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.
This just became my new favourite song. Expect a biased review.
When reviewing their release last week, I mentioned that their new material is expected to be closer to their live performances than their previous work, and hence fans may require adjustment. Whilst that holds true, this track lands in a perfect medium between their atmospheric sound on Purple Naked Ladies and the livelier sound they’re now going for, and requires no adjustment to appreciate. The production combines gentle melodies and easygoing percussion for a smooth sound that simply oozes cool from start to finish, whilst also adding a little funk courtesy of the bouncy bass and crisp lead guitar on the hook. Syd’s vocals are excellent again, moving from a delicate yet emotional delivery in the verses through to an incredibly catchy and mellow chorus that’ll rattle around your brain for weeks.
The video is an easygoing one, featuring the band performing the track in minimal surroundings, filtered through a monchrome style, and making for an uncomplicated accompaniment to the track. Look out for a Chad Hugo cameo- not out of context either, as he’s contributed to the production on the new LP. If you’re of eclectic tastes, it’s the type of track you’ll constantly go back to as safe, fallback listening in a few months when you’re not sure what to listen to- until then, it’s a fantastically smooth jam that I’ll play to death, and has hugely upped expectations for Feel Good.
The duo have announced their Feel Good album will land on 24th September, and if it’s anywhere near as good as Purple Naked Ladies (and its bonus tracks EP), it’ll be a thoroughly excellent project. They’ve mentioned that the new album will be more representative of their live performances, and hence I’d expect it to be a little less synthy and atmospheric, and a touch sharper and more upbeat- not bad changes at all, and a sideways move that should still allow their inherent mellow qualities to shine through.
The original Partners In Crime remains one of my absolute favourites from their back catalogue, and its sequel is a clear representation of that stylistic switch. They’ve retained some small vocal portions from the original, creating a nice bridge between the two parts, whilst backing it with crisp, lively percussion and a jazzy set of melodies that both enhance the upbeat qualities and add in more relaxing elements. It’s a good backdrop, and one that both contrasts and works with Syd’s wonderfully smooth vocals to good effect. Truthfully, if you’re a fan of the original, it’ll take a lot of getting used to as all of the synth-driven night pop elements of the first part have been thrown out for this multi-instrument effort- if you can take it independently of part one though, it’s musically superb. Looking forward to more from the new LP.
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.
There’s something about Mike’s flow that’s incredibly mesmerising. Initially, I figured it was just a lucky streak on his rather good Ali album, but his various releases and features since have demonstrated a capability for simple, rhythmic deliveries every time. His ability to ride along ever so effortlessly with whatever the chosen production is can only be a good sign for his future, and such control certainly makes him one of Odd Future’s most versatile rappers.
Similar to his work on The Jet Age of Tomorrow’s Asia (from the recent album), Mike’s backed by a drifty production that’s heavy on both minimalism and atmosphere. The airy synths combine well with light yet crisp percussion, creating a cool, calming quality to the soundscape that Mike comfortably bounces along throughout, matching its inherent mellowness with his easygoing raps, whilst his comparatively sharp cadence makes for a good contrast to that overall smoothness.
It’s easy listening hip-hop at its finest, and whilst the clip is just an in-studio performance, it’s enough to show that Mike himself is clearly a pretty easygoing performer, with his presence emanating a calm confidence throughout. Worth a listen for sure, and here’s to hoping a full project is in the works.
Hodgy’s relatively recent Untitled 2 EP is one that I’ve not yet listened to, but this clip has sent it way higher on my ‘listen to next’ list.
I don’t like to let other reviews or comments dictate my own view on a track, but the top comment on YouTube summed this piece up absolutely perfectly- “It’s like a mix of Earl [Sweatshirt] and Frank [Ocean]“. Whilst I’m sure Hodgy would rather (and rightfully) be regarded as his own act, there’s no denying that comparison is apt, and that’s nothing but a huge compliment; the aforementioned Odd Future acts are well-regarded for their distinct abilities. Yet, Hodgy’s skill at combining watertight, introspective raps with raw, likeably imperfect harmonising is unique as far as the OF members go, and is a great listen both within and outside of the Odd Future context. He’s helped by a production that’s got the same level of duality as his vocal work, with thick percussion layered up with airy, drifty synths, creating a mellow yet punchy production that supports both facets of his vocal output.
