Reviews

Hip Hop is a Zombie

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BlackenedWhite

MellowHype

Release Date: Jul 12, 11

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Touted as a 60 member outfit, formed in Los Angeles, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, consists of three sub-groups: Earl Wolf, the Super 3 a.k.a. the Jet Age of Tomorrow. That’s one element of a formula to go from an underground sensation to creating a worldwide buzz. The other is to create controversy, i.e. conflict with R & B singer Chris Brown, internal problems with members backed up with ‘diss tracks,’ and the icing on the cake, an alleged protest by a women’s’ rights group for their upcoming Pitchfork performance.

In an age where the lines between hip hop and rap are blurred, and now, where the line between hip hop and indie hip hop are more blurry, where does Odd Future fall? As far as MellowHype’s Blackendwhite album, it is anything from an over-produced regurgitation of what has been labeled as hip hop over the last 15 years. In fact, the production is basement deep in imperfection and amateurism. This is a good thing. It is a welcomed return to original form in an auto-tuned era of flash and gimmick. And production-wise, most importantly, it feels authentic, not some pre-planned scheme to go retro.

That’s the music side of MellowHype. Now, for the lyrical content: sour, rehashed, easy rhyme schemes, hear it all before. It’d be nice to hear emcee’s who didn’t talk the same gun/drug/bitches shit all the time. A challenge for the future that would make it odd? Write a rhyme without using the word ‘I.’

Not to say it hasn’t been done before. Conscious lyrics is what made hip hop nearly twenty years ago. Now, it seems, if you have predominately white hipster or indie kids listening to it, that rap music is hip hop or indie hip hop. This trend is due to the fact that as a culture, hip hop died a long time ago and no one beyond Nas wants to admit it. Rap music has gone so main stream that any off kilter alternative style is deemed as hip hop or indie. Not true. Nice try though. Had Odd Future, at least the MellowHype sect of it, had come out in 1993, no one break dancing, tagging (graffiti that is), or spinning records in back alley lofts would have paid it much notice. That was hip hop.

However, labels aside, this can be a fun album at times. The opening track, “Primo,” laced with a syrupy beat, drag outro, is definitely appealing. Other tracks such as “64” and “Circus” are also pleasers. Once the hype dies down though, will anyone still be listening?