Three years since their rise towards prominence, evidence suggests Odd Future is yet another camp whose shine risks being dimmed by nepotism that rewards underachievers on the merits of mere affiliation. Whether lack of preparation for glory, charisma, or drive has been to blame, their only Rap act with a considerable measure of stardom remains energetic commander Tyler, The Creator. At a prior point, similar lofty expectations were held for MellowHype (comprised of producer Left Brain and crude stoner emcee Hodgy Beats) given the pair’s capacity to stir up a frenzy amongst hardcore followers, but crew underdog Domo Genesis has recently forged ahead with an insistent need for his high octane hunger to go recognized. The shared love of marijuana has led to MellowHype and Domo forming an offshoot supergroup for a project appropriately named MellowHigh.
Where their clique initially relished in standing apart and leading the pack, MellowHigh’s lowered standards compete with newer acts they’ve already run laps around. “Goon’n” does its best to replicate A$AP Mob’s homages to Southern double-time flows carried by ominous keyboard music, while “Self Titled” has but a trace of ingenuity with its simplistic Trap rhythms. Riding the wave of popular trends is a surefire method of staying afloat, but the trio hardly challenges themselves in the booth or with their production. On “Air,” Left Brain once again experiments with overused rattling percussion; it’s a song that becomes further amateurish thanks to dull rambling from OF’s usually comedic juvenile crony Jasper. “Nobody” also falls short attempting a nearly identical threatening vibe, with both of the aforementioned suffering from poorly sung hooks.
Though MellowHigh distinguishes its brand from their collective’s melodic, chord-driven sound, Left Brain offers up a concession to day one fans with the smoothed out “Yu” (the remix closing the album with a brief yet outstanding guest appearance from Tyler). Here Domo pays due respect to Eminem’s delivery, also supplying a well-crafted chorus which makes for a more complete song than much of what they have to offer. Unquestionably stealing the show, he mows down competition on “Extinguisher” (the record most likely to please those clamoring for boom bap’s resurgence) with sharp punchlines including “Bitch, I’m batting like I’m on PED’s / Niggas woof then switch their words like Baby Boy on BET.” The other notable nod to traditionalism is the New York influenced head nodder “Cold World,” where aspiring newcomer Remy Banks and Earl Sweatshirt tag along for a full-on lyrical barrage accompanied by synths.
As a byproduct of a team that has actualized potential for groundbreaking contributions, MellowHigh misses the mark by a wide margin. Copious consumption of weed has played a factor in many a Hip Hop masterpiece, but in this instance it has Domo Genesis and Hodgy Beats coasting and providing little in the way of anything interesting for the sober-minded. Confusing moments are not limited to “Roofless,” a weak try at reviving the spirit of Crunk architect Lil Jon, perhaps the greatest indicator of inspiration gone awry. Taking cues from the current climate with slight salutes to that which preceded their time, most of the praise for MellowHigh will probably come from those blindly accepting mediocre performance.