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Album Review
The Odd Future Tape Vol. 2

The Odd Future Tape Vol. 2
by Odd Future

Odd Future Records/Sony Music

Review Date
10th April 2012
Reviewed by
Martyn Pepperell

Nestled seven songs into The Odd Future Tape Vol. 2 sits a transformative work 'Analog 2/Wheels 2'. Composed of two distinct movements, 'Analog 2/Wheels 2' serves as a dual continuation to two different songs, 'Analog' and 'Wheels', taken respectively from Tyler The Creators sophomore and debut albums, Goblin and Bastard. Proceedings kick off with a pitch manipulated vocal sample, nostalgia generating rhythmic patterns and melodies, plus languid, confessional rapping from Tyler The Creator. With the arrival of sung arrangements from Frank Ocean, the song dives substantially deeper into a kaleidoscopic modern soul landscape with artfully met Stevie Wonder and N*E*R*D level aspirations.

Flipping from an 'Analog' continuation into a 'Wheels' continuation, Syd The Kid throws her equally smooth vocal work into the mix, while Tyler's rapping enters a textual realm, which for reference sake can be connected with both the turtle time sludge of Houston's DJ Screw, and the country fried soul of early era UGK. Built around catchphrases like "you can meet me by the lake, at the park" and "if you need a way there, I'll ride you on my handlebars", 'Analog 2/Wheels 2' is essentially a souled-out (but not sold-out) hip-hop cousin to the hazy Super8 home video indie rock vibe. The exact one which within the New Zealand context, connects The Clean to Surf City, and more recently Two Cartoons. This is nostalgic teenage summer holiday music of the highest order, and for Tyler The Creator, Frank Ocean and Syd The Kid, a moment of pure musical transcendence.

Between 'Analog 2/Wheels 2' and The Odd Future Tape Vol. 2's ten minute and thirty six second album concluding dynasty/clan rap homage 'Oldies', even if the rest of the album was subpar, The Odd Future Tape Vol. 2 would still be a critical record for this burgeoning, and decidedly cross discipline creative family. And interestingly enough, for a collective built on hard, rugged instrumentals and even harder, controversy generation rap fictions, the strongest songs on The Odd Future Tape Vol. 2 seem to fall within 'Analog 2/Wheels 2' overall vision, factoring southern soul and genius era RnB into the equation as an increasingly tangible factor. This vibration can be heard on 'Ya Know' by The Internet, 'White' by Frank Ocean, 'Snow White' by Hodgy Beats and Frank Ocean and the trolling narrative of 'Real Bitch' by Mellow Hype and Taco.

However, working alongside this, within the more rap oriented side of the equation, despite being perhaps overly abrasive at points ('50' by MellowHype as an example), the rhymes and beats oriented side of the equation succeeds through an across the board sense of game lifting. Even on the obvious Brick Squad homage 'We Got Bitches', there is a level of commitment that while hoped for, wasn't necessarily expected.

Things could really have gone either way for Odd Future with The Odd Future Tape Vol. 2. Over the last few years, there have been few other new acts to experience this level of hype, critique and discussion. And while the predicted backlash against their movement and the associated early adopter fan retraction has definitely occurred (and will most likely continue as the more obsessive compulsive personalities out there dig deeper for the next), they've come through without major meltdown. Most impressively though, despite the massive weight and associated set of pressures now sitting on their shoulders, the collectives overall and individual creativity hasn't collapsed or experienced any major crush. In fact, truth be told, The Odd Future Tape Vol. 2 brightest moments actually explicitly suggest an upwardly creative future for this gang of disaffected outsiders turned frontline cultural futurecasters.


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