from familial, parasocial, and sexual relationships, describing how hip-hop has played a third-party role. Throughout the album they journey through numerous sub-genres and levels of energy, from the industrial opener “HEAT,” crossing the lax, tropical jungles of “BANK,” and the cliffs of precarious banger “BUMP” (an inverse of the Pixies quiet-loud-quiet structure), to the careful intimacy of “WASTE.” Transitioning from upbeat stoicism to lowkey confessionals is a relatively simple idea, but this meta fading of the mask communicates a particular creative vision for BROCKHAMPTON; telling the first part of a larger story, but executing it in a particularly attractive way for its intended audience. Not a hunger to make it, not a hunger for catharsis, but a hunger to uplift one’s contemporaries and collaborate. There's something for everyone on SATURATION. – Cam (8.8/10)


Few artists—let alone a collective of more than a dozen members—get to experience the meteoric rise that BROCKHAMPTON experienced in 2017. Due in large part to the massive success of the SATURATION trilogy, BROCKHAMPTON went from virtually unknown to “America’s favorite boy band” with a chart-topping record (iridescence) in a year and change. Five years later, the group is no more, but it’s hard to forget the massive mark they left in such a short span. SATURATION kicked off that legendary run, compacting a number of wildly talented individuals onto one record that would be much greater than the sum of its parts. Romil Hemnani, Jabari Manwa, and Kiko Merley handle the majority of the production on the first installment of the trilogy; with these three behind the boards—plus some additional production from Joba, Bearface, and Rome Gomez—SATURATION has a wide array of sounds converging upon one another. From melodic, R&B-influenced songs to more aggressive and energetic posse cuts, BROCKHAMPTON delivers on an eclectic sound that makes use of the many different personalities of the group—shifting from boastful and carefree at one moment to tender and sentimental in the next. That being said, the formula laid forth on SATURATION was still a bit of work in progress; it is a little messy and front-loaded—with the exception of “MILK”—but still a great project nonetheless. – Dominick (8.3/10)


The 2010s gave way to a resurgence of hip-hop collectives, such as Odd Future, A$AP Mob, Pro Era, and Ruby Yacht to name just a few. Few were as successful in their collective intentions as BROCKHAMPTON. The SATURATION series garnered mass hysteria over such a relentless release schedule, and as the name suggests, saturation was indeed BROCKHAMPTON's route of access. Such a saturation typically squeezes out all possibilities, with an aftermath dried out and an afterthought. This is where BROCKHAMPTON creates space between themselves and their contemporaries; their look, sound, and style had no issue in dodging the clutches of saturation's all-squeezing grip. The collective’s strength lies in their ability to harness the individual members’ characteristics and temperaments in a manner akin to Wu-Tang Clan, who are the epitome of this statement. SATURATION was the start of something that will be felt for years to come. – Peter (8/10)


Daniel: 9.5/10 | Hadley: 9.5/10 | Cam: 8.8/10 | Dominick: 8.3/10

DeVán: 8.2/10 | Jared: 8/10 | Peter: 8/10 | Ben (Synth): 6.5/10

 
Community Reviews:

​​Imagine taking the concept of the Wu-Tang Clan and updating it by two decades, then add the inspiration of Kanye West and Tyler, The Creator into the production. This is pretty much a summary of BROCKHAMPTON. SATURATION I was their first official release within the SATURATION trilogy of 2017, and in my opinion it’s the best of the three. In fact, I think it’s their best album. Personality oozes across the record due to how unique each of the boys present themselves. The sounds on the album shift from being aggressively heavy (ex. “HEAT,” “BUMP”) to being introspective and tame (ex. “FACE,” “MILK”). I love albums with variety, character, and personality, so it’s a no brainer how wonderful this project comes across to me. A lot of praise I give this album applies to other BH projects— I just think this one does it the best! – @fort.izzo.mo (9/10)


A strong debut (although AAT is better), BROCKHAMPTON deliver some singles with a lot of punch and wit, and some that don’t hit. – @maxrosk (8/10)


One of the best sophomore albums from any group out there. – u/Skunkman2011 (7/10)