| Sputnikmusic
 

Amid all the excitement generated by Odd Future pair Tyler, the Creator and Hodgy Beats’ show-stealing appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, nobody seems to have noticed that they sold out.

Not that there’s anything expressly wrong with that – it’s just interesting to note when a group that have built their reputation on the uncontrolled, self-consciously offensive speech abandon that schema at the first offer of a plush TV spot. With little or no material in their armoury that would be deemed suitable for network television, Tyler and Hodgy took to the NBC stage with an altered version of new single ‘Sandwitches,’ minus the four f-words contained in the first line and numerous instances thereafter.

In spite of Tyler’s liberating use of the entire set during his performance and an unusual diversion involving a gnome, the duo’s performance was notable for how tame it was in comparison to the group’s deliberately provocative material. Tyler’s debut mixtape, 2009’s hugely promising Bastard, runs the gamut of hip hop clichés from misogyny, homophobia and rape fantasies right through the trite devotion to his mom. The beats are simplistic and undeniably raw, but there’s an obtuse sense of melody on tracks like ‘Odd Toddlers,’ ‘French!’ and ‘Bastard’ that hint at the potential of this 19-year-old, husky-voiced artist.

The concept of a hip hop collective is one that is alien to most rock critics who are wedded to the ideal of the nuclear four- and five-piece rock band, but the temptation to compare them with the Wu-Tang Clan should be avoided. In style, though they reject the label, Odd Future have much more in common with the horrorcore rappers of the mid-nineties, particularly Wu-Tang alumni Gravediggaz and Esham, both of whom had a profound effect on Eminem, whose particular style is the most obvious influence on Tyler’s desperate rasp.

It’s worth remembering that Tyler, like the other members of the collective, has barely reached the age of seniority, and has two years to go before he’s legally allowed to drink under the United States’ hilariously outdated alcohol laws. His promise is evident to all but the least discerning ear, but his execution is undeniably juvenile. Fans will hear him ruthlessly scythe his absentee father with the line, “Fuck  a deal, I just want my father’s email, so I can tell him how much I hate him in detail.” However his focus just as quickly wanders, and he’s soon excoriating faggots and lining up women as dispassionate fuck-stations.

Which is essentially the problem with Odd Future: they are only as complex as the standard rap lexicon allows them to be, which, with a couple of notable exceptions, is not very complex at all. Whereas Tyler is justifiably in awe of his mother, his relationship to women is not different than that of Tupac Shakur, who had similar reverence for his mother while treating every other woman in his lyrics as a sex object. Shakur had the benefit of a (tragically short) career to justify his conflicted attitude towards women. Tyler has had no such time, but he does have the records of those more complex artists, and in any case youth is no excuse for misogyny. Renaissance man he is not.

However youth is very much at the core of what makes Odd Future what they are. Above all, they are a group of angst-filled teenage males and they, predictably, appeal primarily to overstimulated teenage males – though, impressively, this demographic seems to transcend class and race. Their audience is, in many cases, younger than them and almost exclusively male. That’s very much the secret to their success: whereas modern hip hop has embraced r&b to the point where it’s almost unusual to hear a mainstream rap song without a soaring (female-sung) chorus, Odd Future are unabashedly and aggressively masculine. They don’t care that women don’t listen to or identify with their music: they don’t respect women, so they couldn’t care less if they don’t listen to them.

Odd Future’s male-dominance goes beyond the mere absence of women and the outward misogyny of their lyrics. Musically, Odd Future cede very little to the opposite sex: there’s very little groove or danceability to their songs. Lil Wayne’s lyrics may be similarly macho in outlook, but his music is sexy. Odd Future’s music is as primitive, aggressive and macho as heavy metal. Indeed, it would be no surprise to learn that the group were devotees of the devil’s music – they wore masks bearing the upside-down cross on Fallon, after all. Glen Benton would appreciate the sentiment, if not the extremity, of the gesture.

Their apparently genuine distaste for religion hints at a hitherto unrealised nuance, but for no much of their appeal hinges on their arguably controversial lyrics and genuine promise as musicians. As we’ve come to expect from internet phenoms, their fanbase is small but vocal, and extremely protective of its charge. Most observers will notice a kinship with fellow outcasts Insane Clown Posse: whereas Juggalos find strength and confidence in numbers, Odd Future fans have found similar unity of purpose in the anonymity and associated hubris of the online community.

