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No Future? Or, Just A REALLY, REALLY Odd One: Odd Future Bloody And Then Refuse To Bow At SXSW…

The Future of Hip Hop is Odd Future

Here at “Duvet” we may have stumbled onto a vaguely scientific and useful application of Twitter that goes beyond marketing and self-fucking. Unable to attend this year’s music industry flatulatory exercise in self-promotion – an industry that has grown to include bloggers like myself – Austin, TX’s SXSW but still wanting to remain “in the loop” from the comfort of my couch in view of the NCAA basketball tourney, I turned to Twitter.
Finally someone gives it to the blogosphere straight
This excruciating exercise involved following a carefully “curated” – the most overused word in this early/new millennium - list of musicians, blogs, record labels, and PR professionals against a control group of friends or “civilians” as I chose to think of them. Enlisted or conscripted, each contributing from this annual war of hype and perspective with their “Tweets”. Free of the emotional contagion and binge drinking I tried to divine who was truly making an impact at “South By”. After wading through hundreds of inanities delivered in “140 characters or less” – complete with links to pictures of the back of heads pointed at a form on some faraway and hastily erected stage or sonically overloaded video of hundreds of people engaged in similar acts of citizen journalism meets cinema verite – one name emerged unanimous: Odd Future.

The Los Angeles hip hop collective known as OFWGKTA (Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All), or shortened to Odd Future, went into SXSW with plenty of “buzz”. They emerged worthy of the hype and deserving of the, “we don’t give a FUCK” aesthetic the ten member, not-underground-for-long contingent has cultivated. A hard group for many to easily classify, but here goes: Think the hardcore in your “faceness” of N.W.A., meshed with the shock and awe of Kool Keith’s Dr. Octogon era “porncore”, bent against some of the best punk rock posturing since Johnny Rotten, all to the minimal grime and dubstep backing pioneered by producers like Dizzee Rascal or Burial. Rapper/Producer Tyler the Creator leads this Wu-ist crew with the intensity of another hard-to-define kindred hip hop splinter sect, South Africa’s Die Antwoord. Like Die Antwoord the beats are raw and the lyrics rawer, celebrating a macabre, often-fantastical teenage experience.

Formed in 2007, members of Odd Future range in age from 17-23. The group’s profile is sure to rise after news-making, bone-breaking performances at SXSW, Tyler the Creator and Hodgy Beats backed by the Roots on Jimmy Fallon and all of Odd Future taking the stage at mtvU’s Woodie Awards (all performances can be seen below). All of the bands releases to date can be downloaded for free from their site, What truly makes Odd Future, well, odd is a visual appeal that conjures skateboards as readily as gats. Not your mother’s rap music, this is something else entirely. In fact rumor has it that member Earl Sweatshirt (age 16 at the time) was sent off to boarding school/boot camp after his mother heard some of his disturbing lyrical content. It will be interesting to see how the notoriously polarizing act handles the wave of critical and popular attention gathering on the horizon. Will they continue to put splinters in ears or splinter entirely; they certainly have potential to be the “Return of the Wu” Redux. 

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