Topping it all off is a fitting and very watchable video. From his comical yet hugely minimal apartment setting to the beach on which he buries himself, once again there’s a sense of duality, as his playful side sits along with his depressive, isolated state, and it finishes off what is arguably his strongest release to date. Get that EP now.
Details around this release are a little confusing. Some outlets say it’s a demonstration of Mike’s unheralded production capabilities, others say it’s a compilation of his works in recent years, and yet more suggest its all-new material. What’s for sure is that this release comes exactly 3 years after his excellent Ali mixtape, to date one of my favourite projects from the Odd Future clan.
Hard to believe it was that long ago, and whatever the contents of this tape (a quick listen suggests a blend of new work and recent features), it’s good to get some new Mike G. His laidback style is very malleable, and hence he’s a great fit over a good range of productions, displayed throughout his career and thus far on this project too, with some soulful productions sitting alongside those of a more alternative variety, including his likeable feature on Charli XCX’s You’re The One remix with re-recorded vocals. Looking forward to giving this a full listen, and a free grab is available below (stream here, if you’re so inclined)
Noisey gave some lucky fans the opportunity of life time – to shoot Tyler, the Creator and his friends with a load of paintballs on a freezing cold day in Essex.
It’s the fans vs. Odd Future. And it’s suitably ridiculous.
Can you think of many better activities to get the OFWGKTA clan involved in? There’s almost too much to pick from. From the ‘stop humping me’ to the general Odd Future chicanery, it’s a bit of fun but let’s be honest, we wanted things to get way more out of hand than this. Still, it’s funny to see these guys doing anything, and at the very least it’ll probably get you up for a game of paintball.
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.
Returning with his first album since the breakout Goblin, Tyler’s Wolf LP on 2nd April, with this being the lead single.
It’s nice to hear Tyler on a more upbeat production, and the few occasions we’ve heard him on a backdrop of this ilk are arguably highlights of his back catalogue. The beat combines lively, celebratory strings with a frantic percussion and an urgent electronic melody, the end product being a sense of controlled chaos representative of the OFWGKTA style. That use of strings adds a layer of quality that wasn’t previously associated with them, and hence it’s good to see that progression; it culminates in a smooth, reflective section at the end of this track (with faint Frank Ocean vocals) that is about as good a display of Tyler’s maturity as any.
The video’s as a very fun watch, starting off as a backyard wrestling match with Domo (who has lost weight) and refereed by Earl, Tyler cycles through some great facial expressions and pretty much gets pummeled throughout, before the classic wrestling comeback and win. The clip ends with the aforementioned laidback section, an easygoing ending shot on a sunny Cali afternoon accompanied by a lady of interest and some typically crazy activities. One of Tyler’s best audiovisuals to date without question, and I’m looking forward to more from Wolf.
Heralded as Earl’s first ‘official’ release since his return to the Odd Future fold (there were of course, a couple of features and solo leaks before it), I gave this one a bit of a neutral response on its release a month ago but have since come to really appreciate it.
The introspection in the lyrics is quite heavily downplayed by the jaunty production and monotonous flow style, and hence it’s easy to underappreciate it. None of us will make that mistake after giving this video a look. From the monochrome filter to the subdued, near-depressed nature Earl shows throughout the video, there’s a seriousness and submissiveness here that fills in the emotional gaps the audio alone created. The stream of consciousness style of the raps is visualised well as Earl appears to be in a dream or sleep state, floating along and seemingly oblivious to the goings-on around him, instead just reciting his lyrics or thoughts. A rather reflective piece that clearly shows Earl’s capabilities lie beyond the lighthearted Odd Future style.
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.
On the back of the promising Brag II snippet and Mike’s announcement of weekly #MikeGMondays releases, this came with much expectation. Unfortunately however, it’s rather average.
Syd tha Kyd helms the beat once again, but trades in the laidback style for a stop-start hip-hop beat with a minimal, tough to love style in the verses, and a fantastic contrasting depth for the hook which boasts airy yet lively synths that inject the track with much-needed vibrancy. Mike’s distortion effect on his raps does his monotone style no favours and hence dulls his lyrics, though they’re not at his witty best either, whereas Speak!, who is new to me, does a better job with his contribution thanks to a clear delivery and a couple of smart lines. Mike’s series starts a little disappointingly, but there are certainly hints of promise. Had that hook production been more widely utilised, it would have injected the necessary energy into this one.
