There’s something about Mike G’s rapping style that is completely hypnotic. I can’t really figure it out, but almost everything you hear him on, he commands the flow of the track quickly and bounces along it with incredible ease. It’s quite unique in terms of his sheer synchronicity with any production he’s met with, and whilst that might turn some people off, I find it fun listening.
This is as good an example of his rap style as you could ask for. The production itself is pretty easygoing and slow-moving, plodding along with sharp clicks, chunky bass and mesmerising, eastern-influenced string plucks, and generally isn’t too active or in-your-face. That laidback style can often result in quite dour, boring tracks, but again it’s Mike G’s cool, laidback delivery that elevates the track, synergising effortlessly with the production’s tempo to fill out the soundscape’s gaps. His lyrical work is generally consistent and here is no different, with a mix of braggadocios raps and punchlines throughout, whilst Left Brain’s dulcet tones make for a good slice of tonal variety.
All-round, it’s a pretty enjoyable hip-hop jam with a good chillout sensibility, and is one of those that will quietly rack up a bunch of plays in your library. Mike Check Vol. 2 coming soon.
Hodgy’s Untitled 2 EP was a generally strong project, and this effort certainly stood out as a favourite for many.
It’s one of those that somehow strikes that difficult middle ground between upbeat and laidback, throwing forth a production with elements of both styles, and sliding it underneath verses that pack plenty of energy in, and mellow, easygoing verses. Left Brain’s dulcet tones make for a good blend with the production too, working in contrast to Hodgy’s high-pitched verses to cool the song off a little. It’s a solid hybrid sound throughout, and one that makes for very versatile listening- hence, it’ll endure beyond a few lazy sunny day plays.
The video works more with the laidback elements, featuring Hodgy smoking, walking and just hanging around a pool/house party, along with a couple of cameos from his Odd Future cohorts. Nothing massively notable, but a bit of fun and a good fit with the relatively light-hearted audio. Available on the EP linked above.
Don’t forget about Hodgy. It’s been a while since we saw a solo release from the oft-overlooked MC, and after recent releases from pretty much everyone else in the OFWGKTA camp, Hodgy returns with the sequel to his enjoyable EP of early 2012.
Having been busy working as part of MellowHype and providing guest spots for a range of acts across several genres in the last 12 months, it’s good to get 7 new tracks from Hodgy here. As with several members of the Odd Future clan, he often gets unfairly tarred with the ‘shock value’ tag, which couldn’t be further from the truth; he’s an accomplished rapper in a ‘regular’ format, and so much so that his as-yet unreleased collaboration with Nas was widely expected to feature on Life Is Good. Of course, his own material stands up to scrutiny too, and hence I’m looking forward to adding this one to the library- you can stream it here or download it below.
Wolf lands officially tomorrow, and for those of you who’ve avoided any leaks and such, you can check out the entire 18-track LP here. From a very brief listen to a few of the tracks, there’s a marked maturity in his music, and in keeping with the two previously-released tracks, the dichotomy of Tyler’s chaotic and introspective sides are represented well. The maturity comes in the form of the weighting-it seems as though the album’s highlight tracks (and those said by Tyler to be his favourites) lean more toward the reflective side of his work, and there’s no doubt he’s delivered well on that front in that past.
Features include Pharrell, Frank Ocean, Erykah Badu, Coco O of Quadron, Casey Veggies, Earl Sweatshirt and a handful more of the Odd Future clan. Plenty of promise, and you can preview the LP below before making your purchase decision tomorrow.
This one seemingly evaded me last week, which is surprising considering its one of the better tracks on MH’s recent Numbers album.
It’s a short one, coming in at 1:41, but the relaxing and atmospheric production served up by Left Brain is without question one of his strongest beats to date, whilst Hodgy’s contribution fits in with the instrumental superbly at times. His raps are generally well-suited, with a couple of thoughtful and near-philosophical lines, though the somewhat obligatory bragger lines do feel a little out of place. Nonetheless, generally the synergy between Left’s production and Hodgy’s work is likeable.
