BROCKHAMPTON is a very unique group - per their partial founding on the forum KanyeToThe which has lead to their description as "the Internet's first boy band". With their dense, uniquely sampled track compositions and intensely varied vocal styles within the group, it's rare that I don't end up with my head nodding as I pace through their albums.
Although their member list is long and has morphed over time, the main contributors to this, most recent album are Kevin Abstract, Ameer Vann, Merlyn Wood, Dom McLennon, Matt Champion and Russell "JOBA" Boring. Production was primarily handled by Romil Hemnani and Q3, a production duo consisting of Kiko Merley and Jabari Manwarring.
I would be remiss not to mention at the outset the sheer velocity of this group. SATURATION came out in June of this year, with SATURATION II coming later, in August. Both are full length albums. Additionally, Abstract has said that they intend to release SATURATION III in December. This constitutes 3 full length, (and if all holds constant) great albums in one calendar year, which is nigh unrivaled in the hip-hop community today.
Moving into the actual review, I'd like to start at the highest level - enjoyment. I'm a big fan of almost every track on this album, and I think that, somewhat uniquely, most every element of this album could have held up as a single. The sampling style is derivative of much of classic hip-hop, but introduced are many elements that are significantly more modern. I'm a particularly big fan of the switch within the first 30 seconds of the intro track, "GUMMY". They exploit a similar technique at the outset of the track, "TOKYO," later on in the album, and in the middle of "JUNKY," later yet. These sort of stylistic swaps always keep me engaged in listening, even when I might be better served focusing on something other than what's in my ears.
Something that I find especially adds to my special perception of this album, and most of BROCKHAMPTON's work are the skits, stylized as SCENEs. Both of the skits on this album are fully in Spanish, the first one translating to a sort-of love letter to the speaker's perceived lost love. I'll admit that my Spanish is no where near good enough to have gleaned that just by listening, but I feel that that level of depth adds to the atmosphere of the album.
I think the most important track on the album, which I understand is an odd designation, is "JUNKY". In a music landscape where we more and more frequently see hip-hop artists and groups being accused of sexual harassment and assault, I find it refreshing to see two things from this track - a vehement opposition to sexual assault, very directly. In the latter part of the song, Matt Champion lays verses over a very hard-hitting beat about recognizing women as people in their own right, and respecting consent. Earlier, in the song, Kevin Abstract proudly brings up that he raps so commonly about his sexuality, "'Cause not enough niggas rap and be gay". He brings up that he struggled through an early life where his sexuality was a threat to his existence, very tangibly.
This is the crux of why I like this album for more than just how hard it slaps, excuse the slang. Within an album full of great tracks, the group finds time and space to address real, common issues of today. They keep their music pervasively relevant, while innovating their production and bringing in very modern and sometimes experimental musical techniques. Definite 9/10.