Not even three months after they broke the internet with Saturation, the internet’s favourite boy band, Brockhampton, are back with the sequel, Saturation II. Similarly to their debut, they teased fans with four singles prior to the release which somehow managed to be better than the previous album’s singles. If that wasn’t enough though, they surprised everyone when they dropped “FOLLOW”, the first single from Saturation III, before the second album even came out.
With this now being a trilogy, the big question is will the sophomore effort be a Matrix Reloaded or an Empire Strikes Back? While it’s missing the Tauntaun sleeping bag, it is safe to say it achieved the latter, debatably surpassing the original.
As expected, the emceeing is fantastic with certain members really stepping up the plate. Matt Champion shows significant improvement here, delivering sticky flows and memorable verses on every track, namely “CHICK” and “JUNKY”. He even channels his low key charisma and I-just-woke-up cadence onto a couple fantastic hooks on “SWAMP” and “QUEER.”
Dom McLennon is absolutely deadly on the mic, delivering verses that are full of quotable bars with a variety of flows, from his Migos triplet flow on “TOKYO” to his satanic, head spinning delivery on the backend of “JUNKY.” One of his best lines is found at the end of his verse on “CHICK,” where he says “I took the zoom off my lens and saw the world in my lap.”
Merlyn Wood’s Young Thug-esque verses were one of the best parts of the last album, but his presence here is a lot more limited. While he may not be as technically skilled an emcee as others members, his unique style and massive voice demand your attention. His verse on “SWEET” is a real standout because if it was delivered by anyone other than him it would sound terrible, but his undeniable charisma carries it to the finish.
It seems Ameer Vann can do no wrong because every one of his verses is stellar and very often the best on the track. While others rely on flashy flows and animated inflections, Ameer opts for simple, tough as nails verses characterized by grimy drug dealing tales. One of his best verses is on “TEETH” where his anger and sheer aggression come through in a way like never before.
Kevin Abstract, the crew’s leader, doesn’t have many verses, but the ones he does have are fantastic, like his eerie opener on the albums best song, “JUNKY”. His focus is more on creating fantastic hooks that bury themselves deep in your ear, like the hook on “JUNKY”. Kevin makes it sound like a UGK sample when in reality he is just down shifting the pitch and looping his vocals, a trick he uses on many other tracks. Many of Kevin’s most infectious hooks have a very apparent M.I.A. influence, like on “GUMMY” or “CHICK”.
JOBA became a definite fan favourite after his vocal performances on Saturation so his presence here is appropriately increased. While his appearances on the previous album were his soft and serene singing, this time around he adds more of hip hop element to his verses on “SWAMP” and “SWEET”. His performance on “SWAMP” is a tad cringy, but he really steps up the plate with his verse on “SWEET” which is quite reminiscent of Kendrick Lamar’s performance on Travis Scott’s “Goosebumps”. JOBA also contributes his normal sung vocals as well, giving a great opening performance on “TOKYO”. Apart from vocals, he serves as the group’s engineer and assists in production.
Other than JOBA, production is assisted by Q3, Kevin Abstract, and bearface., but the majority of it is handled by Romil Hemnani. He does a phenomenal job with the instrumentals here and is honestly one the best producers in working today. The Beastie Boys flavored “QUEER” is a real standout instrumental and so is the neo spaghetti western “FIGHT”.
The last few tracks bring an increased presence from Brockhampton’s most mysterious member bearface., who up to that point had only appeared on “JESUS”. He blesses “GAMBA” and “SUNNY” with his gorgeous vocals and co-produces the latter with Romil. Just like Saturation, the closing track, “SUMMER”, is a bearface. ballad which he also handles production on. While his vocals are a high point of the album it would be nice if they tried to incorporate him more fluidly throughout the album because as of know he feels like this distant, auxiliary member. Maybe that was intentional though, considering he is from Ireland whereas most of his bandmates are from Texas.
Saturation II hits many of the same notes as its predecessor, but like all sequels, there is a clear attempt to make it bigger and louder. The rapping based tracks take much more priority here and the auto-tune tracks that made Saturation so great are noticeably absent. The only one on the album is “GAMBA”, and while not a bad song, it pales in comparison to “TRIP” and “SWIM”. That being said, this is a fantastic project that rivals Saturation for rap album of the year. Hopefully, the boys continue their hot streak when Saturation III drops in the coming months.
(Featured Image: Saturation II, Question Everything Inc. & Empire Distribution)