Album Review: SATURATION – BROCKHAMPTON (2017 LP)

Have you ever moved in with fifteen of your friends to start a rap group and inadvertently created one of the best and most unique rap albums of all time? Have you ever written and produced said album in a matter of weeks? Have you ever taken the rap world by storm, gathering comparisons to other rap groups like Odd Future? You might be a member of upcoming rap outfit BROCKHAMPTON.

The group, featuring rapper Kevin Abstract, has gripped the rap game by the balls and refuses to let go. There really isn’t any album that sounds anything like SATURATION. The variety of tracks available make the debut album captivating and even highly relatable at certain times. Kevin Abstract has been more than vocal about his sexuality on the majority of his singles career and certain tracks on SATURATION are no different. Various songs on the album have themes of feeling left out and struggling, which is what Kevin may have faced over the course of his life. This is just one of many themes that BROCKHAMPTON incorporated into their wondrously effervescent project.

Four of the five hype creating singles, “HEAT”, “GOLD”, “STAR” and “BOYS” initiate themselves as the first four songs on the album with all four being completely different in practise. “HEAT” is dense and hard-hitting, while “GOLD” is poppy and funky. “STAR”, the best song on the album, is a fast paced track filled with pop culture references, while “BOYS” is…well kind of about nothing. “2PAC” acts as a short interlude between the four explosive first tracks and the two calm tracks that follow, “FAKE” and “BANK”. “FAKE” is one of the most acclaimed songs on SATURATION, and for good reason. The catchy, memorable hook combined with great flows on the verses from Ameer Vann, Dom McLennon and Merlyn Wood and a powerful message of the music industry stifling their creativity equates to an enjoyable track. “BANK”, arguably the worst track on the album, is still a great track. What makes it the worst is the kind of annoying chorus but the verses and rhyme scheme on this track tips the score back up.

“TRIP” is one of, if not the, most unique tracks on the album. The heavily autotuned voices of Abstract, Vann and McLennon is a blessing, as autotune can sound tedious and overdone at times. Luckily, the autotune has been done to perfection on “TRIP”. This is again a track about self-acceptance, akin to “STAR”. “SWIM”’s appeal comes from its corny love song staples and emotional delivery and lyrics from Merlyn and McLennon. Immediately following the emotional love ballad is the powerful and abrasive “BUMP”. Ameer Vann came in hard on his verse, putting his name in the ballot for best rapper of the group. BROCKHAMPTON get political with the track “CASH”, seeing four politically charged verses about being black, and in Kevin’s case, being gay.

The final three songs are all slow and floaty, which helps to ease the listener out of the incredible journey they’ve just experienced. Another self-acceptance track, “MILK”, sees Merlyn, Vann, McLennon and Kevin all get existential. The song talks about the artists needs to start improving their lives by looking to grow up, in a way. “FACE”, the fifth single, is another lovey dovey track with heavenly vocals. Finally, “WASTE” wraps up the entire album in a nice little bow while simultaneously drawing the message of self-appreciation and acceptance to a close. The three skits, aptly named “SKIT 1”, “SKIT 2” and “SKIT 3”, detail a man named Roberto who isn’t actually a member of BROCKHAMPTON.

Instead, he destroys a house so as to get noticed (“SKIT 1”). When that doesn’t work, he claims that no one would remember him if he killed himself that day(“SKIT 2”). He confides in another person about how he feels, but the person brushes him off (“SKIT 3”). These three skits work into the album perfectly, as they tie into the theme of self-acceptance. Roberto doesn’t feel like he belongs anywhere and therefore can’t accept himself. This represents each member of BROCKHAMPTON in some way or another, E.G. Kevin Abstract’s struggles as a homosexual black man.

What truly inspires me about this album is that BROCKHAMPTON accept Kevin for who he is and they allow him to spit openly gay lines on their songs. The project has all of their names on it and they’re okay with accepting Kevin for who he is and letting him do his thing. That’s the real aspect of this album, acceptance. Not only did BROCKHAMPTON create a perfect message of equality, but they simultaneously innovated the most creative and musically solid album of the year so far.

Review Score: 9.6 out of 10 

SATURATION is out now.