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Fat Possum’s reissue of Mellowhype’s BlackenedWhite finds the heirs to Odd Future’s throne stepping out of the shadow of Tyler the Creator and forming their own identity. Less reliant on the shock content that has dominated the conversation around the crew, the album is equal parts fantastic violence and silly fun. First released as a free download in 2010, the album has been trimmed down and re-mastered into one of the most satisfying and complete albums of the year.

It needs to be said that the strength of BlackenedWhite is due in equal parts to both LeftBrain’s supreme production and Hodgy’s growing skills on the mic. Leftbrain shows his range in the diversity of the beats here, which oscillate from the chilled out groove of Brain to the over the top cacophony of tracks like “IGotAGun” and “F666 the Police.” Leftbrain has left his mark all over this record. While he only spits once or twice, you can feel his presence in every track.

BlackenedWhite also see’s Hodgy step into his own as an MC. Up to this point in the group’s short history, he has been consistently overshadowed by Earl and Tyler. Here the MC finally solidifies his identity as the group’s angrier yet less shocking older brother. Hodgy takes the group’s penchant for ultra violence and blends it with more traditional rap clichés, delivering what is easily the crew’s most accessible release to date. He sounds his best when he completely drops the controversy, like on “Right Here,” where the MC is content to simply get high and bullshit about women. The handful of OF features on the record are well played. Domo, Tyler and group associate Frank Ocean turn in solid performances in their supporting roles, but the MVP award goes to Mike G who adds a nice balance to the album highlight “Loaded.”

BlackenedWhite is a refreshingly original album where it counts and it never gets under your skin the way Tyler’s albums can. While this version is missing a few key tracks, like the excellent Frank Ocean assisted ‘Hell,’ BlackenedWhite stands on it’s own as a excellent record and a great entry point to anyone not yet sold on the group’s range and longevity.

-Ben Watson

Comments

  • Jeremy

    This is why I never visit okp anymore. Went from “these guys’ music isn’t what okp is about” to a 93 Review. And frank ocean isn’t a “group associate” he’s odd future just like Tyler. Deal widit. Really are some okayplayerhaters running this place nowadays. Bring back blogarythms.

    • http://endangeredtheories.tumblr.com Endangeredtheories

      word up!

    • chappy

      for real. and where’s a new true notes compilation? artists like rjd2, aceyalone, little brother, and hiero are artists that were worth promoting. ofwgkta? time to grow up. those kids are just bad for society.

  • Chea!

    Not down with the reviews on OKP anymore. This is one of the reasons why. No consistency in reviews. To wit, no more comments from the kid.

  • Spencer

    “This is why I never visit okp anymore. Went from “these guys’ music isn’t what okp is about” to a 93 Review. And frank ocean isn’t a “group associate” he’s odd future just like Tyler. Deal widit. Really are some okayplayerhaters running this place nowadays. Bring back blogarythms.” couldn’t have said it better.

  • MP

    Is this a fuckin’ joke?! Did we hear the same album?! Because the album I heard was horrible! Wack beats, average lyrics, lame! And then, to think about other albums you gave worse scores to [Ghostface, Pete Rock & Smif n’ Wesson, Random Axe etc.], this shit is terrible! Please stop dick riding these lames wannabe’s. I know The Roots performed with Tyler on Jimmy Fallon, But this is going WAY too far! This might be the “straw” when it comes to your review section for me. I’ve always enjoyed this site too…….not so much anymore though….

  • http://endangeredtheories.tumblr.com Endangeredtheories

    this review really is terrible. My reason, well over the years I have come to trust this site in terms of the discovery of new, innovative music. Yet for a little while now it seems like that is no longer the focus. Giving this album a 93 completely and utterly destroys all credibility you have with reviewing records…I mean a 93? Just to prove my point. what would illmatic get on this rating scale? what did you give my beautiful dark twisted fantasy? How about Do you Want More?? Unless you are giving out ratings of 150 or 200 this makes no sense. Furthermore, the reviewer doesn’t even give any specific reason that this rates that high…if it is a 93 I should be hearing all types of wonderful things about how it is mixed, the wordplay, the instrumentation, the concepts dealt with on the album…the impact of the album. All I get is a comparison to other oddfuture members. If Hodgy and Letfbrain are legitimate shouldn’t they withstand comparison to other artists. I can’t believe I actually wasted my time listening to this wackness on youtube ..all because I saw this review on this site. IF it was on another site…would not have thought twice. Something to think about going forward. Perhaps before you outsource your music reviews you should make sure that you are doing so with a group of people that understand what Okayplayer was supposed to be. “Once a good girl has gone bad, she is gone forever, mourn forever.”

    • yo

      this album got an 8.1 and re-release got an 8.0 on pitchfork. i agree this album is rated way too high (like plenty of albums on here), but i dont think you need to insult the reviewer so bad. there are a lot of folks out there that are feeling this album.

  • http://badmadrad.com Synrhfreq

    I must be out of touch with what the hip hop community is calling innovative. Though the MC’s have a certain charisma that shines the recording there is no substance to the album as a whole. The beats sounds like fruity loops circa 1998. The flows are typical. This album is really typical….93?…seriously? This sounds like a demo tape me and my friends made when I was middle school and I’m 26 now.

  • whowho

    This album is straight CRACK!!!

  • chappy

    2 dope boyz don’t promote them for a reason.

  • my name is URL

    Man, it’s awfully old in here.