This year, OFWGKTA’s dynamic duo, MellowHype, reissued their sophomore album BlackenedWhite on Mississippi’s Fat Possum Records. Remixed, re-mastered and streamlined to eleven tracks for maximum efficiency; Hodgy Beats and Left Brain are quickly perfecting a formula that speaks to the younger generation. It is chord heavy mood music laced with the spirit of rebellion, but manages to convey their genuine love for and commitment to the music.
MellowHype’s delivery is also palatable to older hip hop enthusiasts and the masses when considering its framework. Hodgy’s rhymes about skills, achievements, crew love, sex, drugs and violence aren’t foreign concepts; there are just different drugs and different crews nowadays. Once that’s understood, you can become rapt in his flow as it speeds and slows in tandem with Left Brain’s ambience altering beats. Varying cadences, clever wordplay and a constant ravenous energy engage the listener for the duration.
Guest appearances are limited to fellow OFWGKTA acts. Domo Genesis, Mike G, Tyler, The Creator and Frank Ocean all stamp their trademark styles onto Left Brain’s mostly hype canvases. On the mellow side of things opening track “Primo” is a standout, evoking the chillest of vibes as Hodgy prescribes a dose of his “primo emo kilo grams.” A notable ode to their chosen profession, “Brain” relates their view that beats and bars are what they do best, and “Loaded” serves as supporting evidence.
Getting us hype are “Deaddeputy” and “F666 the Police,” which survived the paring of the original 2010 release. But we can’t help but wish that a few others had escaped the downsizing. Cuts like “Hell” featuring Frank Ocean, “Loco” and “Chordaroy” with assists from Earl Sweatshirt and Wolf Haley didn’t make the final tracklist, yet masterfully showcase Left Brain’s melodic production style and capture the pair’s unconventional, though identifiable spirit.
BlackenedWhite is solid, but more than anything builds anticipation for the next MellowHype offering. The talented two possess a synergy that sounds great, feels effortless and denotes their potential to set future projects on fire. Hodgy’s budding lyricism and Left Brain’s keen ear welcome casual listeners yet still represent the sometimes intimidating OFWGKTA brand. We’re eager for any upcoming Left Brain coined “hip hop upbeat slow shit” set to grace their catalog.
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