By: Tyler Chu, Entertainment Editor
Throughout 2017, hip hop fans have been served with some of the best music of the 21st century. From Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN to Joey Bada$$’s ALL AMERIKKKAN BADA$$, high quality hip hop is in abundance. Earlier this year, southern California hip hop collective BROCKHAMPTON contributed to this trend with SATURATION. SATURATION delivered a powerful variety of sounds from punk-like, aggressive shouting to introspective, somber poetry. The greatest feat of BROCKHAMPTON on this project was the production, as it was some of the most unique, interesting production the hip hop world had seen for a long time.
Because of this, the world was fairly stunned when BROCKHAPMTON released an arguably better sequel, SATURATION II on August 25, 2017. This project features the collective’s diverse members delivering their best over new, knacky instrumentals.
While most of the album’s lyrical themes are consistent with braggadocious rap, there are a few tracks like “JUNKY” that provide a glimpse into themes of sexual orientation and life in South Central L.A. I personally feel that the light sprinkling of “intelligent” tracks on this album is enough to give it lyrical diversity, but if you are a music fan that puts a lot of weight on lyrics, this might not be the project for you.
The crown and jewel of BROCKHAMPTON on this project is the production. The beats on this project blend classic g-funk stylings with eclectic cultural samples, and they are dynamic and outstanding. Not only are the beats phenomenal, the repeated use of pitched vocals creates an immense range of possibilities for the artists to explore. The post-production is just as good as the pre-production.
On songs like “SWAMP”, “JELLO”, and “SWEET”, Kevin Abstract gives some of the best hook and chorus writing I’ve heard. The hooks on this album are really what make each track unique and memorable. They’re groovy, they’re hard hitting, and they’re catchy. I’ve found myself constantly singing the hook from “SWEET” when I’ve been completing any menial task over the past few weeks.
Most of the album has an aggressive, gangster-like style, but towards the end of the album and in some of the interludes, the group creates an auto-tuned R&B soundscape. “GAMBA”, “SUNNY”, and “SUMMER” are all really laid back and deliver plenty of emotion. I would say that I don’t like this part of the album as much as the hardcore hip hop part, but I’m sure plenty of listeners would enjoy it.
Overall, SATURATION II is an immensely unique project from a promising collective. I love the production, I love the diversity, and I love that it’s the second good product that has come from the group this year. BROCKHAMPTON plans to release a third album in 2017, and I hope that it lives up to its predecessors.