JUNKY was released on August 15th, 2017–the tenth song on SATURATION II. The song tackles several social justice issues, with each of the vocalists featured in the song focusing on one specific topic. Though an eclectic collection of voices, sounds, and opinions, the song transcends its scattered nature to serve as an anthem for the many obstacles younger generations face.

Without going too deep into the detailed history of BROCKHAMPTON’s conception, an essential element of the groups identity is that they were founded on their mutual and individual nonconformance. This concept is something they value strongly, and it is reflected frequently in their lyrics and subject matter of their songs. “JUNKY” is emblematic of their identity as a group and the subjects they value—not many rappers or contemporary hip hop groups discuss at length the issues they do. In correspondence with the choice to habitually take on heavy topics, they have alienated certain markets, but established a very strong and loyal fan base.

Part of what sets BROCKHAMPTON apart from other groups, is the way they released their music. Their first three albums, SATURATION I, II, and III, were released at the same time—saturating the market. This is especially important to note because as they become more popular, their individual identities were not fully understood by the public just yet. Many people who enjoyed BROCKHAMPTON’s music did not realize that the founding member of the group, Kevin Abstract, was openly gay, and when they did, he was highly criticized for openly and repeatedly discussing sexuality in the groups music.

“JUNKY” opens abruptly with Kevin Abstract’s verse about being a gay rapper and the homophobia he has faced within his lifetime. Followed by Ameer Vann’s verse on mental health and drug addiction. The song then features a short verse by Merlyn Wood contemplating his decision to drop out of school and join the group. The final issue the song tackles is rape culture and modern relationships in Matt Champion’s verse.

Each of these topics are extremely culturally and politically relevant in 2017. This song was released a year into Donald Trump’s presidency. Following the 2016 election, America became especially divided. Though many younger generations have predominantly progressive views and gay marriage had become legal in all fifty states, Trump’s election seemed to incite bigotry towards seemingly all minority groups. Additionally, over the past few years there has been a huge effort to destigmatize mental illness. However, it is still not wholly understood by many and there is not enough being done politically to provide care for those with mental health conditions. Even though Merlyn Wood’s verse is comparatively short, it is emblematic for the millennial and generation Z experience—the pressure to choose a lucrative career path. The song also covers the taboo topic of rape and domestic abuse, which is not typically seen in rap songs. This also is especially poignant given the social and cultural climate of America in 2017. Just a year before the song was released, the country watched as one of the most publicized rape cases was brought to trial: the Brock Turner case. Additionally, Donald Trump’s various sexual harassment charges and “grab her by the pussy” scandal, and the #MeToo movement were all over the news and social media.