It was my original intention to review the free download version of MellowHype's "BlackenedWhite," but like so many of the links on their tumblr it seems to no longer exist. That's not entirely their fault as the federales seized MegaUpload for serving up free movies and pirated albums in limitless quantities, and even when alternate services are used the demand from Odd Future fans is so overwhelming it can cause the files to be pulled for violating TOS. So let's take it from the officially licensed version that came out on Fat Possum Records while noting the following differences between different editions of this album:
* Five songs were removed: "Hell," "Loco," "Stripclub," "Gram" and "Based."
* One new song was added to digital versions: "Gunz."
* One new song was added to all versions: "64."
"I dive scuba, barracuda, shark water in Cuba
As "64" was the lead single for the re-release it probably serves as well as a representative of this album as any track. Hodgy Beats lyrical style on both solo and group releases for the Wolf Gang is somewhat less macabre than Tyler, the Creator and not as intentionally graphic as Earl Sweatshirt, but does show tendencies of both on this song. Producer Left Brain emphasizes this feel with a dark and eerie beat that makes this a purposefully ODD choice for a single - it's not the kind of rap you can do a dance move to. There are certainly other songs you could bob your head or tap your feet to though such as "Rico" featuring Frank Ocean:
"I'm thankful for my position I was given in life
Cause I know some people living who ain't livin this life
Read about starved children who ain't eatin this right
Drug lords declare war, sellin cheaper the price
Stunting dummy drug money, yeah them sneakers is nice
Get your swag from the blacks sellin bags of the white
Niggaz can't get a job, so we self-employed
If the coppers come a-knockin, we gon' help that boy
Bail money, welcome back home out of jail money
White girl pale money, sunny when we sell money
See - seashell money, we sell money
Rain, hail money, heaven what the hell money
Dusty paper stale money, I thought they restricted it
Did for most people but we out here gettin it"
And there are also the intentionally twisted songs you've come to expect from Golf Wang such as "Primo," where one gets the feeling the song is getting slower throughout until you get to the chorus, at which point it DEFINITELY crawls along like a Southern chop and screw mix.
As a listener one is left in a totally ambiguous position about what MellowHype wants to be as a group, let alone Hodgy Beats as an emcee. His rapid fire punchline flow on "Gunz" is reminiscent of a late 1990's Eminem, but "Loaded" is a little more like a cross between Royce Da 5'9" and Kanye West. Topic matter tends to follow the non-Tyler members of Odd Future in self-indulgence, which makes his strengths all the more obvious when he makes a cameo on "Fuck the Police" and gives the group something to focus on, to the point the often mute Left Brain indulges his desire to rap too. "Circus" proves he should do it more often too, as his deep voice is a pleasant change of pace on the tracks.
Some reviewers have described "BlackenedWhite" as the "more accessible" album of the Odd Future discography. Respectfully I have to disagree for several reasons, not the least of which is that this whole album clocks in at just barely over 30 minutes - even if you get the bonus track. That doesn't leave a newcomer long enough to get to know anything about Hodgy, Left Brain, or their crew of comrades. In fact "64" is not a song I would call accessible at ALL. If I was going to introduce someone to Odd Future for the first time and make the best impression possible, I'd probably start with "AssMilk" or "Odd Toddlers," not any of the tracks on this album. Left Brain is certainly a talented producer, and Hodgy Beats has as much potential as the next breakout star as any member of the Gang, but whether you have the free version or the commercially released version of "BlackenedWhite," it's clearly a release intended for hardcore Odd Future fans.
Music Vibes: 7 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6.5 of 10
Originally posted: July 3rd, 2012