By Jarett Sommer
In just one short year, Tyler, The Creator has catapulted his relatively unknown crew of misfits to the peak of everyone’s interest. The Odd Future collective has worked hard to become one of the most well known groups of 2012. Even if you haven’t heard their music, you know what they’re about. Back in 2008, Tyler, The Creator, the founder of the crew, released a mixtape named The O.F. Tape Volume 1 along with initial members Hodgy Beats, Left Brain, and Casey Veggies. Over 3 years later, Odd Future is at the top of the game, and releasing their follow up to that mixtape: The Odd Future Tape Volume 2.
Before the album was released, Tyler directed videos to two of the songs from the album, one of which is the second song, “NY (Ned Flander).” With a hypnotizing piano loop and soft drums with an ominous tone, this is a simple song, but one of my favorite beats on the album. The video that accompanied the song featured and overweight, 50-year old Hodgy Beats, and a newborn baby, with none other than Tyler’s face on the baby. Antics like this, is one of the main reasons why Odd Future appeals to so many people, because they are not afraid to make fun of themselves. One of the next songs on the album is “Forest Green,” by one of my favorite rappers in the group, Mike G. One of the more underrated members of the group, Mike G is a smooth talker and superb lyricist. It is unfortunate that this is one of only two songs he is on this album, but on this song he shines. Mike G is definitely not to be slept on, and I am sure he is going to go through tremendous growth as an artist.
The next song up is “Lean,’ featuring Hodgy Beats and Domo Genesis, produced by Left Brain. With each song, it seems as if both Hodgy and Domo are getting better, with not only their wordplay, but also with their confidence. Not to be left out, producer Left Brain shows on this album that he is not going to hide in Tyler’s shadow, and he has created his own distinct sound that he is fitting into on each release. “Analog 2” is the next song after “Lean, which is the sequel to “Analog” from Tyler’s debut Album “Goblin.” “Analog 2” is one of my favorite songs on the album, and is a beautifully crafted song. On this song, Tyler demonstrates his growth as a producer, using various chord progressions, which shows why he is one of the best young producers in today’s music. Personally, I think Tyler doesn’t get enough credit for his producing skills, but anybody who listens to this song should give him the credit he deserves. Accompanied by R&B star and Odd Future member Frank Ocean, “Analog 2,” shows Tyler’s more emotional side. “Meet me by the lake at ten, if I’m not there just call. And if you need a way there, I’ll ride you on my handlebars.” Tyler’s deep voice, along with Frank and OF’s lone female member, Syd The Kid, makes you visualize a perfect summer day, which I believe Tyler was trying to do.
A few songs later is “Snow White,” featuring Hodgy Beats and Frank Ocean. These two have been on songs together, and I think Hodgy rhyming and Frank on the chorus is one of the greatest pairings in the whole Odd Future crew. The next song is “Rella,” which was the other video Tyler directed and released before the album came out. Like the first, this video is bizarre, with Hodgy Beats in a futuristic army suit, and Tyler as a half man half horse. The song is very up beat and hype, one that would most likely start a mosh pit at one of their concerts. A few songs later comes, “White,” a.k.a. Frank Ocean’s solo on the album. Frank is basically singing acapella, with the exception of a few piano keys behind him. Even if you’re not a fan of Odd Future, you have to have an appreciation for Frank Ocean, solely based on the back that he is a pure vocalist in the age of computerized and auto-tuned voices, and he does not disappoint on this song.
Lastly is the song that every Odd Future fan has wished for since day one. “Oldie,” is a song that is over ten minutes in length, and features all the rappers, Tyler, Hodgy, Domo, and Mike G, and even has producer Left Brain rap a verse, and Frank Ocean stepping away from singing and also rapping a verse. But perhaps the one thing that makes this song so special is the fact that it is the first verse we hear from the youngest member, Earl Sweatshirt, since his return from a camp in the Samoan islands, and he does not disappoint in his verse which was almost double any one else’s. This song is also special because of the video they made for it. During a photo shoot with Hip-Hop magazine XXL in which all the crewmembers attended, Tyler decided to do an impromptu video, in which all of the crew stood in front of a camera and recited their verses. As a fan of Odd Future, a video like this makes you happy, because you see how much fun these kids are having, and how they have created an imprint on Hip-Hop that is unique, and will never be forgotten. They have achieved success on being themselves, and not caring what anyone says. I thin this is what makes so many people like Odd Future, because they are almost the embodiment of this generation. If you are new to Odd Future, this is a great album to learn about who they are, and if you are a hardcore fan, this is an album that will not disappoint.