Over the past few months, Odd Future have exploded onto the music scene, leading the charge for the New West . But though they hail from Los Angeles, the collective actually prefers to be known as “new rap group Odd Future” as opposed to “new L.A. rap group Odd Future.” This penchant for not being boxed in is part of what’s fueled their success, which has seen them performing at the mtvU Woodies ; in the pages of nearly every skate, music and pop-culture publication; taking over “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” ; and even parodying themselves in a Funny or Die spoof.
While the last few months may have seemed like a whirlwind, the group isn’t an overnight-success story. Tyler, the Creator, Domo Genesis, Hodgy Beats, Left Brain and the rest of the gang have been making noise for quite some time. They’ve released more than 10 albums over the last two years and made significant waves underground and on the Internet, building a substantial, loyal following thanks to their attention to lyrical detail and “I don’t give a f—” attitude.
“It seems like there’s been kind of a divide in hip-hop, where the people that are quote-unquote lyricists are very serious about their craft and don’t seem like they’re having very much fun at all,” said Andrew “Noz” Nosnitsky. “And the party-oriented stuff is more the guys like Waka Flocka and dudes who are like, ‘Nah, I don’t care about lyrics at all.’ ”
Noz, who wrote OF’s Billboard cover story , said the group appeals to people on both sides of the fence. Tyler has been vocal about his love of Waka Flocka Flame and his disdain for overly critical hip-hop heads, but his crew’s lyrical prowess can’t be ignored.
Fader Editor in Chief Matthew Schnipper agreed that OF’s mixture of bedlam and lyricism made for something special.
“There’s always people making good things, and there’s always people running around trying to be ridiculous,” Schnipper told MTV News. “When the two things come together, it’s a special moment.”
One special moment was the group’s appearance on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.” A masked Tyler and Hodgy Beats took the stage alongside the Roots to deliver an unforgettable, manic performance of Tyler’s “Sandwitches.” The performance garnered OF plenty of mainstream attention.
“Our musical guy Jonathan said, ‘Yeah, Odd Future is coming in three weeks,’ and I was like, ‘Nah, not that Odd Future. Maybe it’s some rock band called Odd Future,’ ” Roots drummer ?uestlove recalled of the “Late Night” gig. “And he’s like, ‘No, no that Odd Future,’ and the first thing I thought of was, ‘Oh, damn. I’m gonna lose my job!’ … It’s been a long time since something to the level of N.W.A has been that menacing and that scary.”
Schnipper also said Odd Future owed a lot of their success to new fans joining their circus. OF had released a bevy of free albums before they caught the mainstream’s attention, leaving newcomers with a lot to catch up on.
“By the time everyone jumped on them, they had already had a full body of work that had already been on the Internet and around, so I think to some degree, that’s exciting, because here is somebody you didn’t know about, and then you can go to page 102 on a Tumblr and 4 million mixtapes. There’s a body of work there to be explored that’s all pretty solid.”
Stick with us all week as MTV News turns the spotlight on the New West, including a special edition of “RapFix Live” with Cali’s own Tyga on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET on MTV.com. We’re bringing you the next wave of hip-hop acts helping restore faith in the L.A. rap scene. From groups like Odd Future to rising MCs like Dom Kennedy, we’ll bring you up close and personal to these artists as they carve their own lanes in the post-gangsta rap era. Keep it locked here for the next week for more on the West Coast up-and-comers!