It was back in 2012 when high school friends, Ian Simpson (AKA Kevin Abstract) and Ameer Vann, formed BROCKHAMPTON. Since then they’ve grown into an expansive rap collective, releasing their first mixtape in 2016, and their first album, SATURATION, just a few months ago. After a string of overwhelmingly positive reviews, BROCKHAMPTON is embracing the momentum of success with the release of their newest album, SATURATION II.
“GUMMY” starts the album off with an effervescent orchestral interlude, a siren blares, and then the real BROCKHAMPTON comes out. The overall delivery of lyrics is rather aggressive, and that same style is carried on throughout many other songs, giving all their lines a strong and effective sound. Featuring some of the collective’s strongest members, such as Abstract, Vann, Merlyn Wood, and Dom McLennon, this track gives the album a strong and diverse foundation. Not only does the song bump, but it’s video features the BROCKHAMPTON crew cruising around in Los Angeles after a heist, where they were lucky enough to make off with an alpaca named Mr. Snuffleupagus.
On “JELLO”, Abstract raps “Met all my friends through Kanye West, And I ain’t met him yet”, referencing the website, KanyeToThe.com, where he first met many of BROCKHAMPTON’s members on discussion boards. Also heard in the track is Abstract and Vann speaking of the groups move from Texas to their current house in Van Nuys, deeming it the ‘Brockhampton Factory’. A simple and effective chorus, appearances by five members, and a slew of instruments and samples running around in the back, “JELLO” exemplifies the raw talent found in BROCKHAMPTON.
SATURATION II isn’t all just jams however, tracks like “FIGHT” and “QUEER” address social and racial issues in the eyes of the young American. These aren’t just songs, they’re a translation of everyday life into sound.
It’s already shocking that BROCKHAMPTON was able to release this opus just 77 days after their previous album, but they managed to work in 4 music videos for it as well. “GUMMY”, “JUNKY”, “SWEET”, and “SWAMP” all have their own video, and while each one is different from each other, they all feature member Robert Ontenient giving introductions in Spanish. The seductively suave Spanish speaking is carried on from the videos into the tracks “SCENE”, and “SCENE 2”.
“SUNNY” and “SUMMER” give a strong closure to the album. “SUNNY” has a mellower tone than many other songs on this album due to its graceful guitar backing. “SUMMER” offsets the overall sound of the album even further with a relaxing piano ballad. It’s a solo track sung by member Ciaràn ‘bearface’ McDonald, he pours it all out in a somber tone, invoking more emotion than possibly any other track done by the group. This song has been hanging around for quite some time now, making its first appearance in Kevin Abstract’s “Empty” music video, however its placement on SATURATION II is well suited.
The album has an outstanding production value thanks to the skill of Kevin Abstract, who served as executive producer. Each track stands out as its own distinct achievement, but have a weave together easily as a strong whole as well. One of the few drawbacks to this album, Ameer Vann doesn’t embrace the novelty of drug references in his lines as much, but with his great delivery, it’s pretty hard to complain about. BROCKHAMPTON is an absolute powerhouse right now, with each release better than the last. SATURATION III will be out soon, with its first single, “FOLLOW”, already released.
SATURATION II is a triumphant moment for BROCKHAMPTON. As a sequel to SATURATION, it goes above and beyond, making it easily their best work yet. The album keeps a diverse repertoire of sounds to keep it fresh, and still gives great value past the first couple of play-throughs. The lyrics stay simple and to the point, BROCKHAMPTON expresses who they are, and are not trying to play it off as anything more. Verses from members are carefully placed to keep a varied sound in the tracks. It goes from fast to slow, high to low, but there is never a dull moment. SATURATION II is a complex conglomerate that is upgraded with every member’s work, encapsulating the essence of a Hip-Hop collective.