A selection of Odd Future readings, after the jump.
The Fader’s Julianne Escobedo Shepherd on Odd Future last August:
It would almost be the resurgence of horrorcore—the thesis line on Tyler’s “Splatter” is somebody tell Satan that I want my fucking swag back—if they weren’t so young (aged 16-20) and concurrently emo, fully open about their depression even as they talk about demonic possession. They are also really, really talented—their story-telling skills are crazy, plus their voices are kinda like listening to bears growling from the back of a cave.
The ILXOR thread, dating to August 2010, and begun with this quote:
there shld probably be an odd future thread to keep an eye on these fatherless children fucked up in the mental
Madbury Club on Odd Future’s NYC debut last fall: “Drink The Kool-Aid.”
Make no mistake about it. The sound is scathing, it’s ignorant, it’s brutal and it’s soulful. There’s a deep detachment and a pain within every snare and clap that doesn’t come from getting kicked by Tyler’s face first stage dives into the crowd. Mr. Lee once said on the Clipse introduction the Hell Hath No Fury that, “this is that dog music.” Well, last night Odd Future introduced the city that knows no slumber to that wolf music. The Wolf Gang is a cult. And with A&Rs salivating at the mouths to sign them, you’re going to hear the barks soon enough.
Sean Fennessey at Pitchfork last fall:
The same sense of interiority that Insane Clown Posse has instilled in the Juggalos, appears to be crucial to Odd Future, too. Their ethos is well-defined– either you’re in or out; for Odd Future or against it. And in that categorical way, it makes them the perfect rap crew for our time: Where we all live on the Internet, alone. Where the darkest corners of desire are a Google search away. Where you can say anything and hide in the shadows of blog commenter anonymity or meme Tumblrs or fake Twitter accounts. And right now is a sublime moment for Odd Future, before they’re not yet exploited and corrupted by the system that is coming for them.
Noz wrote about OFWGKTA in Wire last fall, but you’ll need to buy the issue.
SYFFAL chatted with Tyler, the Creator last fall:
SYFFAL: Since we all are creations of our influences, how would you describe your sound and how do you feel they come across in the music you create?
Tyler: My Sound Is Like: A Mosh Pit At A Jazz Concert. Or Like, Hitler Fucking Dr. Suess.
Caroline Ryder at L.A. Weekly last October:
“Hi, I’m Steve,” says Tyler, Odd Future’s lynchpin. He likes to lie about his name. He also likes to fall down, just for fun. Last week he went out of state for the first time, visiting New York City. He flung himself dramatically down onto the Manhattan sidewalk, and noted that no one seemed to pay much attention. “I prefer L.A.,” says Tyler, who wears a pin on his cap that says, “Fuck Them.”
Tyler says he really loves to masturbate, collects books and was, until very recently, studying film at a community college in West L.A. He dropped out, aware that Odd Future was turning into something that might require all of his time and attention.
The Guardian last fall:
Probably the best entry point is Earl, the break-out track by 16-year-old MC Earl Sweatshirt. A discombobulated lyrical splurge of xxx-rated sex talk and decomposing bodies, it boasts an extremely grisly video in which members of Odd Future knock back a cocktail of soda, weed, pills and cough mixture before hitting the LA streets. There are kids vomiting blood, bodies tumbling off skateboards leaving gory smears along the sidewalk, and in one particularly stomach-churning scene, someone removing their own fingernail with pliers.
B. Michael Payne at Fuse last fall:
Odd Future is poised to blow up, and the music community can exploit them for the sake of thrills, or they can help nurture their talents. No one wants to control or censor the group, but remaining silent about their execrable lyrical content is as self-serving, ignoble and ugly. There’s nothing aesthetically or ethically pleasing about that.
The FADER again, on OFWGKTA in feature length:
Left Brain shows up with a new line knocking around his head. Roll up in a four-door Porsche/ Got two bitches in the kitchen that’s a four-whore course. The others nod in approval, mutter “swag.” Anyone looking to break off a chunk of Odd Future should consider the supreme power of the group dynamic, an incubator that’s both collaborative and competitive. “Domo was the second rapper, so when he first came to the studio I’m looking at him like, Aight, I’m going to give this nigga a hard time,” Hodgy says. “Tyler put on the beat and I was like, Hey, you know I’m going to kill you on this song, right? That’s how it started. Domo picks up pretty easily when it comes to writing, and he likes to write with someone. Mike G, I believe he likes to write alone. Earl’s fast, he comes on some shit quick. It’s just a vibe‚ you get it in the atmosphere and it’s there to grab.” Tyler jumps in to elaborate. “If you do ballet and a person you’re influenced by does ballet, you appreciate their balleting, and if you’re with them all the time‚ WHAT THE FUCK AM I TALKING ABOUT? YO, WHAT THE FUCK? I need to get back on Twitter.”