Only a 50 second snippet, but it’s nice to have some new, original material from Mike, and it certainly helps that his Odd Future cohort Syd tha Kyd has helmed the production.
Her work as part of The Internet heavily influences the beat, with soft vocal sample, light keys, smooth percussion and airy synths combining for a wonderfully laidback beat that you’ll want to play over and over again. Mike’s no slouch with his raps, and arguably quite overlooked as far as the OFWGKTA clan goes given that he generally delivers clever raps in solid flows, albeit with a little too much monotony at times. Here he improves that latter aspect as he almost seems to harmonise rather than rap at times a move which allows him to blend his vocals much better with the mellow production. Full of promise and I’m looking forward to a release soon.
Always a pleasure to have new material from Matt Martians and Syd Tha Kyd (who appear to have dropped ‘The’ from their name), and they’re gearing up to release their first project since dropping off the excellent Purple Naked Ladies album just under a year ago. The laidback soul stylings of that album made for excellent listening, and their upcoming Feel Good EP will hopefully provide more of that next month.
This track is much livelier and more positive than the chilled, sometimes downbeat approach their LP took, and the title of the forthcoming EP could suggest a shift towards this style. It doesn’t sacrifice their natural smoothness, but instead layers it up with a more summery vibe courtesy of perky guitar plucks, sharp and bouncy percussion, and vocals that operate much more in the foreground than their previous works. The lyricism still has hints of bittersweet qualities, creating a nice consistency with their regular produce, and this is one that definitely feels like a step forward for the duo without detracting from what they’re good at.
Always nice to get something new from the very talented Earl of Odd Future, and whilst his releases since his return have been minimal in quantity, he’s clearly demonstrated that he’s got magnificent potential.
Due to release his major label debut next year, it’s a good time to get his solo bandwagon properly rolling, and this is a nice jump off point. The production is fairly laidback, with slow rolling percussion met by rather reflective work on the keys, and that’s pretty much all there is as far as the beat goes. That minimalistic approach turns all of the spotlight on his raps, with the content being mostly autobiographical and hence making for a rare and engaging look into the reclusive rapper, whilst his laidback flow takes the sting out of what are often quite bitter and downbeat raps.
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.
This is likely to be a real breakthrough project for Domo, as whilst his rapping skills are commended by many, his weed raps and heavy OFWGKTA association always put up a slight barrier to wider acclaim. Working with Alchemist and the slew of hip-hop heavies on this tape will undoubtedly do wonders for his image in the rap scene, and I’m hopeful his raps are up to scratch to complement what are likely to be consistently-excellent Alchemist beats. 11 tracks make up this one, giving Domo plenty of opportunity to put out some strong music, and you can download this for free below.
Not hugely (remotely) familiar with the original, but as a big fan of Mike G’s raps and The Internet’s general existence, there’s plenty of attraction to the track, and it actually stands up fairly well.
The video is trippy, deliberately rough-looking and mostly random; everything you’d expect from heavy Odd Future involvement. There’s little more to say: it’s frighteningly hypnotising (those creeping skeletons are weirdly mesmerising), works strangely well with the audio, is completely bizarre and yet I just can’t stop watching it.
Matt Martians (who I’m assuming helmed most of the production work as part of The Internet) does a great job with the beat, keeping it funky and bouncy throughout but throwing in those spacey, atmospheric, Jet Age of Tomorrow-esque synths where he can, making for a good overall beat that’s prevented from becoming annoying by simply being quite short. The highlight for me is undoubtedly Mike G’s verse, with his relaxed yet ever-slick flow being a great contrast to the psychedelic production, whilst his lyricism works within the confines of the track well without stunting his naturally clever style. The YouTube description suggests this is out on 19th August, so keep an eye out for it to hit iTunes then.
Producer Toro has previously remixed some of Tyler’s works, and the Odd Future gang let their official coming together loose, an unfinished track from the vaults.
It’s a summery effort, with a perky, upbeat production that packs in hip-hop drums, synths with more lightness than hotel lobby music, and some scratched up samples for an excellent production. It’s laidback enough to work in a relaxing capacity, but with enough punch to ensure you don’t get bored listening to it, and whilst at times the beat’s structure seems to break down a little, that’s easily chalked up to the unfinished nature of the track. Tyler’s monotone delivery is decent enough here, and though his complete lack of emotion doesn’t quite utilise the beat in the best way, it’s the uniqueness of his approach that makes for an entertaining listen. Pretty solid track all-round, and it’s a shame it probably won’t get finished.
