Album Review of Fireplace: TheNotTheOtherSide by Hodgy.
Release Date: Dec 23, 2016
Record label: Odd Future
Genre(s): Rap, Alternative Rap
Back in 2009, Gerard Long, then known as Hodgy Beats instead of simply Hodgy, was the first Odd Future member to release a solo tape. Although he didn't complete his proper debut album, Fireplace: TheNotTheOtherSide, until 2016, there was an abundance of Hodgy-related releases during the intervening years: projects as part of OF, MellowHype, and MellowHigh, solo mixtapes and EPs, and appearances on a few albums worth of cuts, such as Tyler, The Creator's "Sandwitches. " All the while, juvenile provocation and stoned eccentricity gradually became less prominent in Long's output.
Out 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.
Technically, Fireplace: TheNotTheOtherSide is the debut solo album from Hodgy (née Beats). The Odd Future co-founder has been in the public eye, however, for over half a decade. He’s released six solo mixtapes and EPs, five projects with MellowHype, MellowHigh, and been prominently featured on all three OF group efforts—not to mention the “Sandwitches” verse that landed him on national TV.
At this point, the idea of an Odd Future member growing up isn’t necessarily newsworthy. Tyler, The Creator and Earl Sweatshirt—the two best-known members of the hip-hop collective outside of Frank Ocean—have both managed to build careers that move beyond the controversy of their earlier lyrics. That’s not to say they’re completely above rapping about stomach-churning sex, violence, and general juvenilia, but even a sick joke of a song like “Fucking Young / Perfect” at least has a conflicted morality to it.