SATURATION II

by BROCKHAMPTON

Released August 25, 2017 via Question Everything / EMPIRE

Reviewed August 17, 2022

Top tracks (based on community voting)
JUNKY (47%), GUMMY (43%), SUMMER (41%)

SATURATION II is the second project in a phenomenal trilogy. BROCKHAMPTON was ripping out music faster than anyone else in 2017, but their quality never suffered. All the members bring their own sound to the table and each song is unique and inventive. This is displayed when contrasting songs that are a little heavier, like "FIGHT," to more fun songs like "SWEET" and "JELLO." What keeps this group steady however, is their cornerstone in Kevin Abstract; this man has no limits, dishing out hook after hook for his boy band—with my favorite on here being "TOKYO." This album highlights each of the members well, but Matt Champion stands out with so many swaggy verses. "CHICK" is a perfect example, where Champion has the opening verse; he's so suave he misspeaks on purpose and it works. The only (very minor) downside about this project was the singles somewhat overshadowed the rest of the album. – Daniel (9.2/10)


To anyone in touch with BROCKHAMPTON, even the slightest, it’s already well-established that the group was nothing less than a bonafide cultural force in 2017. For BH themselves and for many of those who would immediately become fascinated with them, SATURATION II was what lit the fuse. Released at the tail end of August and about two months after the first installment, it became the go-to back-to-school record for the kids with headphones on the bus and the college freshmen (like me at the time) finding themselves in a whole new world. Casting an even wider net, it garnered much more traction with the blogs and music publications than their first album, furthering their goal of becoming “America’s favorite boyband.” And for a good while, they were absolutely that; and SATURATION II is not only a phenomenal record that still holds up five years later, but a joyous snapshot of their legendary run. SATURATION and its 17 tracks are a fantastic display of the collective’s talents, but its sequel is a significantly more refined showcase of how BROCKHAMPTON was more than just a group of talented individuals, but one that brought the best out of each other. The production—primarily handled by Romil Hemnani (with additional production by Jabari Manwa, Kiko Merley, Kevin Abstract, and JOBA)—is diverse enough to appease any listener, able to be aptly described as funky, slick, gritty, bouncy, jarring, soothing, or any combination of these all at once. There’s never a dull moment on that end, allowing each respective member to find their own place within the eclectic soundscapes of SAT II. With avenues for more serious and introspective outpourings (“TEETH” and JUNKY,” for example), as well as more carefree and mischievous posse cuts (i.e. “GUMMY” and “SWEET”), SATURATION II sees the group able to address topics such as homophobia in hip-hop, mental health, racism, and more, while still finding pockets of joy in their collective chemistry and individual stories. Few acts can throw this many ideas at the wall and have them stick, let alone see almost all of them knock down the wall piece by piece. Yet, BROCKHAMPTON does just that—with nearly every verse, every slight production touch, and posse cut after posse cut adding to the beauty of this record and the overall impact it would have on so many. – Dominick (9/10)


This was my first experience with BROCKHAMPTON, and if you haven’t spent time with them yet, it should be yours, too. II captures the same themes and continues the story of I, but veers toward more professional mixing and gathers its styles more cohesively. “GAMBA” could sit comfortably somewhere on I if it wasn’t for the cleaner presentation of its fluid synths contrasted by its raspy, stilted screams. From this track alone we can see that II maintains a more equal balance of experimenting with pop-rap and stepping outside the boyband’s personal sonic boundaries. There are generally more lavish timbres dotted throughout, such as the opening strings of “GUMMY” or the Indian Classical loops on “SWEET.” Both of these are excellent posse cuts, too, though they differ from those on SATURATION in that members bounce off each other a little less to focus on themselves, unless verses parallel thematically. “FIGHT” intentionally places Ameer’s and Dom’s relationships with race during their past and present, respectively, beside each other, while Kevin questions his future. This album is a bit of an abrupt turn in a technical sense, but aesthetically it’s largely the same as its predecessor. SATURATION II’s differences connect its prequel and sequel through some of the collective’s best material. However, its ambition—while not quantifiably weaker—is ostensibly different, and for that I think it's easier to parse the contrasting identities of I and II than those of II and III. – Cam (8/10)


Hadley: 9.5/10 | Daniel: 9.2/10 | Dominick: 9/10 | Pax: 8.1/10 | Cam: 8/10

DeVán: 8/10 | Jared: 8/10 | Ben (Synth): 7/10 | Jacques: 7/10

 
Community Reviews:

This (and the SATURATION series as a whole) holds such a specific place in music within this past decade. BROCKHAMPTON rolled out three very similar albums within months of each other and the music only grew MORE exciting along the way. This album isn’t an evolution past the first Saturation, but it somehow doesn’t feel like a stale rehash of the original. BROCKHAMPTON might’ve used the same formula to Saturation’s success here, but it’s a damn good formula. – @cooperharterr (9/10)

BROCKHAMPTON's most melodic record. – @oscaralevj (9/10)

BROCKHAMPTON'S SATURATION trilogy was a cultural statement. This boy band formed through Kanye West fan forums exploded in the latter years of the 2010s and very quickly achieved cult status. Many may consider SATURATION II the crown jewel of the trilogy and for good reason; the group's dynamism and energy shines through in abundance, with nearly every song feeling like a roller coaster each filled to the brim with unique, groundbreaking production. The writing is solid too, all coming from a position of boastfulness riding off the success of their debut LP. However, times of brutal honesty pop up throughout and allow the listener to connect to various members of the group. The track list has some songs that don't pop out, but overall, it is a remarkable record. – @tylerwilliam.s (8.8/10)

This album had bangers followed by bangers and it was so unique for its time. – @alex.hutchinson.rare (8.5/10)