The video’s a little unusual, and yet works with the audio in an almost hypnotic, mesmerising fashion. It’s mostly sports oriented, as the duo play with various balls (calm down), but the slow pacing and misty filter combine to actually make the video seem significantly longer than it actually is. Assuming its intentional, it creates the unique illusion of extending the track. Give this a watch and I’m fairly sure you’ll watch it at least one more time: I think it may have brainwashed me.
Left Brain and Hodgy Beats are gearing up to release their Numbers album tomorrow (I can’t wait to finally get 65!), and the releases we’ve had from them in recent weeks have generally shown a much firmer grasp of the hip-hop genre and a move away from the Odd Future typecast.
Whilst many of the aformentioned leaks aren’t on the album, this one is actually the LP’s opener and sets up the album nicely. The production and raps have a quirky off-beat nature, making the listener focus a little more on the particulars of the track, whether its the lyrics or the deft production touches. That production is rather complex too, with an experimental set of melodies and samples underpinned by a slow-moving, thudding percussion that holds everything together well, whilst Hodgy’s raps are deliver in a watertight, speedy flow that suits him down to the ground. A good intro track, and be sure to support OFWGKTA with that album release tomorrow.
Late last week, MellowHype’s ‘MellowHype Week’ really kicked into overdrive as they let loose of several tracks. You can pick most of them up over at the Odd Future site, though the track here is arguably the highlight of the bunch.
Left Brain serves up a thumping production, stripping away his usual experimental touches for a thick percussion with chunky bass that pounds along at a slow pace. That simplicity gives the track a much wider appeal, not least because it takes Hodgy’s raps into a territory of hip-hop that’ll give him great exposure to the more ‘hardcore’ hip-hop heads. The rhymes are fairly solid throughout, and much like the percussion, they have a back-to-basics style that combines with the beat to create a track with plenty of replayability. Hopefully, there’s more of this to come.
MellowHype’s Numbers album is only a few weeks away, and whilst I was only really initially interested to hear the studio version of 65, each release they’ve put out from the album so far has really demonstrated the diversity they’re capable of.
LeftBrain’s work on the boards here is excellent, packaging a heavy bassline up with extremely light, airy melodies for a contrast that works well to cover a lot of ground in terms of production style. Hodgy’s got a lot of work to work a production with that sort of variety and he does a decent enough job with the raps, once again scaling back from the shock tactics style he’d been pigeonholed as, instead providing neat and clear raps that aren’t massively intricate lyrically, but importantly they’re delivered in a set of watertight flows (particularly in the first verse) that make for great listening. The album’s released on 9th October, and it’s all set to be one of the better projects from the Odd Future clan.
This extended version is considerably improved on the original, which was a little too brief to make a full judgement on. That’s in no small part thanks to the excellent closing verse from Hodgy, who displays the kind of versatility that gives both this track and himself a great chance of cracking into more mainstream consciousness.
It’s another departure from the shock tactics style the OFWGKTA clan were (arguably, unfairly) branded as initially, and the video also reflects that by mostly staying true to the vibe of the track. It’s filmed at an easy pace, with most of the focus on the performers and a little eye candy, whilst the somewhat tribal theme and monochrome styling adds a little more variety to keep it different enough from a ‘regular’ hip-hop video. A cool, laidback listen and a decent watch, and with Numbers dropping on 9th October, and let’s see how they follow this up.
Hodgy Beats is in danger of becoming a seriously overlooked rapper. His Untitled EP from earlier this year was a great demonstration of what he can do outside of the ‘eccentric’ Odd Future style, and this is another example of the skills he possesses as a rapper. Props to Left Brain too, who serves up a good production here.
Hodgy moves in and out of a series of flows, mostly bringing a high speed delivery that sits alongside his best deliveries to date, even moving his raps offbeat at several points and making it work, in an almost Big Boi-esque manner. Left Brain’s production is an experimental one, keeping the percussion muted yet sharp, relying more on a trippy set of sounds that add an uneasy, almost ominous atmosphere to the track and really offers Hodgy a challenge. A strong hip-hop track that’s up there with MellowHype’s best work.