Since Tyler the Creator is the Don of the underground mayhem crew known as Odd Future, it was only natural his album Goblin be the group’s flagship release for the aboveground set, but this second “official” release is arguably the better deal. Even if it comes from the splinter group Mellowhype, even if it had the verses from Earl Sweatshirt removed, and even if it’s a hacked and reworked version of a previously available free mixtape, this 2011 version of BlackenedWhite released by the Fat Possum label is a tighter, more threatening monster than Goblin. Part of the reason is that this is a more accessible release, pointing outward more often and feeling less insider right from the opening “Primo.” The strange slice-of-life-track boasts “I’m coming down, but not from my high/I should live in the plane, I feel that fly” before “Gunsounds” does right what it says on the tin, replacing the usual hi-hat cymbals with the blast of an AK-47. Guest Domo Genesis deserves special mention for his great “Phone book flow/This some shit you never rip off,” and the brilliant “64” is the sound of hip-hop if Kool Keith-loving zombies ruled the game. Left Brain’s beats are equal parts attractive and unsettling, providing that quintessential Odd Future experience, while rapper Hodgy Beats is a mutant, bad-trip version of Q-Tip, spitting nasal, weird offerings like “The more hollow they feel/The more bananas I peel” or the Juggaloo-topping “I stuffed my dirty money at Cassie’s house/I put my gold teeth in a vulture’s mouth.” The original mixtape is worth checking for the Sweatshirt bits alone, but this version does a better job of putting the spotlight on Mellowhype, the Odd Future crew’s secret weapon.
by David Jeffries