As much as he pleads to the contrary, Tyler The Creator is Odd Future. The latest (Internet only) OFWGKTA release tries really hard to de-emphasize that essential truth and, to a large extent, it succeeds. "OF Tape Volume 2" is the best collective statement the group has made so far.
"Tyler’s personality is so oversized, profanely charismatic, and naturally wired to the frequencies of every teenager who flips off photographers that the rest of the crew's rappers can seem anemic by comparison," says a recent piece about the Odd Future collective in Spin Magazine.
After the ubiqutous spoken-word intro, the record starts off with an 80s bang. "Bitches" serves as a remarkable introduction to lesser-known members Domo Genesis and Hodgy Beats. With a soundtrack seemingly ripped straight from an arcade karate game, the duo doesn't so much rap over the beat as deconstruct it.
"NY (Ned Flander)" keeps Hodgy Beats but adds in Tyler's impossibly deep, silky voice. His lyrical prowess, as always, looms large over everything he touches. When he raps, "I'm planning on firing Clancy, ain't no damn controlling him/You can't carry this gun Cannon Nickelodeon boy/My boy Domo higher than fat bitches sodium/And nuggets greener than the fucking can my Arizona's in," there is no doubt that he has inherited the enunciation crown from former world champion Eminem.
If there was a finishing school for rappers, Tyler would be in charge of the elocution department. That sort-of sounds like an insult, but it's glorious to listen to. "Analog 2" continues the lesson over one of the most inventive beats ever released.
The biggest moment, especially for Odd Future diehards, is "Oldie". The ten minute long track features the return of Earl Sweatshirt, the member who was, legend has it, sent away to a boarding school in Africa just before OFWGKTA came to national prominence. He addresses the absence almost immediately:
"And me? I just spent a year Ferrisin'/And lost a little sanity to show you what hysterics is/Spit to the lips meet the bottom of a barrel/So that sterile piss flow remind these niggas where embarrassed is."
If "Oldie" is any indication, Earl hasn't missed a beat. His voice is as light and airy as Tyler's is dark and ominous. The two make an effective pair.
Tyler, of course, gets the last verse and the last word on the record. It's as effective an ending as ever, dismissing anyone who doesn't understand:
"Always try to turn our fucking color into black and white/But they'll never change 'em, never understand 'em/Radical's my anthem, turn my fucking amps up/So instead of critiquing and bitching, being mad as fuck/Just admit, not only are we talented, we're rad as fuck, bitches."