Mellow Hype, "BlackenedWhite"

71 Billboard Rating

Hardcore Odd Future fans are likely to have downloaded BlackenedWhite when rapper Hodgy Beats and producer Left Brain (who together form MellowHype) posted it online for free last October. But thanks to the media attention surrounding the early-May release of Tyler, the Creator's Goblin, there's no doubting that this Los Angeles hip-hop collective now plays to more than just a devoted cult. So here we have a slightly retooled version of MellowHype's album from the folks at Fat Possum, who've experienced some crossover success with the likes of Lissie and Band of Horses. Among the many Odd Future efforts already circulating on the Internet, BlackenedWhite was a wise choice for an attempted mainstream incursion: It's got enough of the outfit's deranged humor to titillate tourists (see tracks "Gunsounds" and "Deaddeputy"), but softens the edginess with a pronounced pop sensibility ("Rico," featuring Odd Future's in-house soul smoothie Frank Ocean). "Can all my sexy ladies wave your hands?" Hodgy asks on "Right Here." They can probably manage that.

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