MellowHype: Chordaroy Life
From Fred Hampton references to iced tea (yes the beverage, not the rapper). Hodgy Beats runs the gamut and shows why MellowHype is so hard to figure out.
MellowHype flies in the face of everything that is currently going on in Hip Hop—sometimes that even includes the larger Odd Future collective they’re a part of. They possess a youthful rebellion reminiscent of the Beastie Boys or the Pharcyde. At times, they even tap into that same flippant energy while making great music. But, like other Odd Future members, they also frequently say the word “nigger” and tap into the same nonsensical vibe that makes Lil B a kindred spirit. In short, they’re a bit of a post-modern contradiction. So how is it that the same generation that spawned controversial groups like NWA and 2 Live Crew is suddenly both offended by and obsessed with all things Odd Future?
We’re not entirely sure. You’d probably have a better time explaining why a bunch of suburbanites in their thirties, forties and fifties are dictating what’s “cool” in Hip Hop culture to a bunch of people half their age. In hopes of finding out, HipHopDX stole a word with Mellowhype’s Hodgy Beats and talk weed, iced tea, and the state of the rap game. Leftbrain’s only contribution to the conversation was that he was busy and didn’t want to participate. Meanwhile Hodgy got baked before, during (and presumably after) the interview. So, much like MellowHype’s music, the conversation was both revealing, evasive and random. Swag.
HipHopDX: So now that MellowHype has a certain level of acceptance, what would you say you hate most about the Rap game?
Hodgy Beats: I’m not really seeing the game like that. I mean, a lot of these artists have to make radio hits, and we don’t. I can’t really say I don’t like anything right now. People try to give us underhanded comments, but it’s whatever. The game is scared of us right now, they don’t know what the fuck to think. And that’s what I like. I’m like “Nigga, you can’t tell me shit, you’re signed to a label, and I’m signed to myself. So you can suck a dick.” Can’t nobody tell me shit. It’s actually really cool, like the way our whole team just moves together is great. I mean, we know what we’re here for and shit. We know our positions. It’s just like a basketball team, yo…like no lie.
DX: As far as being signed, what made you guys go with Fat Possum for the re-release of Blackenedwhite?
Hodgy Beats: Well actually, they hit us up, and threw the idea out there. We had always thought of re-releasing it later on, but they proposed an offer and we didn’t refuse.
DX: So they gave you that offer you couldn’t refuse?
Hodgy Beats: Yeah, it was actually reasonable, and it made sense. It’s all about timing, so we just accepted the opportunity.
DX: One of the major differences between the original version of Blackenedwhite and the re-release is the track “64.” How did the concept for that video come about?
Hodgy Beats: Well Leftbrain showed me the beat and I was like, “Damn,” and I just wrote to it on the spot. Some songs for us just click like that. So I was listening to it at my manager’s house and he was like, “Yo, we should do a video for this.” We ended up shooting the video at some abandoned building. The shit took like 12 hours…from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. They said that shit was haunted or whatever, but you know, whatever.
DX: Damn, maybe that’s why that it came out the way it did.
Hodgy Beats: Yeah, it was crazy. The snakes are all crawling on my face and I’m tryin’ to rap and shit. Everybody’s saying “Oh that’s so demonic. Oh my God.” But that’s not the point. I’m in a fucking casket, there are snakes on my face, and I’m acting. I’m crafting my art. People don’t see that though. It’s just art. Pay attention to what’s real my nigga, not the bullshit. But that’s the world though.
DX: Do you guys see yourself changing at all if you become more commercially accepted?
Hodgy Beats: I mean, if we ever are commercially accepted, there would be so many blanks and beeps in that shit. People would be like, “Damn, what are they talking about?”
DX: So are you pretty much content at your current level?
Hodgy Beats: Yeah, but our music will definitely change. I mean, everyone’s music changes. But I believe we’ll keep that authentic, Odd Future sound. It wont be like a drastic change. Maybe the lyrics will probably mellow out and shit. Everybody don’t wanna hear that shit all the time. Besides, niggas will grow up and get tired of makin’ that kind of music. It’ll be different, but not your everyday, “Shake yo ass,” “Bitch you got it,” type shit. “Look at this Benz, nigga…I don’t even got a fuckin' apartment and I live in my Benz. But look at this Benz, nigga!” Nah, it’ll be real music. Me and Left work on a lot of music. I try to cut as many as I can without forcing it.
DX: The chemistry seems pretty apparent. Is there any certain method to the workflow?
