At the start of his profession, Hodgy was an in a position foil. Odd Future was a collective stuffed with rap hellions intent on pushing boundaries as typically as they pushed clothes lined in cats, however even inside that hectic framework, Hodgy’s voice was all the time recognizable. The upper register of his voice caught out subsequent to the deeper rasps of Tyler, The Creator and Domo Genesis, giving every verse a way of urgency, even when his bars weren’t significantly spectacular. A lot of the joys of verses like his Tumblr-referencing breakthrough on “Sandwitches” or the primary strains of “Loaded”—a standout from he and producer Left Mind’s duo MellowHype—got here from the slickness of his phrases, how they’d distinction with the richer timbres of his collaborators or the spacey beats of the manufacturing.
However as he moved on to solo work, his skills started to wane. After various mixtapes, he launched his 2016 “debut” Hearth: TheNotTheOtherSide, which featured bursts of robust rapping and singing tied to vague writing. For all of the gusto of his marathon-like stream on “Remaining Hour” or his ballooning voice on “Resurrection,” it felt like anybody may’ve written most of those songs. This stays the issue on his newest EP Entitled, which exhibits he’s nonetheless a good performer with out telling us why we must always care. It’s a tighter and extra centered expertise than Hearth, however solely by advantage of it being 5 songs lengthy as a substitute of 13.
That lack of focus is ironic contemplating the monitor titles spell out a declarative sentence: “Daily, folks grow to be somebody we by no means knew once more.” Whether or not that is some form of meta-commentary or only a whoa, dude weedism, the thinness of his lyrics don’t do his singing or rapping any favors. Whereas Hodgy switches between each modes with technical aptitude, bars like “Daily I’m on my grind like a skateboarder/I’m a g, I’m on my rind like a shaved orange” from opener “On a regular basis” are useless on arrival. Rappers have constructed total aesthetics round promoting punchlines— Roc Marciano and Pi’erre Bourne are professionals at this—however theirs are connected to tales, a definite worldview that doubles as a glimpse at their character. Attempt as he may, empty strains like “Complicated just like the journal” from “Individuals Change” don’t have the identical mileage.
As a comic book rapper, Hodgy’s bars are stale and fundamental. On high of being unfunny, his lyrics lack element, a way of place or geography, or a particular character to bolster him when he begins telling tales. He comes shut a couple of instances with stray nods to Anita Baker songs (“Into Somebody”) and the energetic verse that closes out “Individuals Change.” However these fleeting moments shortly dissolve. The love songs lack longing and chemistry, leaning on drained metaphors like “hanging like ornaments” and shallow discuss of experiences that by no means dives into what these experiences may imply. At their most severe, they sound like unfinished campfire sing-alongs.