OFWGKTA: parents just don't understand
by Aaron Zorgel
November 30, 2010
Known for their controversial lyrics, tumblr-rap crew OFWGKTA is tapping into something that resonates with young hip-hop fans, as demonstrated through their commanding social media presence. However, the group received some negative attention recently. No, not from any Women's rights advocacy groups – from their mother.
Known for their controversial lyrics, tumblr-rap crew OFWGKTA (Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All) is tapping into something that resonates with young hip-hop fans, as demonstrated through their commanding social media presence. However, the group received some negative attention recently. No, not from women’s rights advocacy groups – from their mother.
OFWGKTA is a Los Angeles based collective, comprised of 10 members aged 16-21. Their lyrics are hyper-graphic, exploring themes of extreme violence, misogyny, and homophobia. Operating out of a tumblr account, OFWGKTA have released three mixtapes and eight solo records since 2007, to widespread acclaim. Odd Future is an independent, shocking, and prolific phenomena – just don’t label them horrorcore.
Operating in a genre that’s all their own, the Odd Future collective can essentially be broken down into two groups: MellowHype, and EarlWolf. MellowHype is rapper Hodgy Beats and producer Left Brain. Blackenedwhite by MellowHype (released October 31st, 2010) was downloaded from the OddFuture tumblr twelve-thousand times during the first 24 hours of it being posted, and thirty-thousand times after the first week. Left Brain’s crisp and minimal drum machines and reverb soaked synths leave plenty of room for Hodgy Beats’ smooth and precise lyrical delivery. MellowHype shows promise, but at the center of Odd Future’s prevalence and controversy is EarlWolf.
EarlWolf is made up of brothers Tyler, the Creator (de facto leader of OFWGKTA) and Earl Sweatshirt. Nineteen and sixteen years old respectively, these two seem to illuminate and evoke the Odd Future mystique and mythology. Tyler describes his sound as “a mosh pit at a jazz concert, or Hitler fucking Dr.Seuss.” His aggressive wordplay, and his experimental production techniques give way to bizarre and often disturbing songs that aim to connect with the listener on a darker level. The success of Odd Future can in part be attributed to Tyler’s online presence. He is a unique and experimental visual artist (as can be seen on the group’s Tumblr and Youtube accounts), and he’s a visceral mouthpiece on his extremely active Twitter account. Tyler takes to Twitter to voice his unflinching opinions, and even gives his followers some candid information, via the occasional Twitter rant.
Recently, Tyler went on a rant that revealed that his mother had found out about Odd Future, for the first time.
Tyler’s catchprhase of “fuck everyone, swag” seems to have gone out the window here. He’s sent into a panic, mortified that his mother might exert some control or discipline over him, now knowing the extent of his morally questionable online practices. But why is Tyler so worried?
Since Earl Sweatshirt’s debut album Earl dropped on March 31st, 2010, the phrase “Free Earl” has been a common mantra for Tyler and the Odd Future followers. It’s rumoured that after hearing the overt sexual and violent lyrics on Earl, it infuriated their mother so much that she chose to send Earl to a juvenile boot camp. If this is true, there’s little doubt as to why Tyler seems horrified that his Mom has found the online hub for his Odd Future antics.
Regardless of whether you agree with Odd Future’s offensive lyrical tendencies, it’s obvious that these kids have built an independent empire from the ground up. With no label support, no management, and no outside producers, Odd Future has performed sold out shows in New York City and London, and they are a week away from performing their first ever all ages show in their hometown of Los Angeles. Tyler, the Creator’s second album Wolf is set to drop in early 2011, and it’s one of the most anticipated records in the hip-hop community.
It seems appropriate that the only thing that threatens the momentum of Odd Future is parental intervention. Perhaps it’s all for the best – ultimately there is enough talent within this collective to earn their seats in the hip-hop world without resorting to lyrics founded in shock and exploitation.
A quick review of Tyler’s Twitter account should tell us whether Tyler has changed his ways since the encounter with his mother.
It looks like OFWGKTA (as we know it) is here to stay.