Categorized | Arts & Entertainment

BROCKHAMPTON releases second album in one year

Miki Rae
Contributing Writer

The term “boy band” has garnered a specific connotation through the success of groups such as the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC and One Direction. Collectives such as these have generally gone the route of pop stardom, vying for the hearts of teenage girls to gain notoriety as teen heartthrobs.

At their peak, boy bands have complete control of the music scene, as evidenced by One Direction holding the 16th highest grossing tour in music history. However, longevity and cohesion has become a precarious hurdle due to the desire to pursue solo careers.

The up-and-coming hip hop collective BROCKHAMPTON is an extremely paradoxical boy band. While the group self-identifies as a boy band of 15 young men who make music, they object to many of the norms of the typical boy band due to their focus on hip hop, as opposed to pop. Additionally, the way the group was created differs drastically from any other successful boy band.

A few years ago, Kevin Abstract, the most notable member of BROCKHAMPTON today, reached out on a Kanye West fan forum to see if any young and motivated artists were interested in forming a rap collective. Miraculously enough, he got responses, and in March 2016, the group released their debut mixtape, All American Trash. While the project was mainly an effort to establish a place on the map, their second project, Saturation, was a push to make noise in hip hop.

Saturation features a unique balance between hard hitting percussive beats and aggressive rap lyrics in songs like “HEAT” and “BUMP,” to smoother pop-like records such as “GOLD” and “FAKE.” An album with an interestingly long tracklist of seventeen, Saturation features their incredible depth with verses from six different rappers in the group.

A month after the release of Saturation, Kevin Abstract tweeted that BROCKHAMPTON would be releasing their sophomore album, Saturation II, along with a music video for a new single. This uncharacteristic method of quick music turnover baffled the hip hop community, and many wondered if it was possible to create a full-length album in such a short period of time. BROCKHAMPTON did not disappoint.

It is almost as if they constructed the formula for a great hip hop song while injecting enough variation in melody and rhythm to intrigue listeners. The production on Saturation II is unparalleled in today’s hip hop scene.

The diverse samples in tracks like “GUMMY” and “SWEET” offers listeners a distinctive journey that cannot be found in mainstream hip hop. “QUEER” is a song which sticks out as a particularly special one on the album. The transition between verses and the chorus are very defined, which shifts the mood of the song immensely.

It is the group’s ability to alter the mood from song to song, and even within individual songs, which is so admirable for such a new group. Even though it is still on the fringe of the mainstream hip hop scene, BROCKHAMPTON’s success is unprecedented.

While groups such as A$AP Mob and Odd Future have made noise in hip hop, most individuals in their groups like A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg in the Mob and Tyler the Creator in Odd Future rely mainly on solo careers. If BROCKHAMPTON can continue to release projects as iconic as Saturation and Saturation II, who knows? They may be the next One Direction.

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