posted 2012-10-15 19:28:47

MellowHype's Numbers

Julian Rivas

Arts and Entertainment Editor

As Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All have gained widespread popularity over the past two years, the crew’s members have understandably started crafting music outside of their self-created bubble of inside jokes and juvenilia. Its made for a solid collection of music (see Domo Genesis’ No Idols and Hodgy Beats’ own Untitled EP), but not much that’s particularly memorable. MellowHype’s Numbers is another likable entry into the Odd Future canon that doesn’t match up to the collective’s earlier output.

Part of the problem with less group involvement is that most of Odd Future aren’t strong enough as rappers to anchor full-length albums themselves. MellowHype emcee Hodgy Beats carries a no-nonsense personality, one not up for much humor or vivid scene setting like fellow members Tyler the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt. His raps mostly bounce between surface-level boasts and threats, and concerns about parenting. The tough- guy demeanor wears itself thin over the course of an hour, and could use more colorful Odd Future characters to switch up the flows and alleviate the stern trap rap vibes.

Hodgy’s flat writing dampens an otherwise talented rapper. His actual vocal performance is agile, and at his best, it’s enjoyable to simply hear him rhyme words together. On the chilled menace of “Beat,” Hodgy spits lines into a continual rhythm that pulses well in-tune with the gurgling instrumental.

MellowHype producer Left Brain proves to be one of the more underrated rap producers working today, and the unsung hero of the duo. His production pulls from a scrapyard of unconventional instruments and garageband stock sounds that are characteristic of Odd Future’s early, appealingly cheap-sounding releases. The beat on “NFWGJDSH” builds intensity from crowd yelling and a handgun being cocked, while “Grill” opens the album with an addictively repetitive wheeze, Lex Luger hi-hats and a “Planet Rock” sample chop. Elsewhere, Left Brain smooths things out with interesting, scruffy takes on early 90’s R&B (“Under 2”) and ambient music (“65/Breakfast”).

If Numbers is considered a disappointment, it’s because of the strength and immediacy of the duo’s previous album, BlackenedWhite. On its own, Numbers is a collection of rap songs with uniquely coarse lo-fi beats and sound rapping.