With their controversy, protests and uproar being cleared well out of the way in 2011, the radical stable of Odd Future now stands as an established and respected collective within music. From Tyler The Creator‘s well received Goblin album to the emergence of Frank Ocean as one of the leading vocalists in contemporary R&B, the 11-strong outfit are now being acknowledged for their musical merits. Often praised for their uniquely constructed sound which goes in the opposite direction of today’s more “successful” formulas, after a rollercoaster year March sees OF finally release their much anticipated group project.
Whilst many look forward to hearing more from the lesser known members of the crew, frontman Tyler’s presence is still ever felt on The OF Tape Vol 2, appearing on numerous cuts throughout the 18 tracks. He still stands a cut above the rest of the collective lyrically, offering up more than a fair number of crude and black humoured bars in his now recognised haunting tones, whilst his first outing on the project alongside Hodgy Beats on the curiously named “NY (Ned Flander)” sees the duo get grim on a creepy piano led production.
Of course the rest of Odd Future do get their chance to impress. The pairing of Syd The Kid and Matt Martians, better known as The Internet, offer the most diverse track on the mixtape. “Ya Know” is a trippy midnight loving ride, providing a more easing listening experience to the rest of the anarchic material on hand. Hodgy Beats and Domo Genesis produce solid verses on their back-and-forth flowing “Bitch,” whereas the more established name of Frank Ocean maintains his consistency of matured soul with a memorable performance on “White.”
But as with any collaborative effort which doesn’t go by the name of the Wu Tang Clan, the distance between those whose musical outputs are solid and those whose aren’t is often wide, with members of Odd Future providing the weaker moments on The OF Tape, Vol. 2. [Although the beat is a tough offering, Mike G's verses on "Forest Green" offer little to get excited about; throwing curses and wobbly punchlines with no success.]
Yet another issue with The OF Tape, Vol. 2 is the immature nature of the artists, which filters throughout. The number of times the “B” word is thrown about is tiresome, and Tyler’s dark humour strays into simple shock tactics whilst tracks such as “We Got Bitches” is an unfunny poke at the signature stylings of Wacka Flocka Flame, 2 Chainz and more, providing an unnecessary addition to the 18 track long mixtape.
But when the raucous group get together to simply rhyme, Odd Future remind of the potential they carry to become a serious name in Hip Hop. Coming together firstly on “Rella,” the OFWGKTA crew take turns mercilessly going to work over a thunderous Left Brain production. A lineup composed of Hodgy Beats, Domo Genesis and Tyler the Creator, no one really drops the baton on this relay and comes off as a near flawless victory.
Arguably the “moment” of The OF Tape, Vol. 2 comes at the closing mark, with the track “Oldie“; a dope near ten minute head nodder channelling a mid-’90s vibe with its bleak, maze like instrumental. Although all rappers on deck drop a more than satisfactory verse, it’s the the appearance of the much missed member of Odd Future Earl Sweatshirt that will rightfully get heads talking. Once again offering a whirlwind of cartoon violence like imagery, Earl’s return ultimately has the final say on what is a solid group offering.
Rather than increasing the number of mindlessly violent lyrics and more, Odd Future’s mixtape instead reins in on the controversy and instead produce a project which aims to shine a light on the acts’ own unique talents. With the distinguished sound of ’90s Hardcore rap being an influence, The OF Tape, Vol 2 exhibits the depth which their music boasts and lyrically, all the protagonists offer up performances which channel the likes of Redman, Onyx, Eminem and more.
The limitations of Odd Future lie in their maturity. At times it seems the collective self sabotage their own music, with a middle finger jest to the public who feel they can box them into a corner they don’t like. OFWGKTA continues to play Jekyll and Hyde on their latest venture, offering both the good and bad of the West Coast staple, and whilst the final verdict may yet to be decided the majority will be more than satisfied with the end result of their latest musical assault.