OFWGKTA had a pretty big day yesterday, dropping off two new tracks, revealing dates for their next tour and announcing some release dates for upcoming projects. Among those was the upcoming MellowHype album, Numbers, which many have been anticipating ever since Hodgy’s performance of 65 on the BBC last year.
Having recently dropped FAKUOY, this marks their second release in quick succession. There’s a much more upbeat, summer vibe about this one, drawing on a cacophony of instruments for a reggae-influenced production, whilst Hodgy’s raps are once again quite departed from the ‘typical OF’ style and instead have a much more mainstream style. It’s only a short one, but certainly something a little different from the clan and a quick, easy listen to throw onto a summer playlist.
Two of Odd Future’s best MCs hook up with Bronson and Staples over an Alchemist beat, and the result is a solid track from Domo and Alchemist’s upcoming No Idols EP that’ll make it onto many hip-hop heads’ playlists.
Alchemist serves up a very stripped back beat, relying on minimal percussion, bass plucks that sound fresh out of the 1920′s, and a consistent, high-pitched melody that has an almost horror-esque influence. Each rapper certainly gives a good account of themselves, with Domo adding some energy to his ‘high raps’, Earl oozing quality with his laidback delivery, Vince making a good impression with what’s probably his biggest feature, and Bronson closing the track out with another brash, punchy verse. Four straight verses, no frills hip-hop.
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.
One of the best tracks on Odd Future’s Odd Future Tape Vol. 2, and Tyler is allowed to flex his creative talents with a very intricate video for the song.
The video’s centred around a military theme that seems relatively incongruent with the raps themselves, and though they plays off the army-esque chants in the hook, the stark contrast of the lyrical content and the serious nature of war makes for a surprisingly engaging experience. Most of the OFWGKTA clan make cameos throughout, whilst the symbolism is rife throughout-from the clan having to ‘fight off’ external forces and refusing to take certain paths to the metaphor-laced suicide of sorts from Tyler at the end, it’s a clip that reveals interesting messages with each repeat watch. Of course, there are still a couple of humourous moments, not least the stunned look on Tyler’s face when the soldiers break into his shack.
Probably the best video Tyler’s put together since Yonkers, and an overdue reminder that away from his divisive lyrics, he undoubtedly possesses plenty of creative talent.
Yet another collective emerging from the Odd Future clan, as this time Hodgy Beats and Domo Genesis get together as MellowHigh, putting a stoner spin on Hodgy and Left Brain’s MellowHype name.
Whilst their name may be light-hearted, the music certainly isn’t. Sporting an intense Lex Luger beat, Timbs showcases Hodgy and Domo in their most ‘serious’ light to date, as each rapper steps away from the OFWGKTA freeform carnage to lay down some slick, structured raps that will take many by surprise. The production has a real knock to it, with a driving percussion that is supported by little more than some ominous synth work, creating a simple and effective backdrop for both rappers to come through with some excellent flows, whilst the lyricism has a ‘regular’ hip-hop style for the most part, and as a result is far more accessible to the wider hip-hop audience. Arguably, this is one of the clan’s most rounded and audience-friendly tracks to date, and I’m really interested to see how this duo progress from here. Free grab below.
Two videos in quick succession from the OFWGKTA clan’s upcomingOF Tape Vol. 2 release, set to drop later this month, and whilst Rella was a pretty enjoyable one all-round, I’m not quite as enamoured with this.
The OF ‘oddness’ works when there’s a funny angle to it, but here it just comes off as a little too incongruent, as the video is set to a rather dark, minimal production that would have been far better suited to a more evenly-themed video. The creepier elements of the video (such as Tyler as a baby) do work relatively well with the audio, but the unnecessary amount of naked obese people (I wish I was joking) just drives any serious surrealism out of the video, and hence affects the perception of the audio given that it’s the first time hearing the song for most of us.
Could have been good, but instead it’s just a bit boring. Hopefully there’s better yet to come, especially in light of the aforementioned Rella single, which was certainly both a fun watch and a good listen.