MellowHigh (album)
Released October 31, 2013
Recorded 2012-2013
Length 44:50
Label Odd Future Records
Producer Hodgy Beats, Left Brain
MellowHigh is the debut studio album by American hip hop group MellowHigh, which consists of Odd Future members rappers Domo Genesis, Hodgy Beats and producer Left Brain. The album was released on October 31, 2013 by Odd Future Records. The album features guest appearances from Tyler, The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Smoke DZA, and Curren$y among others.

Background Edit

Since the formation of the group MellowHype, which consisted of rapper Hodgy Beats and producer Left Brain, they frequently collaborated with fellow Odd Future member Domo Genesis. Together they officially formed the sub-group of Odd Future, MellowHigh in 2011. The song "Rella" from The Odd Future Tape Vol. 2 was originally a MellowHigh song. In April 2012 the group released their first two official songs, "Timbs" produced by Lex Luger and "Go". Along with the song's releases, they announced that they would be working on a collaboration project together.

Word on the project would die down, while MellowHype released their second album Numbers, Hodgy Beats released Untitled 2 EP, and Domo Genesis released No Idols with producer The Alchemist. Then on April 20, 2013, the group released a new song and music video, "Troublesome" the first song from their upcoming album. Domo Genesis would state that the entire album was made in two months.

On August 24, 2013, it was revealed their self-titled debut album would be released on October 31, 2013. Domo Genesis said they choose Halloween because, "Well MellowHype put out a project before on Halloween so when it got to the point where we were finished on the album the timing just felt right to do it again to keep the MellowHype spirit going."On October 15, 2013, they released the track list to their self-titled album, revealing guest appearances from Tyler, The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Smoke DZA, Curren$y and Remy Banks.[10]

Release and promotion Edit

The group released promotional vlogs leading up to the release, showing footage of them on the Odd Future European tour 2013 and the recording sessions for the album. On September 13, 2013, MellowHigh released "In The Meantime" a leftover track from the album's recording sessions. On October 28, 2013, the album was released for a limited free stream on MySpace.

During 2013 the group toured Europe with the rest of Odd Future, including the other sub-group EarlWolf consisting of Earl Sweatshirt and Tyler, The Creator. Following the tour, from October 24 through November 26, 2013 MellowHigh will be touring North America on a self-titled tour.

On September 18, 2013, the group released a snippet of the first single "Yu". On October 10, 2013, the self-directed music video for "Yu" was released, along with the album being released for pre-order on iTunes. "Yu" was met with positive reviews from music critics. The following day the audio to "Extinguisher" was premiered viaSoundCloud. On October 28, 2013, the music video was released for "Extinguisher", which included cameo appearances by Tyler, The Creator and Taco Bennett.

Commercial performance Edit

MellowHigh debuted at number 89 on the US Billboard 200, with first week sales of 4,000 copies in the United States.

Critical reception Edit

MellowHigh was met with generally positive reviews from music critics. Lizzie Plaugic of CMJ stated, "As a trio, MellowHigh has the potential to be more complex and more convoluted than MellowHype, but rather than aiming for a higher level of consciousness, the group’s first LP aims below the belt." Later saying "The trio proves it has a fat bag of tricks: floaty fast rhymes (Get’n Drunk), high gravity boom bap (Troublesome) and haunting alien lullabies (Nobody)." Kyle Kramer of Pitchfork Media said, "Left Brain has shifted his sound from low-budget noir to blockbuster dystopian thriller, and he particularly excels on tracks like the looming "Air" and the climactic "Cold World". These beats are huge, intimidating walls of sound. It may be that surprising people is a young man's game, and it's time for Domo Genesis and Hodgy Beats to settle into their comfortable roles as confident, reliable spitters. But for an album that sounds as off-the-wall as MellowHigh, it feels like a bit of a cop out to be content with insubstantial rapping." Laurence Day of The Line of Best Fit said, "MellowHigh is rife with peaks and valleys; sometimes, you’ll pray for it to end, in other moments, you’ll wish they’d hurry up for LP numero dos. The overall result is something that painfully needed some outside influences, perhaps another producer to steer them in a worthwhile direction – it’s an aimless, winding record that occasionally stumbles upon greatness."

Brian Josephs of XXL gave the album a "L" rating saying, "The beat selection is decent in the first quarter of the album with a genuine banger in "Yu," but soon we get the drowsy, staccato synths of if "Self Titled" and the skippable drone of "Troublesome." There’s stomping percussion on "Roofless" and neon-gazing synths on "Cold World," but nothing really sounds all that definitive. The lack of effervescence on Left Brain’s part isn’t something Hodgy Beats can make up for either. Yes, he’s as technically intact as ever, and yes, Domo Genesis does drop the occasional zinger. But whether it’s lack of charisma or the limited subject matter, nothing really sticks. The haphazardly assembled hooks don’t offer much buoyance either, from the lazily performed ones ("Air," "Nobody") to the ill-advised ("Cigarillo"). MellowHigh has its thrills with some credit going to Earl’s playful verse on “Cold World,” but too often the album feels stagnant.[30] Jesse Fairfax of HipHopDXgave the album three out of five stars, saying "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." Stephen Kearse of Respect. gave the album a positive review saying, "In the end, what MellowHigh was going for – a solid demonstration of their ability to make interesting music – was definitely accomplished. One of the dangers of constantly producing music with the same people is staleness. After 4 years of frequent in-house collaborations, one would expect Odd Future to have collectively either plateaued at best or decomposed in a blaze of incestuous banality at worst, but they continue to crank out solid projects. The confidence to push each other, to not take that skill for granted, is something that is unique to Odd Future. Hopefully things will remain that way for years to come."

Track listing Edit

No. Title Producer(s) Length
1. "Goon'n"   Left Brain 3:28
2. "Air"   Left Brain 2:56
3. "Yu"   Left Brain 2:27
4. "Extinguisher"   Left Brain 4:02
5. "Nobody"   Left Brain 3:20
6. "Self Titled"   Left Brain 2:19
7. "Troublesome"   Left Brain 3:24
8. "Get'n Drunk"   Left Brain 2:59
9. "Roofless"   Left Brain 3:26
10. "HighLife" (featuring Curren$y & Smoke DZA) Left Brain 4:41
11. "Cold World" (featuring Remy Banks & Earl Sweatshirt) Left Brain 4:47
12. "Cigarillo"   Hodgy Beats 4:27
13. "Remix" (featuring Tyler, The Creator) Left Brain 2:51