Sibat Media has the “Yonkers” Video/Lyrics (I’ll do proper lyrics when I can.)
Salon’s Drew Grant on Odd Future on Fallon, with some Foster Kamer sprinkled in:
Foster: SWAG is kind of like the Odd Future version of the Force. Except for kids who think a catchy hook is “KILL PEOPLE, BURN SHIT, FUCK YOU.” Everything is swag. One can be “swagged the fuck out.” But that can be a great situation, or a terrible situation. Why? [A: "Fuck you is why. Swag."] But Swag typically refers to something great. It’s also its own cheer, as in “SWAG, SWAG, SWAG.”
Me: So SWAG is energy that is neutral but can be harnessed for good or evil. Sort of like “Jersey Shore’s” use of the phrase “Situation.” OK.
For better or for worse, Tyler the Creator has crossed over into the mainstream consciousness. Now we just have to learn to live with ourselves for liking his music.
Madbury Club on last night:
A slow pan from stage lights revealed two young men, standing still like pillars of Tumblr illustrated non-conformity, while the legendary Roots crew half-halfheartedly banged away at instruments that struggled to recreate a beat far too raw in its simplicity to be captured by brass and stage drum kits. With his face obscured by the same mask he hid behind during his first NYC performance, Tyler, the Creator, brought the mic to his face and quietly began rapping. There was a zombie. There was a piggyback. Mos Def screamed “swag” multiple times and things might never be the same.
Mike Barthel at Popdust on last night:
Someone once said a very smart thing about Eminem: By painting himself as controversial on his very first single, before anyone actually knew who he was enough to be offended by him, he interjected himself into the pop mainstream while simultaneously objecting to it. Odd Future do a similar thing here; the logo on Tyler the Creator’s sweatshirt is the same one that Lady Gaga wore on a t-shirt in a recent photoshoot. There’s a lot going on in that gesture, intentional or not: Supreme is a skatewear brand and so arguably it makes more sense for teenage rappers to be wearing it than Gaga, and of course they were also wearing ski masks with upside-down crosses scribbled into them, so there’s that. It all makes sense, though, if you think of Odd Future as Lady Gaga for straight dudes. Part of their appeal is their ability to shock (or create the impression that they should be shocking, anyway) by being outrageous without it seeming overly deliberate. It’s almost a unified aesthetic of outrageousness! And that’s appealing—it lets fans feel like they are in on something special without actually driving anyone away who might otherwise be a fan.
Some riffing on that on Tumblr from Alex MacPherson of The Guardian and me, respectively:
“Gaga for straight dudes” made me laugh, and isn’t inaccurate, but /b/-boys pretty much gets to the heart of why I can’t get with them. It’s one of those weird situations where I don’t dislike them at all and quite enjoy some of their music (esp. by Earl), but nowhere near enough to rave about them or rep for them because fundamentally 12-year-old boys trying out shock tactics is a fucking boring aesthetic and I’ve always disliked that type of kid anyway.
I said this on Twitter but if we’re talking teenage DIY rap scenes, gimme the jerk kids any time: just as raw, just as witty, actually look like they know how to have fun (no, being gross and making r**e jokes ≠ fun). Or Angel Haze, who I haven’t talked about on Tumblr yet cuz I’ve been busy but who is an ACTUAL GENIUS? Download her mixtape and tell me it’s not, like, taking bits of what Odd Future and Lil B do but doing it ten thousand times better and adding so much more to it.
And if you think that the gleeful idiots who orangutanned (sorry about the black guy/primate comparison; I just think it’s apt for what Tyler/Hodgy were doing while trying to scare piss out of Felicia Day) weren’t looking like they were having fun, well, I dunno what to tell you.
Douglas Martin, asking questions:
With all that said, there’s a weird dichotomy that lies in enjoying anything that Odd Future puts out. Though they’re obviously very smart and savvy kids who are just creating personae and indulging in the sometimes-deplorable fantasies that a lot of us have in fleeting instances, do we promote the practice by supporting them as performers? Are we justifying these acts just because we’re entertained by the way they present themselves? Are we elevating transgressive art on a literary level just because they’re in written form? Is the method of transgressive art devalued when it’s placed in the context of rap music? Would that be considered a race thing, since hip-hop is historically an art form chiefly practiced by black people?
this is surreal.
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