Hodgy, formerly known as Hodgy Beats, now adopting a new persona tries his hand with the newest release, Fireplace: TheNotTheOtherSide. Focusing more on his personal story, gone are the Odd Future lines that seem almost like a lifetime ago. This is a new chapter on Hodgy’s career and life, and a step in the right directions.
The introduction, “Nitro” speaks about the “That fire inside, not that head… it’s not what’s in your head. In our head they tellin’ you, ‘They gonna shoot you, they gonna kill you, they gonna…You could have all the money in your pocket and you dead in five seconds from a car crash, you know what I’m saying?’” Hodgy is not entirely present on “Nitro” and the spoken-word is instead read by a woman’s voice that is basically explaining that anyone can end up dead, and nothing but death is an absolute in life.
This then leads into the first real track, “Kundalini” Kundalini is a type of primal energy which is located at the bottom of the spine in Hindu culture . Hodgy channels this energy through a boom-bap style beat that uses warping synthesizers in the background and a steady hi-hat to make up the instrumental. There is also a feature from Salomon Faye who starts the track off with a few bars about, “Shape shifting, better plains of existence. Enter this dimension by the words of the sentence, willpower by real power, creation be the sorcerer,” and “Slayer and savior, leader and player, player hater, how you unworthy of the presence.”
Trailing right behind is Hodgy and his debut appearance on the Fireplace: TheNotTheOtherSide. Hodgy begins with a passive, but aggressive lyrical style that brings more of a laid back approach, but some more than slick bars, “It is he that holds the key to places between heaven and hell… I’m a man, I’m a sinner, oh lord forgive me, forgive us. This world is fading, it’s crippled. Draw up the contract in the stipulation.” The outro of “Kundalini” is more of a glory-ridden instrumental that uses electric guitar to resonate through the last few moments before leading in the heavenly toned single, “Barbell.”
Ethereal voices and an R&B styled percussion are present here, making the true focus of the track become Hodgy’s vocals. He includes some lines about, “I’mma tear it up and rip shit apart nigga, Hey, I’mma play my part nigga… Most people come and intoxicate your circle, suck the life out of your circle.” His lyrics here are more story driven and talk more in depth about the means of an end, rather than his beginnings.
This allows “Resurrections,” which is one of the better tracks on Fireplace: TheNotTheOtherSide through both production and lyrical levels. The production on this track is conspired of backing bass lines, rattling hi-hats, and a sampled voice that makes up the beast or hydra of an instrumental. There is also a chorus where Hodgy can shine through where he ecstatically explains, “I’m thankful for my life, I’m grateful. We all gonna die someday.” Here, this is where Hodgy has similar verses in the subject matter of “Barbell,” as he discusses his death, and what will ultimately lead him there.
A dreamy piano and crashing hi-hats are the opening of the next track, “They Want.” Hodgy becomes more energized here and includes some lines about, “They want you to fail, they want you to hate yourself,” and a line about “I know myself thoroughly, lead to attraction. When you’re taking to me, look at me, don’t be distracted.” He concludes on how immensely proud he is of his accomplishments and how he became his own master, “I’m a boss nigga, cut your circulation off nigga. Deal with your issues that you gotta resolve, I ain’t involved with ya.” Hodgy then takes the action into more of an authentic sound with the next track, “Final Hour.”
Using an upright bass and some more than flashy percussion to make up the instrumental, Hodgy becomes an animal and spits his lyrics in such a rapid fashion and this could be in tandem to the way that Busta Rhymes who is featured on the track, and his incredibly fast style of rhyming. Hodgy and Rhymes are both on similar lyrical styles, but the beat is unfortunately a tad lacking here and does not match their drill like style of rhyming, it is slightly underwhelming when played all together.
“Glory” however, is one of the best instrumentals on Fireplace: TheNotTheOtherSide where Hodgy delivers lyrically as well, “If I could ask for anything it would be apprehension, Malice is pretentious, no further questioning.” The production features a 90’s style piano and an upright bass line, the entirety of the track is similar to what A Tribe Called Quest would do as it contains that certain 90’s charm that Quest was associated with.
Now, a rather strange conceptual beginning, “Laguna” features Hodgy delivering punch lines about, “I’ve learned that ball is life and I’m the goalie. My pride is my treasure; my ego is stashed away like a goatee. My pen is pointy, start provoking. Pain’s what I harbor mostly, and who I talk to openly.” The instrumental here is an intriguing mix that uses waving synthesizers and an incredible focus on a crunching bass drum. The whole sound of “Laguna” is similar to a wave, it cascades and seems to become a melting pot rather than staying as one conglomerate.
“Turkuoise” starts off and is instantly feeling like a missed opportunity for Hodgy as he tried to make a track that feels loving, but just did not have enough to capitalize on it, making it fall short. Hodgy includes some lines like, “Girl, I ain’t chasing to doubt you… I still can’t live without you.” The instrumental was also lacking here and ultimately; the bars just were not as poetic as Hodgy had been doing before.
Following is “Tape Beat,” which features Lil Wayne and is more of a slowed down and faded instrumental that actually works outstandingly and brings a new level of complexity to Hodgy’s sound. Wayne delivers a fairly powerful verse here, rattling off some lines about, “Never let people get near me, when the reaper come get me. That’s when I reap what I’m knitting, so you say you’re gangsta, I’mma need some convincing.” But Hodgy fires back and on a competitive level, Hodgy comes out on top here, delivering some pure lines, “While trying to beat the dead, you’re just feeding existence. Sometimes you need to take a step back and breathe for a minute, before you overreact to the head and intenseness.” There is then the section where Wayne and Hodgy come together to create a duel-wield of punches from both lyricists, “Catch a nigga riding deep in your women, beep goes the jeep so we winning. Friendless, compete with no nigga but myself.”
This is then the catalyst for “Dreaminofthinking,” an interesting bass and vocal heavy track that has Hodgy crushing some lines, “I never dream constantly, onto better things. Living inside my self-consciousness. I walk up to the doorstep, on the mat, and press the bell that rings. Dealing with goals that I’m conquering, edit segments until it works for me.” The instrumentation handled by Knxwledge is busy, but keeps the action flowing and has this “feel-good” tone attached. “Dreaminofthinking” finds itself onto an abrupt ending and then leads to the rather balanced track, “The Now.”
This is Hodgy’s take on making an inspirational track but it fails semi-short. The instrumental feels suited to a lyrical attack rather than the soft-spoken style of Hodgy here and it feels like a missed opportunity again. The two sections just simply do not mix well and could have become more of a focused track if Hodgy had tried to really go in and not rely on the chorus for the shining moments.
Finally, the last track, “DYSLM,” opens with Hodgy stating, “This song is just for fun, so have fun with it.” It speaks about Hodgy’s changing times and how his life had completely performed a 180 spin. Hodgy includes this level of split-personality where he changes his vocal approach and plays two separate characters. The instrumental is strange, relying on thumping bass and an almost cartoonish style of backing instruments, ending on a bitter note with Hodgy stating, “He [I] ain’t shit.” Thus, leaving a bright future for Hodgy and the future of his musical style.