It will be interesting to see how Odd Future’s online fanbase will develop as the group sidles towards mainstream success. Tyler will release his first solo album proper, Goblin, later this year on the world’s premiere indie label, XL Recordings, home of M.I.A. and Dizzee Rascal. The group’s appearance on Fallon is unlikely to be their last, and what have been sparse and geographically-dispersed performances to date are likely to become more regular and more localised as the group become more popular.

Nevertheless, Odd Future are unlikely to penetrate the mainstream in the same way as Wu-Tang did in the ‘90s. Even more so than the unashamedly nerdy Wu-Tang, Odd Future appeal to a very specific demographic of kids who have scant interest in paying for records, a fact tacitly acknowledged by the group when they began to issue mixtapes from the off without any real commercial plan. They’ll be a big live draw, for sure, but barring an about-turn from the immensely-talented Tyler, it’s difficult to see their buzz status extending much further than it has.

Not such an odd future after all.





Deviant.
02.21.11
Bastard came out in '09 DDS

Xenophanes
02.21.11
The amount of hype surrounding these guys as of late is insane

robertsona
02.21.11
THIS IS LONG. NEVER TOO FAR. SWAG WOLF GANG FREE EARL FUCK STEVE HARVEY OFWGKTA DON'T GIVE A FUCK SWAG THE FUCK OUT

cvlts
02.21.11
wow, really dave?

psykonaut
02.21.11
wolf gang wolf gang wolf gang wolf gang golf wang

Captain North
02.21.11
Ergh, why do people who promote misogyny, homophobia etc deserve praise at all

Kris.
02.21.11
dammit dave why you gotta do this to me

robertsona
02.21.11
idk to me it just makes for engaging listening. it taps into all that Dark Shit that we all know shouldnt be there but these dudes just face it head on by being ridiculously ignorant of all etiquette and morals and etc--i don't LIKE homophobia AT ALL but we need artists like this who just hate everything i guess...it's like eminem (duh) in that it's sort of fun to see from where it stems, as well as where their actual personalities end and where the Odd Future "Put-On" of rape misogyny etc. puts on. and they just rock shit too

robertsona
02.21.11
that being said, i like the No Target Left Behind approach that these guys take...they dont just hate homos. they hate everything, sorta. makes it easier to swallow in a way

but idk if i want to think about odd future as much as bump yonkers for the fiftieth time in a week and scream along the lyrics. they are fun to talk about tho

Tyler
02.21.11
the pope goes on TV with upside down crosses all the time, it's not exactly edgy

AngelofDeath
02.21.11
Yeah, but there's kind of a reason behind that.

Inveigh
02.21.11
I disagree with a lot of what's said in this piece, but I have expressed the same concern of these guys devolving into a gimmick-act before. I just think that in the same way Eminem and Wu-Tang were able to transform songs with disturbing subject matter into hits, these guys are just too talented to not find a way to adapt.

I mean, just like a lot of death metal bands towe the line between Cannibal Corpse and Obituary, we'll just have to wait and see what happens with OF. Personally, I think that's a major factor to all of the intrigue -- as in, where are these guys headed? It's just interesting as fuck.

Jom
02.21.11
I don't understand how acts like this get any notoriety whatsoever. It's just unimaginative drivel with no real redeeming qualities - just like their target audience. This sounds like the soundtrack that would speak to Seung-Hui Cho if he was a legit gangsta and not what he really was.

Inveigh
02.21.11
so... can we add Jom and Dave into the "too old to get it" crowd?

robertsona
02.21.11
jom severely lacks in swag

Kris.
02.21.11
seems like most of the mods lack in swag tbh

Xenophanes
02.21.11
"but we need artists like this who just hate everything i guess.."

I'd say that you are using "need" pretty liberally there....

Tyler
02.21.11
upside down crows is a sign of respect for christ's superiority

Tyler
02.21.11
odd future, like icp, are really just a bunch of evangelists.

Kris.
02.21.11
but tylers said multiple times that he hates religion what is this madness

Tyler
02.21.11
Yonkers is the best thing any of them have done by the way. I like Bastard and Sweatshirt, but they're both clearly albums done by bratty kids. Lots of talent to be harnessed but they'll get better when they arent triyng so hard.

cvlts
02.21.11
@Tyler. all of bm is one big hypocrisy

AngelofDeath
02.21.11
It's attributed to Peter's being crucified upside down. Peter started the Church, so it's in reference to him. The inverted cross has been associated with the Papacy far longer than it has with Satanism.

