Hip-hop duo MellowHype is an offshoot of Odd Future, the Los
Angeles-based collective that birthed blog darling/scourge Tyler, the Creator. MellowHype’s latest album, “BlackenedWhite,” adheres to a Tyler-like mission statement: lots of impressive rapping and beats, and even more carefully calibrated controversy (starting with the cover, an upside-down cross), although, unlike Tyler’s latest, it’s more concerned with violence than sex.
“BlackenedWhite” was initially released as a free download last Halloween, and this physical, re-mastered version, which seems to have subtracted more songs than it has added, is casually ghoulish (creepy single “64”), depressingly literal (“Gunsounds” has lots of gunshots) and occasionally great (“Rico,” with OF’s Frank Ocean).
But mostly, it’s a gangsta-rap album made by kids who grew up absorbing the genre’s surface lessons but not its terrible urgency. Spacey and self-absorbed (one track is titled “[Expletive] the Police”), it’s history’s most languid gangsta-rap album.