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Review: Odd Future Tapes Vol. 2


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At the time of this album’s release, the hype surrounding Odd Future was palpable. The group was riding the recent wave of Tyler the Creator’s success with the album Goblin and the VMA-winning “Yonkers”. This is the point at which most rappers and musicians try as hard as they can to stay comfortably seated on their thrones, writing safe, simple songs that highly resemble their most popular stuff. In short, this is the point where people sell out. I could say this is a great, innovative leap forward for music, but what is Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All really doing for Hip Hop?

For every dark, serious and offensive track on this album, there’s a somewhat lighthearted “parody” track peppered in. This gives off a really scatter-brained feeling, like there was barely any deliberation as to what fits right. Even shitty albums normally have some sort of thematic pressence, whereas this release feels completely erradic and random. In a bad way. There are a handful of horror-core-esque tracks, (I don’t care if they hate that label, it’s what they’re making even if they don’t realize it) a few modern sounding rap songs, one or two RnB songs that don’t fit at all, and some “parody” tracks. I keep putting “Parody” in quotes because some of these songs are barely funny. They’re about as funny and progressive as Ted Danson going to the Grammies in blackface.

 

This isn’t the best album to listen to in the exact order in which it’s listed. It seems like Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All wants this release to feel like a grab-bag of random tracks. In fact a lot of these songs feel completely unrelated to one another, both in terms of lyrical content and genre. There is an extremely bipolar vibe if you try to listen to every track back to back. This can even boil down to a more molecular level when you analyze the lyrics line by line, offering little to no relativity between rhymes. Put simply, no one is really saying much of anything and it makes it difficult to take this album and even the group seriously. What’s really frustrating is that some of the members (Earl Sweatshirt, Hodgy Beats, Domo Genesis) can really spit, and say virtually nothing despite their skill.

When it comes right down to it, I enjoy this release much more than their prior albums. But that’s not saying a lot because I find little to no substance or replay value in most of what these guys have released. Some of it’s attempting to be quote on quote “real hip-hop”, while the other 75% leaves you wondering who thought this stuff was even good enough to publish. Most of the beats are straight garbage, and the ones that sound half-way decent are basically 45 second loops played over and over. My biggest issue ends up being quality control, in that there is none whatsoever. It seems like someone high up in the Odd Future pecking order has an awful ear for quality because it’s all over the place in the worst way possible. A little advice for Odd Future, don’t just accept every single beat that comes through the door.

I can’t review this as an album, because nothing about this feels like an album in the first place. You can say, “that’s what they’re going for, it’s supposed to be random and all over the place”, but couldn’t that just be an excuse for a lack of deliberation? There’s an air of pretentiousness surrounding every “serious” track that seems completely unwarranted, especially when every b-side features prolific lyricists like Taco, Jasper and Left Brain. Like I’ve said before, any possibility of taking this group seriously goes out the window when you hear the bullshit that comes out of some of these guy’s mouths. And it’s not about being easily offended or not being able to enjoy what they call “parody”, it’s about the fact that they’re trying to emulate awful music like Waka Flocka and Lil B while simultaneously calling themselves deep, intellectual artists.

This all comes back around to the big question: What is this group really doing for Hip Hop and music as a whole? They try so hard to be shocking and opinionated, but in reality they’re a bunch of priveledged kids with barely anything to say aside from “Kill People, Burn Shit, Fuck School”. There are some interesting vocal talents who are underdeveloped at this point in time, and a few of them could end up being huge players in the Hip Hop scene when they grow up a bit. The problem with Odd Future is that most of what they’re saying and doing has already been overdone for decades. We get it, you’re rebellious. Stop the bullshit and say something that matters before everyone stops paying attention.

I can’t say this music is for everyone, but if you haven’t listened to their stuff and give it a shot. There’s something there, a seed of something that has great potential for growth. If you’re a seasoned fan of real Hip-Hop then you’re going to hear the underlying flaws, and that’s what I find so appealing. It’s raw, unfinished, and at times amateur sounding. I’m keeping my eye on this group, and hopefully they won’t fizzle out like a lot of rap collectives. Like I’ve said before, there’s a lot of couched potential in Odd Future… This release is basically more of the same, contrary to their attitude of chaotic insurrection.



Categorized as: Music Reviews | Written Reviews



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