Album versus Album: Brockhampton

Comparing first-time mixtape Brockhampton to studio album Brockhampton

Photo courtesy of Willamette Week

By: Winona Young

All-American Trash (2016)

Think more Boyz II Men, less OFWGKTA. All-American Trash was Brockhampton’s first mixtape and it’s clear they hadn’t cemented their recognizable sound. The mixtape is overall slower, more seductive, and has an edge of blues with bouts of rap mixed in. It’s clear however that Brockhampton’s strengths lay with their prowess as rappers, rather than too-slow ballads that tended to blend in with one another. While select tracks like the introspective “Breakfast,” the sour-sounding “Poison,” and the dreamy “Palace” stand out, this one-tone mixtape should not be anyone’s first experience of Brockhampton.

Saturation III (2017)

Think more OFWGKTA, much less Boyz II Men (and even a little bit of One Direction). This album being the third of the Saturation series, it’s clear that Brockhampton had by this point found and honed their sound as rappers. Saturation III begins with “BOOGIE,” a bombastic, in-your-face banger, which transitions smoothly to the zany “ZIPPER,” and the tracks get even better. Musically diverse, this album stands as Brockhampton’s finest work so far with its unique instrumentals, solid beats, catchy hooks, and showcases some of the best performances and lines from the group’s members.

There is no need for “the band’s earlier stuff was better” nostalgia here, because albums like Saturation III prove that artists can grow and get better. While All-American Trash is an album I’d recommend and play on my moodier days, Saturation III is an album for anytime, anyplace, and especially for newcomers to the Brockhampton fanclub.