Published Dec 09, 2016Out of all the active MCs who were instrumental in forming Odd Future, Hodgy (formerly Hodgy Beats) was the first to deliver a project with The Dena Tape in 2009, but he's coming to the table with a full-length solo release much later than his former crewmates. That being said, Fireplace:TheNotTheOtherSide is the spark Hodgy's career needed.
An MC who could still impress in the shadow of both Tyler and Earl at Odd Future's peak, Hodgy has, like those peers, undergone musical changes. Where Tyler pushed his music to more colourful places and Earl made his angst-ridden feelings of loneliness and self-loathing more articulate, Hodgy's tone and subject matter have lightened considerably. Though his renewed faith in God is woven throughout the record, he raps directly to the most high on "Resurrection," exclaiming, "I wanna spread positivity like it's leprosy, lord," a far cry from his dour EP work or Odd Future's shock bars.
But even in the record's bleaker places, Hodgy's delivery still hits with both hunger and hopefulness as he navigates staying the course mentally with Lil Wayne on "Tape Beat" and self-motivates through the intense "They Want" and "The Now." Honest in his approach and humble in his delivery, Hodgy's patchwork of boom-bap-indebted production from the likes of BADBADNOTGOOD, Knxwledge and even Unknown Mortal Orchestra is icing on the cake.
While the self-examination he committed to tape this time around isn't quite as pointed as those of other figures in the genre this year, it's a worthwhile story to hear as we welcome Hodgy back to the mic. (Columbia)