Hodgy Beats: We’re just going off the vibe. It’s easy for us to crank out the material just because of how we work together. It’s not just me by myself doing everything. I mean I can, but later on we’re doing an album with him [LeftBrain] being the vocalist and me on the beats. We got a lot of stuff in the works.
DX: It sounds like you prefer this current level of notoriety and being able to maintain some artistic freedom.
Hodgy Beats: It’s crazy, because in high school we’d see all these people around us blowin’ up and shit, and we’re like, “What the fuck? Are we not good enough or some shit?” All these weak ass niggas in Los Angeles getting put on, and we can’t get any attention? But it all makes sense now. We grew and matured. It’s cool, and I appreciate everything that’s going on right now.
DX: Now as far as the L.A. scene, I read that you are actually from out East.
Hodgy Beats: Yeah, I was born in East Lawrence, New Jersey and raised in Trenton until I was eight. I moved out to California when my moms got married and shit. So I thank her for that. Otherwise I’d probably be dead right now. I mean, just growing up in those neighborhoods, you’re prone to developing those same habits as everybody else.
DX: What were you listening to back then?
Hodgy Beats: I used to listen to a lot of 50 [Cent] and [Diplomats]. I was real east coast with it…Puff Daddy, Ma$e, [Notorious B.I.G.] and all that.
DX: At what point after you and Leftbrain met, did you guys see that you two could really work well together?
Hodgy Beats: It really just took the first song we made, like when we where in high school and shit. It was different. I always was rappin’ over beats other people had already rapped over. It was just something original. That’s what I wanted as an artist, and I believe he [LeftBrain] wanted the same as a producer at the time. After we made our first song it just made sense. It was like, “This is what we should be doing.”
DX: So going from those initial influences to having a platform, who do you see yourself working with in the future?
Hodgy Beats: I always wanted to make music with Alchemist. That would be pretty dope. I’m actually pretty cool with him, so that’ll happen. If I can get Jay-Z to approve, then I’ll do that. I’d make a song with Jay, or like do a beat for him. That would just be an honor. I really can’t see myself working with anybody in the industry, because I have the friends that I work with. I mean, I respect everybody ‘cause they made it, but it’s a competition. I don’t see myself really working with many artist. There’s no hard feelings. I’m not scared of someone overshining me on the track, because if that was the case, I would just do it for the sake of my pride or whatever. I don’t know, it’s a competition, let’s see who wins.
DX: The phrase “Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All Don’t Give A Fuck” comes with a certain perception. What is something you do give a fuck about?
Hodgy Beats: I mean there are a lot of things we give a fuck about, there are a lot of things we don’t. But, I’d rather not say that shit, motherfuckers be reading all of this shit.
DX: It’s pretty safe to say good music would be on the list though, right?
Hodgy Beats: Yeah that’s all. We just like being able to have our freedom. Niggas ain’t troublemakers like that, we just….I don’t know.
DX: Where would a song like “Loco,” where you referenced Fred Hampton and socialism tie in to that? Are you kickin’ knowledge?
Hodgy Beats: Yeah, I do it every once in a while. I’m very versatile. I’ll do a song where I’m just blabberin’ and rappin’, and then I’ll do some shit like that. I mean, were young, so I’m gonna extend my talents and learn instruments and shit.
DX: Right on. So what’s the craziest thing that has happened to you since people hopped on the OF bandwagon?
Hodgy Beats: Probably kids trying to hurt themselves on purpose, hoping they can come backstage and say what up to us. Shit, I have no clue. Kids jumping off speakers and shit. I mean, I’m not the one to talk. I be jumpin’ off all kinds of shit.
DX: Yeah, but you’re the artist. On another note, do you have any thoughts on that Earl interview in The New Yorker?
Hodgy Beats: I don’t read or pay attention to any of that shit. All them niggas is liars who read The Bible and preach that shit. I don’t feed into it, it’s bullshit. If I can't get in contact with Earl no one can.
DX: Right on, right on. So seeing as how you’re blazing right now, what would you say your favorite Arizona beverage is?
Hodgy Beats: The Green Tea is bomb, just because of the fact it ain’t to sweet and shit. You can’t be drinkin’ all that sweet shit.
DX: Right, I heard you’re not really messing with the fast food either.
Hodgy Beats: Nah. I don’t fuck with fast food unless I’m not in America. Like in Europe they had some bomb-ass McDonalds. The food is real; it actually tastes like a burger.