The first MellowHype record YellowWhite, featured a snapshot of Hodgy Beats and Left Brain on the cover with a couple bags of chips and some cookies. The Mountain Dew is not pictured but obviously present. The image represents a chillax evening to the fullest – some snacks, some bros, some bullshitting, maybe get a NBA 2K11 tournament going, a good night. YellowWhite sounded like a great soundtrack to a night like that, appropriately laid back beats, head nodding without neck snapping, hip hop that can melt into the background if need be. The first album really emphasized the “mellow” part of their name.
The cover of BlackenedWhite has a black and white image of a deformed little girl on it, looking creepy-as-fuck. The album appropriately has creepiness and violence mixed in and corrupting the overall chill feeling MellowHype have locked in. If the first album was hanging with friends on a Friday night, watching some TV, then BlackenedWhite is what happens when that night is derailed by an unscheduled viewing of a really fucked up horror movie. Basically, this album follows the plot of every episode of Scooby Doo ever – chilling in this amusement park minding your business and bam, old man McGruthers dressed up like a ghost scaring the fuck out of everybody.
BlackenedWhite starts off with “Primo,” Hodgy Beats swag rapping over a beat that sounds like someone screwing a George Romero soundtrack. The synths start out in key and then slowly pitch down sounding like someone was slowly pulling out Wall-E’s battery as he was crying out for “Eeeevvvaaaaaa.” But as quickly as you can de-power a lovelorn robot, the song ends and switches into “Gun Sounds” a song that features Left Brain’s production taking a decidedly upbeat and hype turn (a reoccurring production theme through this album). Fast and loud hi hats, gun cocks, explosions and string stabs that reminds you of Lex Luger’s production filtered through one of those dryer-sheets-in-soda-bottle contraptions you use to keep your dorm room from smelling like weed. Over that, Hodgy goes off with the occasional double time rap. Hype and gun talk pervades with lines like “you shop at Kmart, I shop at A-K mart/ I’m aiming at they heart/ Better duck if they smart/ Where them fucking guns at?” Not the craziest bars ever put to wax, but over Left Brain’s production it hits hard as hell.
After a lil under three minutes though the salvo is over and the album slides into “Brain” a smoothed out track with the laid back minimalism of an mid decade Neptunes production (with the screwed up chorus it especially evokes the work they did on Slim Thug’s criminally underrated Already Platinum). When Hodgy and Left Brain get in this mode BlackenedWhite really finds the sweet spot between full on hype scary shit and “ayo man, pass the funions” mellow shit. “Hell” featuring Frank Ocean is another song that hits perfectly in that Neptunian pocket. It has these super bright electric piano lines and the family reunion handclaps that would have Mystikal proclaiming, “my momma could listen to that!”
Simply, BlackenedWhite is another awesome entry into the Odd Future oeuvre, with Hodgy and Left Brain starting to really solidify where they exist in the OF universe. Previously it was all about chilling and laid back beats but this Halloween release finds dudes really getting comfortable with adding in some bombast in their mix along with channeling one of the best production duos of the last 15 years without sounding like they’re biting. As with the rest of the crew these dudes are progressing and refining their style at an amazing rate. Can’t wait to see how they swag out their future releases.