For many, Odd Future (née Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, or OFWGKTA) was some of our most formative listening — “Yonkers,” in all of Tyler, The Creator’s large bug-eating, vomit-inducing, “threesomes with a triceratops”-claiming glory, was that video, the one we watched with our friends while feasting on our newest convenience store candy acquisitions, probably while playing Call of Duty, angsty and rebellious for no good reason. Like it or not, Syd will forever be inextricably linked to this group and its look. She was Syd tha Kid when she was part of this brand, a key cog in an iconic collective that still sees the effects of its cultural explosion reverberate around the rap industry.
This is fitting, however, because this machine, and its individual parts, function(ed) on disregard. This is Syd, and this is her Fin (whatever that Fin is). It’s the end of something, maybe her Odd Future life, maybe the beginning of some end, or maybe speculation is futile, because this is her proverbial badassness, projected.
It’s there on “Shake Em Off,” to start. What could erroneously be interpreted as an explicit middle finger actually — with conviction — conveys uncertainty, over deliberate and luscious production. Immediately, her current state of being is taken in the context of her past. While this is undoubtedly closer to what she did with Matt Martians as The Internet, it strays, definitively, from the Odd Future vibe. This sound is simultaneously foreign and welcome.
Gradually Syd builds an imposing version of herself, a silent assassin-esque power. “All About Me” flexes via a paced, pulsing beat. Here is Syd’s foremost proclamation of success. In what ultimately amounts to an appropriate boast, the singer reorients the listener’s attention to where it should be — her.
“Smile More” shifts in tempo, and it essentially flares just right. The album’s most overtly sexual track slow jams its way through levels of intimacy en route to “Got Her Own,” a more unabashedly cocky victory lap (“Know you seen her in the magazines, your / Aunty might hate, but it’s flattering, girl”).
It’s all fun, certainly, but Fin would do better with more variation and depth; the instrumentals become repetitive and too often the very ethereality of the production masks shallow lyrical content. Alas, it thrives in its quiet confidence. There’s no Los Angeles hip-hop here, no Funky Bass or Prominent Drum, no Y.G.-esque thump-de-bump and certainly no Tyler fuckaround-ing. Syd strays, and appropriately so.
“Dollar Bills” surprises with tropical guitar from Steve Lacy in addition to his own fun verse. What comes off as a surface-level shtick might, indeed, be a surface-level shtick, but the majority of the release is melodic beauty; even on “Over,” which exhibits a more melancholic grace, there’s an atmospheric quality (this time bolstered by a prodding 6LACK feature) that fundamentally cements the album as her own, unique thing.
Perhaps Syd never fully identified with that potentially too-enveloping OFWGKTA brand. Perhaps she did, and is now more comfortable than ever with moving on from it. This, Fin, is a start, an unapologetic pronouncement of Syd, by Syd. Hopefully there’s more where it came from.