Inveigh
02.21.11
I agree This Life, bowel movements are totally hypocritical

patroneyes
02.21.11
from tyler's twitter some time ago "I can't fucking wait to sell out"

well written article, even though i enjoy golf wang immensely.

mos def gets it, niggas

alachlahol
02.21.11
dudes try waaaay too hard and you hipsters eat it up like hotcakes

theacademy
02.21.11
"whereas modern hip hop has embraced r&b to the point where it’s almost unusual to hear a mainstream rap song without a soaring (female-sung) chorus,"

this is pretty questionable, especially written on a site like sputnik. rich, overeducated, white people did this to rap...

theacademy
02.21.11
lets not confuse the puppet with the puppeteer

Captain North
02.21.11
Being offensive in that way stop being edgy a long long time ago.

Electric City
02.21.11
old people itt

SHAKEandBAKE
02.21.11
One of the most interesting blogs I've read thus far. I'm curious what the audience for Odd Future truly consists of though. I'm struggling to find a way to say this without sounding stupid, but do a lot of "thuggish" black people actually listen to this or is it mainly hipsters like us who think we need to listen to better hip-hop?

Athom
02.21.11
Some of their songs are crap, some of them are good. And as someone that is on the hype train for odd future (well at least tyler and earl... the actual odd future release is kinda shitty)I can admit that the reason that sandwiches was so good on the fallon performance was because of the energy they exuded (and fucking mos def). the single version of that song is rather listless and that has to do mainly to the beat sucking when not performed by the roots. I think that Tyler definitely has a future beyond the shock and awe of Bastard and await what he can do with a better production value. if it continues to sound like yonkers then i'll enjoy it. it wont be something i play all the time but when im feeling like being all aggro it would definitely come up on my play list.

Athom
02.21.11
mainly white kids

Athom
02.21.11
thuggish black people listen to Keith Sweat (sorry for the triple post)

Kris.
02.21.11
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KoIYwcmIuU

speaking of keith sweat

Josh D.
02.21.11
Rap music.

Kris.
02.21.11
tbh everyone takes odd future way too seriously
its just a bunch of kids skateboardin talkin bout rapin chicks havin fun
they don't take themselves seriously at all

Josh D.
02.21.11
Rape = not serious

Electric City
02.21.11
lol

psykonaut
02.21.11
what, it's just rape nbd

Electric City
02.21.11
interesting, cmg posted its anti hype response today. but im sold, sorry

Hawks
02.21.11
It doesn't really matter at all whether or not they go mainstream, they're obviously not gonna change their personalities and lyrical content. More people should know about them anyways.

bewareofdog
02.21.11
Regarding the whole no-respect-for-women thing:
All of the Odd Future recordings are engineered by Syd tha Kid, who is the only female member of Odd Future. Tyler has talked in interviews about how amazing she is at making all their recordings sound good. So not only is there a female member, she has a huge say in the group's sound.

theacademy
02.21.11
lol that^^^ sorta destroys "They don’t care that women don’t listen to or identify with their music: they don’t respect women, so they couldn’t care less if they don’t listen to them."

bewareofdog
02.21.11
Also I feel like we already had the debate about political correctness in hip hop like 10 years ago when Eminem got huge. You make it sound like the homophobia and misogyny limit OF's potential to make serious or respectable music, last I checked the Marshall Mathers LP was pretty widely respected, even though a big part of the album is pure shock value.

theacademy
02.21.11
no a lot has changed since then... political interest groups have hijacked free speech and artistic expression, gangster rap died, lyricism has taken a (distant) backseat to production in popularized hip hop... it's like not important until you can remix it or mash it up with some shitty indie rock...


liledman
02.21.11
some good points in this article, followed by some bad ones. interesting though.

Titan50
02.21.11
Odd Future are just trolls

Trolls that are good at rap

Idnuf
02.21.11
Any blog talking about them misses the point. They're not there to be analyzed, they're just a bunch of kids fucking around (and making entertaining music while doing so).

AliW1993
02.21.11
This was a great read, you're definitely my favourite staff blogger. It'll be interesting to see if these guys face any kind of backlash.

Hawks
02.21.11
SWAG! SWAG! SWAG! SWAG!

theacademy
02.21.11
yo FUCK STEVE HARVEY

Enotron
02.21.11
waking up with random girls like "yo bitch how the fuck we meet"

Urinetrouble
02.21.11
Dave's a hater sadly. These guys are too good. hopefully they blow up and become the next eminem without hte shitty late career choices. hip hop needs controversy again

tkxxx7
02.21.11
I don't think they're amazing, but I like them. People shouldn't take them so seriously. Like someone stated above, they're just fucking around.

JWT155
02.21.11
Who says their messing around? They make descent music, that's all I care about, could care less about gimmicks.

