Odd Future has a special place in the heart of The Rock. Those who have been reading us since the beginning will remember that our first featured story was about the LA based hip-hop collective, written by Paul Fortin. Needless to say, we were excited for The OF Tape Vol. 2.
Odd Future’s popularity has skyrocketed since the first Odd Future Tape. The group has performed on national television such as Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, member Frank Ocean performed on Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne, and Adult Swim even gave them their own show, Loiter Squad. But the group itself had not recorded as a full unit since 2010’s Radical mix tape. 2011 was a busy year for the collective, but the only release under the Odd Future name was 12 Odd Future Songs, a compilation of the group’s solo efforts throughout the year.
Tyler, The Creator, Domo Genesis, and Hodgy Beats are clearly the creatively power behind the Odd Future Tape Vol. 2. A combination of the three of them without the rest of the group represents eight of the album’s eighteen tracks. Frank Ocean and Syd tha Kid appear on a few of the tracks but Matt Martian and Mike G only appear on one track apiece, save for the final track Oldie which is a posse cut featuring the entire group save for Syd the Kid.
Despite the lack of teamwork, there are plenty of standout tracks on the album. Rella, Hcad, and P are all done in the classic OF fashion and Ya Know highlights The Internet’s powerful verses layered on trippy sounds. While I would have preferred to see more of Ocean following his impressive Nostalgia, Ultra mix tape last year, he works well as the lead artist on White and supports the group in Analog 2 and Snow White. Frank Ocean has a contract with Def Jam outside of the group, which tends to limit his involvement compared to other performers.
The one main problem that people will have with The OF Tape Vol. 2 is the lack of Earl Sweatshirt, who only appears on Oldie. The majority of the album was recorded before Earl returned from his Samoan exile (as made evident with the many “free Earl” references throughout the album), so this can hardly be held against them. But there’s something about Earl’s demonic lyrics and structured rhyme scheme that served as a perfect compliment to Tyler, the Creator and it’s been sorely missed while he was away. The timing of Earl’s return undoubtedly dampened people’s opinions of the album. Who couldn’t possibly be satisfied with just one verse from him?
With most of the collective hard at work on future projects, it’s hard not to appreciate The OF Tape Vol. 2 for what it is; a taste of greater things to come. Tyler, The Creator’s third album Wolf will be ready in May and Ocean’s debut album is expected this spring. As Tyler indicated in the album, he might have trouble maturing but somehow I don’t think this will hinder Odd Future’s bright future one bit.