Hodgy Beats On: The Untitled EP

Tosten Burks isn’t gonna lie. He had to look up the world clairvoyance. We’re at the point where all of the mythology and controversy that fueled the Odd Future rise have become reasons why...
By    March 1, 2012

Tosten Burks isn’t gonna lie. He had to look up the world clairvoyance.

We’re at the point where all of the mythology and controversy that fueled the Odd Future rise have become reasons why they originally got attention and not reasons why they still should. Earl is back. The cockroach has long been digested. Every rapper stage dives now. All that is left is the music. And Hodgy Beats’s latest project Untitled, recognizes this fact and understands its ramifications. To stay relevant, the music must stay compelling, and nothing less.

This means is that Odd Future must move past the Odd Future shtick. The shtick had a good run. Their early work remains jarring pieces of reckless escapism. But it’s lasted for a dozen mixtapes and albums. An old school career worth of material recorded in just a few years. That’s impressive, but also exhausting.

On Untitled, Hodgy Beats self-produces one of the nine beats, but the rest all come from outside of the OF camp. And Hodgy has good taste. The Flying Lotus-produced “Lately” is misleadingly hallow electronic tinkle; while his “Lamented” is a confused, urgent digital chase scene. On “Bullshittin’,” Juicy J reworks Lugerian high hat boom into soulful gloom. Carefully placed guitar clashes on “In a Dream” turn the Alchemist track into a hauntingly calm intermission. This is an extremely well-produced tape that balances Hodgy’s intensity with thoughtfulness. Also, it sounds nothing like Bastard.

Hodgy struggles a little more to move out of the OF box lyrically, but he makes  a valiant attempt. “Cookie Coma” is an engaging reflection on childhood and new-found fame and the path it took to get there. But a sense of immaturity remains. He still says things like “My heart lies behind a fortress.”

What makes it stick is Hodgy’s continued technical development as a rapper. Syncopated syllables hit like an unexpected family death, or at least something that feels that stark to a sheltered teenager. “Ave” shows an effortless double-time flow that accomplishes all the drama of speed without pretentiously drawing attention to that speed. A lot of the rhymes are a little forced, something that has always plagued Hodgy’s writing, but it happens less and less often.

Untitled is an interesting nine songs, and it’s significant because of what makes those nine songs interesting. Hopefully, we’ll look back at it as a turning point, rather than an anomaly.

Download:
MP3: Hodgy Beats-“In a Dream”

ZIP: Hodgy Beats – Untitled EP

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