Electric City
02.21.11
listening to bastard, i can see how tyler takes eminem's penchant for shock value, but it's so constant, I can see how it sort of loses its effect no matter how many times he talks about raping women.

that said, the beats, vibe, and feel of the album do accomplish something special. really looking forward to Goblin, especially after Yonkers

robertsona
02.21.11
wrt "playing around", once again, isn't that the fun? it's the eminem effect--some of us like them because we know they must be just messing around because, i don know, look up some youtube videos and they just seem like chill dudes. some of us like them because this is MURDER RAPE MUSIC that purges our inner demons or whatever. but, most of all, a lot of it is figuring out what's just "messing around"--them putting on a persona--and them actually being these scary fucking dudes who do this--or at least think about this--terrible shit they rap about

also, i feel like ofwgkta is soon just gonna be a term for "tyler"...not sure how much longer the rest of the dudes (except maybe earl or hodgy) can hang on.

tkxxx7
02.21.11
yeah , the other guys are getting boring ...

Kris.
02.21.11
"SWAG! SWAG! SWAG! SWAG!"


goddammit hawks you are so fucking white

theacademy
02.22.11
tyler is an inferior MC to hodgy beats... tyler is just funnier, smarter, better lyricist, etc....

theacademy
02.22.11
also "and them actually being these scary fucking dudes who do this"

lol they so scrawny + didnt one or some of them go to film school? no way anyone can find these guys scary

SHAKEandBAKE
02.22.11
Somebody tell satan that I want my fucking swag back.

ECRbubs
02.22.11
http://i.imgur.com/ouqQK.jpg

GOLF WVNG

but um...I find that the (yes) art of their music surpasses some necessary ethical boundary. To me it’s like “Kim” or the rest of MMLP, or more recently, DOOM's “Batty Boyz”. We hear this clearly lewd, homophobic lyricism that defies our ethical views, but we allow it because it is good music and good art and it cannot be taken at face value. It may be something inseparable from Odd Future and if that is dealbreaker to some or many, then so be it. I just love the music. It really does seem like years since anyone has rapped with such vile honesty, their just-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude unleashed on every track. As a collective, OFWGKTA’s potential is enormous.

The "Yonkers" video reminds me a bit of when Xiu Xiu released their “Dear God, I Hate Myself” video last year, which featured band member Angela Seo forcing herself to vomit. “Yonkers” is, in my opinion, a lot better though, it is definitely produced better. The racking focus and the beat are a chilling combination and the ending all make it great art.

tkxxx7
02.22.11
"It doesn't really. It shows that they have a use for a woman. No more than having a black friend means a person couldn't possibly be racist."

I could have use for a person all I want, but that doesn't mean they have to be a part of my group.

captaincrunch11
02.22.11
Yonkers fucking slays

theacademy
02.22.11
""lol that^^^ sorta destroys 'They don’t care that women don’t listen to or identify with their music: they don’t respect women, so they couldn’t care less if they don’t listen to them.'"

It doesn't really. It shows that they have a use for a woman. No more than having a black friend means a person couldn't possibly be racist."

Well it certainly shows that they respect her, showering her musical talent in praise... I think the problem with this entire post (besides both titles) is that you are playing anthropologist... you're looking at them through a lens that (perhaps) might not be appropriate... you can't profess to know these kids very well (truthfully, most if not all of us cannot either) without making these sweeping generalizations about what "angst-filled teenage males" are capable of... i don't know how old you are (you might even be younger than me) but this whole thing feels pretty out of touch + useless...

Hawks
02.22.11
Chambered hit the nail on the head right there.

Fort23
02.22.11
"I don't understand how acts like this get any notoriety whatsoever. It's just unimaginative drivel with no real redeeming qualities - just like their target audience. This sounds like the soundtrack that would speak to Seung-Hui Cho if he was a legit gangsta and not what he really was"

if you honestly believe this, than you have not heard about 5/7ths of OF's music. complete F.A.C.T. no dancing around it whatsoever.

and does anyone honestly find odd future that shocking? they talk about rape in like four songs, and everyone except for tyler and earl shys away form it completely. get learnt

Dummit
02.22.11
my main apprehension about a lot of rap/hip hop is blatant 'i do all this for god' or ' i owe this to god' BS. this, on the other hand... it speaks to me, not about the misogynistic, homophobic themes, but in the 'were not going to be constantly looking up and pointing our fingers to the sky' sort of way.

its real unrelenting, genuinely pissed off at anything and everything, having fun doing whatever they want to do music, and i am all for that.

