This isn’t the typical fare that I write about on RapReviews, but then again there’s nothing typical about Sydney Bennett. She’s the older sister of Odd Future collective member Taco. Even though he has a foundational role in the crew (early Odd Future demos were recorded at his home) I think of him more as a member of their now retired [adult swim] show “Loiter Squad” than as a rap star. I guess when you’re in a crew with Tyler, The CreatorFrank Ocean and Hodgy Beats it’s easy to be overshadowed anyway. That could easily have been the case for “Syd Tha Kid” as well. Thanks to Odd Future spinoff group The Internet though, Syd’s profile as a singer, producer and songwriter started to rise to the level of stardom in her own right. Even though we (like the Geto Boys) don’t give a damn about Grammys, “Ego Death” got nominated for one and took Syd’s profile to another plateau, as did profile pieces everywhere from Rolling Stone to The Guardian. To Syd’s regret many of those articles focused on her sexuality, which unfortunately became an easy topic due to Tyler’s flippant use of homophobic language on her solo albums, but her talent is undeniable.

The recent release of “Always Never Home” is a follow-up to February’s full length album “Fin,” and it’s my plan to get to that one too, but I decided to tackle the more recent release first. Syd opens the album with the sultry “Moving Mountains,” produced by Anonxmous with an obvious emphasis on funky electronic bass. It pairs well with Syd’s anxious vocals, pleading with a lover to show her more respect, feeling she’s literally moved heaven and Earth to show her loyalty and dedication.

“I could write a hundred songs for you
Sing ’em all night long to you
Even break the law for you
Then tell the judge to blame it all on me
Still it wouldn’t be enough baby
Got me questioning your love lately
Is it me or is it you?
Tell me what I gotta do…”

It may strike you as an obvious contradiction that Syd is tired of talking about her sexuality when she writes such sexually urgent songs. What is an artist if not a summary of contradictions though? As far as the Odd Future collective goes the friendship between Tyler and Frank Ocean already summarizes the nature of that disconnection from what takes place in music to what goes on IRL. It may also be that Syd can talk more frankly and intimately to a microphone than she can to an interviewer because the studio is a more private and personal environment. No one else even needs to be there other than the engineer recording you if you don’t want to, and in fact in Syd’s case she could be her own engineer if she WANTED to. She’s happy to work with other producers on this release though, such as Gwen Bunn and Ricci Riera on “Bad Dream/No Looking Back.”

“Always Never Home” is not a long epic journey through Syd’s world, as befits the $3 or less being charged for it, but it’s a worthwhile expenditure at any amount. Syd as a soloist is even more remarkable than within the confines of the Odd Future collective or its Internet spinoff. The problem with a lot of R&B is the same as with a lot of drill and trap music — anytime an artist becomes a success on the charts everybody imitates then and the whole genre starts to sound the same for a long period of time. Thankfully songs like “On the Road” show that Syd won’t fall into that trap. It’s a dark eletronic and weird IN A GOOD WAY song that has Syd playing with her own vocal tone. She’s not AutoTuning, she’s self-tuning, and that playful sound is what makes her interesting in a dull world full of sound alikes and lookalikes. Syd is a unique breath of fresh air and the more of her we get to hear the better.

Syd :: Always Never Home
7.5Overall Score