“Saturation 2” excuses oversaturation of BROCKHAMPTON
Rap Collective’s follow-up just as good as its predecessor
Album: “Saturation 2”
Label: Question Everything Inc./Empire Distribution
Release Date: Aug. 25
Buzz-worthy new groups with critically acclaimed projects aren’t unheard of in 2017.
When that same group releases an equally substantial follow-up two months later, it certainly is unheard of.
BROCKHAMPTON took the world -- mainly the internet -- by storm this June with the release of their debut album and sophomore project, “Saturation.” Music videos, singles and merchandise were gifted to fans in such a short period of time and the gifts kept giving after the album’s drop.
One of those gifts is BROCKHAMPTON’s latest follow-up project.
“Saturation 2” supplies listeners with exactly what they expect from a sequel. Honest lyricism, witty wordplay and memorable production create a youthful and inviting atmosphere for fans.
The album’s opener, “GUMMY” sets the standard high for the rest of the project.
The song’s orchestral introduction gives listeners the impression that they’re about to hear selections from a classic Disney film. That couldn’t be any further from the truth.
“GUMMY” fuses a head-bopping trap beat with a memorable chorus performed by rapper Kevin Abstract.
Abstract delivers another infectious hook on “SWEET,” one of the best cuts off “Saturation 2.”
The rapper’s delivery is smooth beyond comparison and his high-pitched backing vocals give the hook a greater sense of unity.
Group-member JOBA’s verse on the track is one of the album’s highlights, as well. The rapper brings up the pressure of doing well in school and moving forward into higher education. Despite the rapper’s struggles, he still managed to pave his own way and follow his aspirations to be like a noodle-haired Justin Timberlake.
In “TOKYO,” JOBA discusses obstacles he has faced while “living in the moment” at the same time. The rapper mentions waking up to regret and worries about deadlines on the song.
JOBA isn’t the only honest lyricist in BROCKHAMPTON, however.
Throughout “Saturation 2,” Kevin Abstract proves himself to be more than a man of catchy choruses. The Texas native is very open about his sexuality, using his verses to also lace tracks with sincerity.
“JUNKY” is a prime example of the rapper’s genuine rhymes. In his opening verse, Abstract addresses why he raps about homosexuality. The rapper also mentions the lack of acceptance from his mother regarding his sexuality.
This openness is a reoccurring theme throughout “Saturation 2.” In some cases, the group takes a break from their personal problems and touches on societal issues.
Ameer Vann takes this to a new level on “FIGHT,” discussing the racism and hardships he faced growing up as a black boy.
Vann spits his heart out over some smooth sitar and says the men he looked up to were poor influences and mentions his father’s violent nature. He goes on to talk about his introduction to racism as a child.
“I was born with a target, and it stuck to my skin,” Vann raps during the most hard-hitting verse of the album.
Later, on “SUNNY,” Vann mentions his father again. This time, he brings up how his dad called him when he saw him “on a video.” The message is backed by a soothing guitar lick and light xylophone playing. This track is a nostalgic touch to an emotionally packed record and serves as a way to pinpoint the contrast of the album.
“SUMMER” is the final song off “Saturation 2.” Group-member Bear//Face sings the entirety of the song, just like “WASTE” on “Saturation.” Both tracks serve as the last of each album, proving that, although a bit sporadic-sounding, “Saturation 2” has a formula.
The only real setback in the track list is “GAMBA.” The song features a groovy bridge from Bear//Face but its lackluster verses and overly-repetitive chorus make it a throw-away track compared to the rest of the near-perfect record.
BROCKHAMPTON tries to replicate “Saturation” to the best of their ability and do so wonderfully.
“Saturation 2” is just the type of album to expect from a young, relevant and lyrically honest rap collective like BROCKHAMPTON. They touch on matters of concern to them, and do so with grace, flow and a genuine approach.
This may be the first time many of us experience BROCKHAMPTON but “Saturation 2” is said to only be the second installment in a trilogy of records. If that’s the case, this won’t be the last we’ll be hearing from the self-proclaimed “Southside One Direction.”
Let’s hope this next one only takes two months, too.
Brenton J. Blanchet is the assistant arts editor and can be reached at email@example.com.