Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. A couple years ago this phrase wouldn’t have meant anything to anybody. Now it's enough to send message boards and blogs into overdrive at the mere mention of a new track. Well actually, all this was true a few months back, but now after all the hype has died away, how does the controversial collective stand in a Golf Wang acclimatised world?
The Odd Future Tape Vol. 2 serves as an introduction to the gang post-hype for those who felt too daunted by the sheer amount of free material Odd Future were throwing out across the blogosphere. Each member is given their chance to shine for you to pass judgement on this apparent cult movement. So here we go.
After a brief tirade of abuse from L-Boy, Hodgy Beats and Domo Genesis welcome you to their twisted world with 'Bitches'. It's the same Odd Future that fans know and love obsessively. More of their twisted, shocking but beautifully crafted metaphors and analogies backed by that masterly simplistic deep bass, shuffling drumbeat and skewed synthwork. Beats completely overshadows Genesis on this track, a theme that’ll become more developed and familiar the further through the album you travel.
The first actual highlight comes in the form of The Internet’s 'Ya Know'. Made up of Matt Martian and Syd The Kid, their first album Purple Naked Ladies was the first release off of Odd Future’s own record label. Syd’s work as producer and live DJ is mostly forgotten behind the infamous lyrics on display up-front, but 'Ya Know' is the perfect showcase for what she can really do. It's future soul music with an odd twist that teeters on the brink of a Timberlake track before being dragged back into the realm of The Neptunes. Mike G rarely gets any of the limelight so liberally given to the others, so he’s got a point to prove and with 'Forest Green'. He more than shows that he can create tracks good enough to be at the forefront of new Odd Future releases. It's the watered down Wolf Gang experience, less misogyny and shock, more classic self-hype with a solid flow drenched in confidence.
The first single from the album 'Rella' got everybody's blood pumping when it turned up with an insane accompanying video. Hodgy's break neck flow and witty lyricism signalled great things for this upcoming album, so it's a shame that this is the third good track, and it's back at number 10. Live, this would blow out speakers and knock bouncers backwards; it’s swag rap turned up past 11. Through headphones it looses a little something but it still comes out dripping with attitude. Tyler's verses so far have been weak. All this changes however with 'Sam (Is Dead)', Its shuffle beat rhythm and muzak overture coupled with Tyler's distinct 'I hate everyone in this industry' lyrical content makes for a shining diamond amongst the rough.
And so the prodigal son returns. 'Oldie' features pretty much everyone who's anyone in the collective getting their own verse, Jasper even steps up for a half decent 9 bars. But the real talking point of the album can be found seven minutes in, Earl Sweatshirt. He gets double the time, and kills it. His delivery and language and really cement him as a future gamechanger. I could wax lyrical about him, but this is something you really have to hear for yourself
At this point you'll probably wonder why I've not mentioned a lot of the tracks - it's because only about a third of this album is actually worth listening to. The Odd Future Tape Vol. 2 brings to mind that great age-old question concerning Shakespeare, monkeys and typewriters. Die hard fans will love it, but then OF could put out screaming over a metronome and it'd still get raved about by them. There's nothing new here and a lot of what's old has lost some appeal now it's not so fresh.
It feels like they’re coming to the end of their tenure as saviours of rap as they stagnate. They're no longer new and exciting as the shock-sell wears off. How long until the middle class white kids find something worse to scare their parents with? The Internet, Frank Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt have all evolved and have bright futures, however those futures might have to be under different labels and away from Emperor Tyler.