MellowHype 'still have yet to mature fully'
Wednesday marked the release of the third studio album by the alternative hip hop duo MellowHype and "Numbers" is the first album by OFWGKTA rapper/producer Vyron "Left Brain" Turner and rapper Gerard "Hodgy Beats" Long to be published on the Odd Future Record label.
Pushed back to coincide with the release of "119" by punk/grunge labelmates Trash Talk, "Numbers" was heavily promoted by Odd Future's founder Tyler, the Creator on social networks and alternative venues. A self-made rap collective based out of Los Angeles, Odd Future (short for Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, stylized OFWGK†Δ) has a reputation for a very amateur sound and a diverse collection of sub-projects, including R&B artist Frank Ocean, as well as the production of the "Loiter Squad" miniseries on Adult Swim.
Much of the album takes advantage of syncopated rhythm, starting with the first track "Grill." The beat makes ironic use of action movie sound effects, yet the song is intended to introduce Left Brain and Hodgy Beats and their love of smoking ("correlate, circulate, percolate, a work of fate, for me there's no surrogate"). Following up in the third track, "Astro," Frank Ocean provides a memorable hook that lyricizes the youthful Odd Future mentality: "Think I'm-a wear the yellow tux at the Grammy's...who gives a flying floating f**k what people say, or think," criticizing the lack of humor and serious nature of the contemporary music industry.
"La Bonita" is a cat-call to a Latina of unknown origin, a three-minute competition between Left Brain and Hodgy as they attempt to impress her with their raps; though thematically simple, the track is delightfully funny as the pair try to outdo each other in ego and lyrics - "It's ridiculous, how promiscuous, she looks delicious, put her name on my hit-it list" is one of Hodgy's best lines.
Easily the dominant track on the album, "Monster" is classic Odd Future in every way: offensive, vulgar, full of trivia, highly sexualized, and full of references to OFWGKTA - and they pull it off beautifully. However, tracks like "P2" (the only track to feature OF member Earl Sweatshirt) and several other tracks on that album are simply average; they don't impress, but they aren't necessarily bad. "Snare" and "Leflair" follow in this vein, and might have a hard time finding a home with non-fans; this being said, the only truly weak track is "Beat," where even the hardcore "Golf Wang" folk will find themselves bored.
Some tracks, such as "Untitled L" and "65/Breakfast," try far too hard to impress with backing beats, distracting the listener from the rap (which isn't terribly creative, so not much is lost). In "NFWGJDSH," Hodgy Beats goes completely solo, again emphasizing his love of marijuana - this time as a means of coping with hatred. He raps that he "ain't steady hating on another sucka," but instead gets high and takes care of his own family, never forgetting "that Wolf Gang clan camp." Though MellowHype has come a long way since the release of "BlackenedWhite" in 2010, the album isn't quite at the level of Tyler, the Creator, and the pair still have yet to mature fully beyond their hipster-hop roots.
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