It was only a year ago that Tyler the Creator’s self-directed video for “Yonkers” spread like wildfire on the Internet, and turned him and the members of his crew, Odd Future, into instant fixtures in the blogosphere.
After several solo projects, a Video Music Award and collaborations with music’s biggest stars, the group has brought its talents together to release “The OF Tape Vol. 2.”
The beginning of the album, a minute-and-a-half-long monologue, properly sets the stage for humor and is a necessary disclaimer for the dark imagery in the album’s lyrics. It also says that Odd Future doesn’t take itself too seriously, so the listener probably shouldn’t, either.
With the compilation’s first single, “Rella,” Hodgy Beats, Domo Genesis and Tyler, the Creator deliver the same type of twisted comedy that has established them as the shock entertainers of Odd Future, fully equipped with lines about giving your girlfriend STDs and channeling one’s inner Kimbo Slice in a brawl.
The video takes things a step further, featuring scenes of Hodgy donned in a “Halo”-like costume receiving a lap dance while Tyler appears as a cocaine-abusing centaur complaining about the lack of Kanye West music being played.
The most noticeable difference between the first and second tapes is the newfound R&B influence prevalent on multiple tracks, without a doubt inspired by singers Frank Ocean and Syd Tha Kyd and their increased relevance in the public eye.
In “White,” Ocean employs the soulful crooning, lush harmonies and vivid imagery that have catapulted him to being the most critically acclaimed artist in Odd Future. Syd and producer Matt Martians form as “The Internet” to deliver the album’s sole dance track, “Ya Know.” The song’s drum pattern and synthesizers are stylistically reminiscent of 1990s New Jack Swing and serves as the backdrop for a story about a romantic encounter sparked at a club.
Team spirit lies at the center of this album’s ideology and the outro, “Oldie”, is a 10-minute-long posse cut featuring the majority of the members giving their most consistent lyrical performances of the album. With its jazz horn hits and hip-hop drums, “Oldie” reveals its hidden gem at around the 8-minute mark: Earl Sweatshirt. Leaving rumors about his Samoan-based disappearance in the air, the mystery man delivers a show-stealing verse, summing up the album’s theme and validating Tyler’s final proclamation that, “not only are we talented, we’re rad as f--k.”