Mellowhype – Blackenedwhite
Release Date: July 12, 2011
Record Label: Fat Possum
One could argue that over the past year or so, Los Angeles hip-hop collective Odd Future Wolfgang Kill Them All (OFWGKTA) has given the hip-hop world the swift kick-in-the-ass that has been long overdue. Their mercurial rise from blogs to Billboard Magazine covers has had everyone in the industry talking, mostly about group leader, Tyler, The Creator. His second release, this past May's Goblin, was the first commercial release from Odd Future, bringing with it critical acclaim and controversy. But while the mainstream continues to try to figure out Tyler, another Odd Future offshoot has released the crew's second commercial album.
For those who've been following Odd Future since the beginning, Mellowhype (which consists of rapper Hodgy Beats and producer Left Brain) is nothing new. But for those late to the game, let me introduce the anti-Tyler. Blackenedwhite was first released as a free download in 2010, but thanks to Fat Possum, it has been re-mastered and trimmed down, cutting off five tracks from the original release and adding two new ones. While Goblin is a slow, 75-minute mental breakdown of Tyler, Blackenedwhite is a brisk, crisp, and energetic hip-hop record, clocking in at barely 30 minutes.
While the lo-fi spirit is present, Left Brain's beats are hardly stagnant. “Primo” opens up with woozy synths that slowly transform into a chopped and screwed sludge. “Gunsounds” is explosive, creating the perfect canvas for Hodgy's boasts. The glitchy “Brain” swells with dark keys throughout, while the grimy “64” slowly worms its way into your membrane. Left Brain shows off his versatility with “Deaddeputy,” spinning together a glossy beat that could easily be played in the club.
The sharp pace of Blackenedwhite works more to Hodgy's advantage, as his airtight rhymes pack more punch in short bursts. Although he lacks Tyler's deep growl or Earl Sweatshirt's clever wordplay, Hodgy more than makes up for that with his volatile and animated flow. Take “Igotagun” for example. Hodgy spits out bars that other Odd Future members could never dream of doing. Rather than obsessing over rape, mutilation, and murder, Hodgy Beats focuses more on traditional rap indulgences, such as weed and gunplay. Both styles collide on “F666 the Police,” as Hodgy and Tyler tear through a police unit over a ferocious beat. The tone makes a complete 180 on “Rico.” Aided by the smooth chorus courtesy of Frank Ocean, Hodgy starts off the track with “I'm thankful for my position I was given in life/'Cause I know some people livin' who ain't livin' this life.” It's just another twist aboard the ride that is Blackenedwhite.
Blackenedwhite is by far the most accessible Odd Future release to date, while still remaining incredibly bizarre and unique. It's a hip-hop album that stays even-keel throughout, leaving you with something that's easy to bop to in the car while not filling yourself with hate and anger like Tyler's Goblin. Mellowhype's Blackenedwhite is another strong album from the Odd Future pack, showcasing yet another musical aspect that makes it harder for critics to pigeonhole the collective.
Great review Drew. I honestly think Mellowhype will do better than any other part of OF in the long run (incl Tyler), especially if OF's hype fades. Excited to hear their next album coming out this year.
This album should have a 10 in lasting value because it is always relevant on Halloween. Too bad they could not include Gram. Also Goblin is not his debut album, but his major label debut and his sophomore album. Might wanna change that.
Goblin is his second album, Bastard is his first .. i know most people who are reading this review will know that, but the way it is worded in the review makes it come off like Goblin is Tyler's first record.
A lot of people have had this CD for a while so coming from a person who has had it for a long time, I think it still stands as a great CD. Sucks that they took out Chordaroy, but they didn't have permission to use Earl's vocals.
I don't know what that means. However, I listened to 'Tyler, the creator' and I found the beats, his voice, and his lyrics quite terrible. They all have clownish names (and a stupid hipster acronym that keeps them underground and cool) and they have a rabid cult following. Hence the comparison to another bunch of clowns who think they're deep and talented.