By Ohad Amram, Staff Writer
With so much anticipation and controversy clouding the latest Odd Future mixtape, "Volume 2," it should come as no surprise to any fan or avid listener of the Los Angeles based rap collective, that this mix tape is nothing less than great.
The album begins with an introduction "dissing" every member of the group. Judging by the lewd language exhibited in this intro. the listener knows without a doubt that they just popped in an Odd Future mixtape. The second track titled "B*tches," featuring members/rappers Hodgy Beats and Domo Genesis, is where the album really begins, the powerful bass and harmonic synth in the song give it that raw edge that essentially makes up Odd Future. Other notable songs on the album includes tracks "Ned Flanders" and "Rella," both of which feature Tyler the Creator and Hodgy Beats, as well as Domo Genesis on one of the two
Other features on this album include Left Brain and Taco, members who generally aren't as outspoken within the crew. Ironically enough, they are on the track "Real B*tch," which simply pays homage to Odd Future's overall theme of carelessness, recklessness and carnage. With that said, the mixtape displays an almost less aggressive Odd Future lyrically. Their lyrics are more pun-intended and playful. The word play and adlibs, such as "free Earl" and "F*ck Steve Harvey," are by far more minimal then the groups' first mixtape, perhaps implying that the violent message that Odd Future began and spread this time last year was a gimmick to lure in fans and cause them to want to jump on board the "Odd Future bandwagon." The group today is more powerful than ever. Lyrically, every member contributes a significant amount to the mixtape.
Member Mike G displays heart on solo track "Forrest," as does singer/rapper Frank Ocean, whom many may know from his Watch the Throne collaboration. On "White" and "Snow White" Ocean brings forth melodic elements to the mixtape and allows for progression from Odd Future's previous work. Perhaps one of the most notable tracks off of the album, including Frank Ocean, also includes Tyler the Creator on "Analog 2" (eluding to song "Analog" off of Tyler's 2011 sophomore solo album, "Goblin"). The horns and heavy bass on songs "Head" and "Sam (is dead)" leave the listener in a state of excitement as one completely becomes assured that Odd Future is back and in full effect with this album. The jazzy grooves on Domo Genesis' solo track "Doms" includes a beat reminiscent to that of a "Cool Kids" beat.
The production on this mixtape courtesy of members/producers Left Brain and Tyler the Creator is impeccable and could not be better. Half of the hype regarding the album and the Odd Future following revolves around the production exhibited in their albums. This very versatile production which is heard in the marching band background of G's "Forrest" and Hodgy and Tyler's, dark and eerie keyboard driven "Ned Flanders." In addition to the tantalizing and suggestive wordplay on the album, instrumental track four by Syd Tha Kid's alternate name the Internet, is a fun-filled smooth jazz pop tune that gives the listener a quick break to the mix tape. However, the kicker to the entire album, is that none other than Earl "mister early bird" himself is featured on the second to last verse on the last song of the mixtape. Saving the best for last in this appearance, Earl once again gives his fans reason to believe that he is indeed the best to ever have spit from the Odd Future camp. As the entire Odd Future crew cohesively raps with one another, on this last track, they almost inadvertently rap at each other, making it the most memorable track on the entire album. Many fans recall Earl and Tyler constantly duking it out in good humor on tracks "Pigeons" and "Couch" off of Earl's self-titled full length or even on track "Assmilk," off of Tyler's debut full length Bastard..
While many will grow nostalgic as Tyler begins his first verse on the last track "Oldie" in stating, "um flowing like my pad is the maxiest" and Earl ends his verse on the same track stating, "Fallback if your paddies is Maxi, please." Perhaps alluding to the better of the two? You decide.