Having spent more than a decade in Los Angeles hip-hop collective Odd Future, and with a plethora of mixtapes and guest spots to his name, 26-year-old rapper Gerard Long, formerly Hodgy Beats and now simply Hodgy, has finally released a solo studio album, Fireplace: TheNotTheOtherSide. While it’s a clear showcase of the young rapper’s rhyming skills, it’s not let down by the production or musical accompaniment either. “It’s f***ing musical,” he says. “These instruments are crying, and laughing, and searching for something. It’s beyond me just rapping. I’m speaking to reach higher ground.” Ever humorous (“exorcism, cut demons off me like a circumcision”), Hodgy’s inner explorations are more hopeful these days. Guest appearances sit comfortably alongside the accomplished delivery and minimal beats, with Busta Rhymes, Lil Wayne and Salomon Faye stoking the flames.