November 1, 2010

Sach O’s living in the Odd Present.

Odd Future has potential but isn’t quite there yet. That’s OK, they’re young and they’ve got plenty of time to develop their sound and grow into something special. What’s not OK is the way the Faderfork crowd is breathlessly hyping the sensationalistic aspects of what they’re doing over, you know, their actual music. Not that I blame them, in an era where the monetary value of rap has gone down to nil, it’s to the media’s advantage to turn them into the next Die Antwoord meets Lil B. Why write about the actual releases when you can blow up their personalities? Unfortunately for today’s artists however, it doesn’t take a genius to know that acts built on hype don’t last very long: street kids and fauxhemians get bored quick-fast and suddenly there’s a new crew on the block with different shock tactics, brighter clothing and iller swag. The hype cycle is just that, a cycle. Feed it rappers or feed it sneaker twitpics.

So let’s take a look at Mellowhype’s actual music for a minute. Blackendwhite is the sound of artist development in action: some good songs, some throwaways and a lot of stuff in between. 10 years ago the whole Odd Future crew would have been forced to pool their money to record a measly 12” inch single, now group members Left Brain and Hodgy beats are already on their second album and they’re giving it away free. With that in mind, I won’t fault them for the lack of quality control: I may not want to parse through the album to find the gems but their fanbase doesn’t seem to have a problem with that approach, so power to them. The crew’s discography is already comparable in size to the first generation of Wu-Tang and Dungeon Family releases so it’s pointless to hope for the kind of tempered focus that galvanized those crews to greatness. Instead, it’s best to take every release as a step forward that’ll hopefully lead to something great down the line. At the very least, the crew can hopefully keep its eye on the ball and not lose sight of what makes them special: it would be too easy to graft their nihilism to a Neptunes beat, call it a single and have a major label push out an 50K selling album on a 360 deal. That, would lack swag.

MP3: Mellowhype – Blackendwhite (left click)

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