Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, AKA “OFWGKTA,” AKA Odd Future, AKA the reason you spend all of your time on Tumblr, AKA the reason you may never sleep again, or, if you’ve watched Earl Sweatshirt’s “Milkshake” video, the reason you’ll probably never touch drugs again, is a young Cali collective of hip-hop heads, musicians, horrorcore enthusiasts, artists, skaters, social media addicts (lead Futurist Tyler, The Creator tweets endlessly), and the hottest s— to hit the Internet since Chat-Roulette. Though they’re probably a lot smarter than they want to let on, give them a mic (or, again, Twitter), and get ready to hear strings of random, unprovoked expletives so profoundly foul they would’ve turned George Carlin a healthy shade of crimson. That said, they’ve got their eyes on Grammy awards and their sights set on trampling Kanye West.
“I’m coming for Kanye West’s head because he’s my competition, Tyler said during his mtvU Woodies pre-show interview. He then partially backpedaled, changing course to praise Kanye. “I’m a big Kanye West fan, and I also compose music and I rap and I direct videos, and I don’t want him to think he’s the only person that could do that… My competition isn’t other upcoming rappers and s—. It’s him.”
But let me backpedal too for a second. When I interviewed Odd Future, they were sprawled out on the floor of the Ballet Austin building (used as a holding area for the mtvU Woodie Awards). The dichotomy between lithe ballerinas in demure pink tights quietly plié-ing in the room next door to where Odd Future was busy punching each other couldn’t have been more dramatic. Though lest you think they’re all hard, Odd Future member Frank Ocean’s recently released album, nostalgia, ULTRA is packed with poignant tributes to failed love. And Tyler clearly has moments of pure lucidity where he sounds like an articulate art school student, (which you could argue he is). But as soon as the cameras were rolling, it was open season on, well, anything they deemed a target, as the group spouted obscenities like they had a collective case of Tourette’s Syndrome.
Odd Future, on the topic of Bruno Mars: “F— him. He look like a dumb b—-.”
Odd Future, on Tyler Perry: “F— Tyler Perry. He’s brainwashing older black women to like his (explicative) movies.”
And so on and so forth.
When I asked if there’s any territory, any sacred ground Odd Future won’t touch, they replied “Sudan.” It was almost a serious, somber moment… until the group erupted into laughter.
And those are just a few examples of Odd Future’s many disjointed, fleeting aspersions and invectives. In the world of Odd Future nothing’s off limits because there are no limits. Tyler himself was quick to remind me, “I just say the first thing that comes to my head.”
So, are we supposed to take seriously Odd Future’s sometimes somewhat nightmarish imagery and unsolicited attacks on, well, anything they feel like attacking seriously? That’s up to you. (Personally, while I find just about everything funny, I have limits. Sudan, genocide, gratuitous violence aren’t on my hilarious list.) They’re punk rock. They’re skate rebels. They’re also a very very young, very foul-mouthed band of misfits, a circus act, who currently have the music industry and much of the Internet’s undivided attention. They’ve been given a microphone and some money, and they’re not afraid to use either to shock you. Is Odd Future a viable artistic movement? A calculated joke? Are they a platform for hate speech, gratuitous violence, and egregiously poor taste? Are any of their narratives real? Is all an act? There are some paradoxes in there, some contradictions, and a whole lot of words that’d get most of us fired on the spot, if not punched.
So with that in mind, watch Odd Future’s mtvU Woodies interview. And you decide.