ODD FUTURE WOLF GANG KILL THEM ALL. GOLF WANG. OFWGKTA. ODD FUTURE. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet...
You've probably heard the whispers. Or questions like "wolf gang, odd future, golf wang...is it all one thing?" Or the non-stop Wu Tang comparisons. Or the numerous public outcries from politically correct organizations. Or maybe, just maybe, the music. If you have, it was probably this song by the group's leader Tyler the Creator:
Personally, this one's our favorite:
But anyway. Odd Future is an 11 person (60 if you count the non-musical members) rap collective out of Los Angeles. They've been called the future of hip hop. They've been called homophobic, misogynistic monsters. They've been called "horrorcore" - a classification they widely dismiss. Instead, they seem more comfortable with "alternative hip hop" or "indie rap." Whatever they are, they do not give one single fuck.
"I'm coming for Kanye West's head!"
There is no pretense. There is no fear. Tyler and the crew are the same in front of millions as they are in the basement with the homies.
Tyler LOVES Bieber. Almost as much as he loves to skate and swear.
[caption id="attachment_4866" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Tyler the Creator"]
The crew started producing their own material in 2007 in "the Trap," the recording studio in the basement of brother and sister members' Syd and Taco's family home. Everything they created was available for free on their website. Tyler's penchant for Photoshop, along with all the free music, made them legends on Tumblr. It's almost impossible to distinguish fan art from OF's art and this has helped to build a loyal legion of die hard fans. The basic, primitive and quick handed feel of Tyler's graphic design is somehow mesmerizing; you can't help but stare. And that effect goes beyond the images, it applies to the crew as a whole.
[caption id="attachment_4845" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="The landing page of their official site"]
[caption id="attachment_4846" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Tyler LOVES kitties"]
[caption id="attachment_4847" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="GOLF WANG"]
[caption id="attachment_4848" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="He makes the album art too"]
[caption id="attachment_4867" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="WOLFGANG//GOLFWANG"]
There is something so homemade about them, so un-Hollywood, un-styled and anti-plastic that makes them highly addictive. And it seems that the industry is starting to agree. Tyler the Creator won the 2011 VMA for Best New Artist - the highly coveted award that is typically indicative of a huge career (Kurt Cobain and Lady Gaga also won right before blowing up.) And his date? His mother.
[caption id="attachment_4862" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="On stage at the VMAs"]
The collective is known for hardcore lyrics, rampant vulgarity, and aggressively anti-PC behavior. Their shows are likened to early punk concerts, filled with moshing, stage diving and the performers antagonizing a highly riled crowd. They are all extremes morning, day and night. Particularly Tyler. But everything is a contradiction. It's all an elaborate, and random, play on people's reactions. Tyler loves rapping about rape and violence toward women but brings his mother to the VMAs. He loves rapping about drugs but he's straight edge. On Goblin
he raps, "I'm not a homophobe...faggot." And to get even more literal, on Yonkers
he bluntly states, "I'm a fucking walking paradox, no I'm not." Tyler's mom seems to get it though. More than a few 20 year old boys have a proclivity toward the word "fuck." And when he won that VMA she looked on from the crowd, her face wet with tears of joy.
[caption id="attachment_4861" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Tyler's mom losing it when he wins"]
Not all of the members have such supportive relationships with their mothers though. Earl Sweatshirt - Tyler's best friend and only real competition in ability - is rumored to have been shipped away by his mother to a boarding school in his parents' native land of Samoa for troubled boys.
[caption id="attachment_4855" align="aligncenter" width="540" caption="Tyler the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt"]
This started the "FREE EARL" movement complete with t-shirts and full crowd chants at concerts. It's no surprise though. Young Earl was all of 16 when his name sake track came out. The video for Earl Sweatshirt
features the crew making a smoothie of illicit substances while Earl raps, "Go on, suck it up; but hurry I got nuts to bust//and butts to fuck and ups to shut and sluts to fucking uppercut//It's OF buttercup, go ahead, fuck with us//without a doubt, a surefire way to get your mother fucked."
[caption id="attachment_4856" align="aligncenter" width="350" caption="FREE EARL t-shirt"]
Earl's exact whereabouts are unknown, but everyone has their fingers crossed for his return upon turning 18. Til then, FREE EARL!
[caption id="attachment_4857" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="Earl Sweatshirt sweatshirt available on OddFuture.com"]
It's a shame that Earl missed all the success that keeps rolling in for OF. The crew played the after party for Alexander Wang's SS12 NYC Fashion Week show. Tyler won a VMA. They wrapped a mostly sold out US kick off tour.
[caption id="attachment_4858" align="aligncenter" width="525" caption="OF performing at the Alexander Wang after party"]
Odd Future - Alexander Wang - French from Brook Bobbins on Vimeo.
[caption id="attachment_4859" align="aligncenter" width="644" caption="Tyler with his VMA"]
And what's Tyler up to these days? Just your standard rapper stuff.