Fort23
02.22.11
yeah if you don't like OF your a fucking lame straight up.

conradtao
02.22.11
There is absolutely nothing about Odd Future that is actually legitimately shocking or controversial. Bastard is a pretty uncomfortable record, yes, but most of OF's other material seems to operate around a fun fuck-it-all approach. Which explains silly songs like Sandwitches and their super-energized performance on Fallon.

Inveigh
02.22.11
yeah the fact that maybe 15% (tops) of their material concerns rape at all, yet has us all talking about it like it's 100% really proves the effectiveness of the tactic in and of itself.

Lost in all of this hyperbolic talk about when and if they're going to sell out is the fact that they already have -- using a couple rape songs as the catalyst.

theacademy
02.22.11
whoa whoa define 'sell out' lol

theres' getting paid selling out and then theres escape the fate/lupe fiasco/avenged sevenfold selling out

i wouldn't write these guys off as sell-outs just because mos def got them on jimmy fallon

Inveigh
02.22.11
lol I didn't mean it as a negative

I meant it in the general way of "breaking out of the underground" -- nothing to do with radio play, money or what have you. Like when fans of a metal band get all pissy because more than 10 people at their high school listen to them now kind of sell out.

I fucking love Odd Future and don't really give a shit how popular they are.

theacademy
02.22.11
oh ok gotcha

i think the term causes way more problems than it should


Inveigh
02.22.11
I agree. I just used it for lack of a better one. I guess I could have said "when and if they're going to get more popular" but I decided to use the wording from teh blog.

theacademy
02.22.11
http://twitter.com/#!/fucktyler/status/40095132170731520

theacademy
02.22.11
his twitter is hilarious

thunder15
02.22.11
thank god you changed the title

AggravatedYeti
02.22.11
oh. wow.

dave this makes you out as a bit of a crotchety old man. all a'fluster over them young whipper-snappers.

OutOfMyself
02.22.11
SWAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG.
But really these guys are pretty good.

lancebramsay
02.23.11
who gives a fuck?

swag

illmitch
02.23.11
this is a pretty dumb article, you're basically using the recordings of earl and tyler to refer to odd future as a whole, when odd future as a whole is a lot more diverse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtZh_zWEcpY

go on, tell me again how they're all angry misogynistic kids

Fort23
02.23.11
BOW!

Inveigh
02.23.11
can't wait for Hodgy and Frank Ocean's collab album, gonna be so ill

Hell is one of my fav rap songs of last year

doomvendingmachine
02.23.11
As a really big hip-hop fan I'm a little embarrassed that I hadn't hear of these guys before the Jimmy Fallon performance. Regardless, "Yonkers" slays.

brutebeard
02.23.11
Great write-up!

HangEmHigh
02.24.11
GOLF WANG

amanwithahammer
02.25.11
Hip-Hop/Rape

DhA
02.25.11
Stupid article. Syd from OF is a girl. This is like some old dude complaining about 4chan. Get over it they're not raping anyone, and they have plenty of chill, "non-aggressive" songs. On Bastard alone there's VCR, Session and a host of other chilled stuff, not to mention all of Rolling Papers and Yellowhite/ Goddamn this article was retarded.

Electric City
02.25.11
i mean bastard is pretty uncomfortable to listen to lets not pretend its all in good fun

theacademy
02.25.11
which parts are not in good fun

also heard "flashlight" for the first time yesterday,,, shit was hotness

808muzik
02.26.11
Swag.

gabethepiratesquid
03.23.11
Syd the Kyd from OFWGKTA is a lesbian, they aren't homophobic. But while I love that they're getting so huge, it bugs the shit out of me that so many new fans get annoying fanatic about that and mention them everywhere they are and are completely obsessed with, "FUCK STEVE HARVEY HURR FREE EARL DURRR" and, "SWAGSWAGSWAGSWAG".

Shit be buggin'

Kris.
03.23.11
you mean like hawks

North0House2
03.23.11
Man, I don't listen to Tyler's stuff much. I'm not one for vocals, let alone really crass ones... But, I like the fact that he's busting boundaries.
I hope they haven't sold out, and even if they have, I hope they stick to their guns.

gabethepiratesquid
03.23.11
Hahaha, Tyler's biggest goal is to win a Grammy. He wants to sell out.
and yeah, like Hawks.

I mean, they're basically like more hip/smarter juggalos.

cirq
03.23.11
#fucksteveharvey

gabethepiratesquid
03.23.11
No, I'm not saying OF are like Juggalos, I'm saying their fans are. Because their new fans are obnoxious and get way into it.

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