Saturday, January 8, 2011
By now, you've probably heard of them despite the fact that they don't do very many interviews and they've only done a few widely-attended live shows, most of them in the Los Angeles-area they're based in.
Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, also known as OFWGKTA, Odd Future Wolf Gang, or just Odd Future to most music sites, is a ten-deep hip-hop group (collective, if we must) that's released three mixtapes and seven albums in a little over two years.
This isn't your average rap group, though. None of the members are over 20 years old and one of the cornerstones of Odd Future, Earl Sweatshirt, is only 16. To top it off, the lyrics mostly consist of references to rape, drugs, highly offensive views of women (to some of you, anyway), and more. We're pretty sure that this isn't for kids, especially considering that the major offender of this is Earl Sweatshirt himself.
However, the lyrics shouldn't take away anything from the incredible beats they're laid over. Plus, when you realize just how unique these lyrics are and that outside of terrible horrorcore groups you won't find them anywhere else, you'll appreciate them even more. These guys (and girl) clearly know what they're doing.
The best thing about these ten releases? Every single one is free and available for download at their site, OddFuture.com.
Over the next couple of days, I'll be analyzing what makes this group so captivating to listeners. Part 1 is obviously being posted tonight with Part 2 on Monday and Part 3 (hopefully!) on Tuesday. This post is, essentially, an introduction to the group with coverage on the group-wide releases and Tyler, the Creator. With that, let's look at what the members of the group have released to this point.
In terms of group-wide releases, there's only been two, but they're both strong - The Odd Future Tape, released in 2008, which is basically a rough draft of what OF really was and is. Only four current OF members appear on the tape - Tyler, the Creator, Hodgy Beats, Left Brain, and the Super 3 (three separate members combined in one group). Casey Veggies, a former member and current associate of OF, appears on the tape as well.
The superior of the two tapes is the Radical mixtape, which was released in 2010. The tape includes nearly every member of the group save for the Super 3. As mentioned in the post, this tape features the members rapping over beats that aren't their own. It works pretty well, too - I don't think Liars is going to be offended by Tyler rapping over a song of theirs.
Speaking of Tyler, we're onto easily the most prominent member of the group and maybe the best. Tyler, the Creator, also known as Wolf Haley, Ace the Creator, and (from what I know, this is his birth name) Tyler Haley, is 19 years old and keeps the youth movement in OF going strong. He has rapped on/produced for nearly every OF release.
As for releases of his own, he has only one to his name currently, the 2009 release Bastard. The album may be the most complete OF release out there, as the lyrical work on the album is unmatched. The beats are pretty nice as well when you listen to it intently.
There's an underlying theme on the album that's interesting to keep track of as the album rolls along. At 19 years old, Tyler has never met his father, as he left his mother before his birth. It's a sad story as it is with any family when one parent has to play two roles for their children.
However, Tyler doesn't miss his father at all - he hates him more than I hate game shows on FOX. Several songs are directly to or about his father, specifically the title track and "Inglorious". Many of the songs have references to him and they aren't exactly welcoming.
That's what makes the album so fascinating and repeatedly listenable, though. I know I'm not the only listener who can feel some relation with Tyler as I didn't even know my actual father's name until I was 15. The album is so incredibly human that it's impossible to forget.
From top to bottom, Tyler is maybe the best rapper in the group. That doesn't mean you can ignore the rest.
With that, I'll stop here for now. I'll pick back up on this on Monday with Part 2, which should include profiles on the other prominent members in the group. Part 3 will take a look at what's in store for OF as they move on in 2011.