It is no secret that Odd Future, the LA based hip-hop collective started by Tyler, The Creator ten years ago, has spawned some of the most revered creative talents in the music industry as a whole.
Aside from Tyler, Frank Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt have also gone on to have hugely successful solo careers, with each artist becoming something of a pop culture sensation and respectively garnering cult followings.
However, an arguably lesser known ex-member, Syd, older sister to the group’s lovable Taco, has proven to be somewhat of a hidden gem. Her own project, neo-soul band The Internet, has gone from strength to strength since being formed with another ex-OF member, Matt Martians, in 2011. Their third studio album, Ego Death, was particularly well received, nominated for Best Urban Contemporary Album at the 2016 Grammy Awards.
With Syd once again taking a break from collective thinking, is Fin a fair reflection of her talents as a solo artist?
Opening with the slow burning ‘Shake ’Em Off‘, before ‘Know‘ offers an increase in tempo, the fragility of Syd’s delicate vocals is immediately emphasised by the offbeat nature of the backing drum machine. ‘No Complaints‘ is a short but sweet interlude prior to ‘Nothin to Somethin‘, with both possessing a quintessential R&B sound.
Despite the self-centred nature of the lead single’s title, ‘All About Me‘ is a song that celebrates a sense of individuality among friends. With production by The Internet’s 18-year-old prodigy Steve Lacy and Odd Future’s Tyler, Mike G, and Hodgy all featuring in the video, it becomes obvious that Syd going solo hasn’t disrupted her ties to either group – emphasised in the hook’s first line: “Take care of the family that you came with”.
‘Smile More‘ washes over the listener with soothing waves, reminiscent of the aforementioned Frank Ocean earlier in his career, before the ethereal synth-ridden nature of ‘Got Her Own‘ and another interlude, ‘Drown in It‘. Next comes the second single, ‘Body‘, a track that celebrates Syd’s sexuality, with a sensual and pulsating depiction of friskily imploring to her lover – and the girl in question’s shapely form – that “The bed is your stage / Take it away / Put on a show / Put on a play”.
Steve Lacy returns on ‘Dollar Bills’, this time showcasing his skills as a guitarist, while Over features an emotively airy cameo from 6LACK, before the eclectically funky ‘Insecurities‘ brings proceedings to a triumphant conclusion.
Prior to this debut effort, Syd’s reputation preceded her, due to her previous ties to Odd Future and her avant-garde success with The Internet. However, Fin marks Syd stepping into the spotlight and embracing the fact that, sometimes, it can be all about her.
Fin is released this Friday (3rd February) and you can pre-order it here.
Words by Jonno Mack