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Odd Future Wolf Gang. Kill. Them. All!

March 26, 2011

Odd Future, James Quall, and a Liz Phair shirt.

I know that it appears that I’ve been slacking lately on the blog and truthfully I have but it’s been with good reason. I’ve been attempting for the past month to fully move my current blog, Bad Education from Blogger to WordPress. The change is needed as I’m going for a cleaner more professional look for my new moniker: The Cinephiliac. However the task at hand has proven to be more difficult than I expected and getting my layout and posts to show up the way I want initially seemed like doing rocket science while performing a double bypass surgery on a toddler. However, I have now gotten into the groove of how to work WordPress after finding time to relax and focus after feeding my music addiction by attending SXSW (South By Southwest) two weeks ago. I here by pronounce that a pilgrimage to Austin, Texas during SXSW should be made at least once by any person who considers themselves a music fanatic. But I digress, SXSW is a 10-day event where badge holders attend panels on the current and future state of the Interactive and Film community, however, a majority of us just go to Austin the 4th day in to enjoy the free food, booze, and concerts by an assortment of bands. It’s paradise honestly. Currently I’m addicted to the rising hip-hop group Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All and my stint in Austin only fed the binge after seeing them perform on several occasions. Since I haven’t found the time to watch a film and review it, I’ve decided instead to introduce some, turn off others to, or just reiterate what Wolf Gang fans already know as the enigma that is OFWGKTA.

It’s not a figure of speech when I say that I’m obsessed with this group. For the past few months I’ve engulfed myself in their entire discography including solos, mixtapes, and collaborations. Odd Future has become my heroin but I’ve replaced the needle in my arm for headphones in my ears loudly playing their music while I dress in the morning, head to work, cook, juggle, watch tv, and fall to sleep. The term “swag” has even become ingrained into my vocabulary. Odd Future’s music is violent, gritty, degrading, and frankly terrifying yet I find myself quoting and laughing at much of the lyrics on a daily basis. Featuring, give or take, ten 16-20 year old L.A. rappers, producers, and friends, OFWGKTA’s themes include cannibalism, rape, violence, and their hate for Steve Harvey as well as the hip-hop blog site 2dopeboyz. They’ve been called the future of music and I truly believe that they are. Although their subject matter is grotesque, its their style, delivery, and intelligence that makes the group astonishing as each member delivers their lines with a poise and humor not heard in music anymore along with witty word play on top of fresh and innovative self-produced beats. Although their deeper personal songs are in the minority of their work, the group often openly rap about the pain of growing up fatherless, picked on, and being brokenhearted. OF is simply just a group of hilarious kids who like to have a good time while shocking listeners, each other, and themselves.

Consisting of members Hodgy Beats, LeftBrain, Domo Genesis, Syd Bennett, Earl Sweatshirt (FREE EARL!), Jasper The Dolphin, Mike G, and the group’s inciting and eccentric leader Tyler, The Creator, each rapper brings their own style and essence to their songs and productions resulting in each album being just as diverse and groundbreaking as the last.  Tyler is to Odd Future what RZA is to Wu-Tang Clan, in a gang of intelligently and talented rappers he stands out as the group’s leader, rapping on most of their tracks as well as producing a fair amount of the group’s collaborative and solo work along with fellow OF producer LeftBrain. Tyler is only 20 but his solo release Bastard stands as one of the greatest hip hop albums produced in the past decade. Although Tyler and Earl share the most violent and chilling raps within the group, Tyler has proved that he is wise beyond his years by making Bastard a concept album that plays out like a visit in a counselor’s office. As the psychiatrist prods and questions what makes this youth so violent and angry, Tyler responds in each song discussing  his low self-esteem stemming from an absent father, a broken heart, and lack of support in the hip-hop blog world.

However, Tyler along with Hodgy and Earl have made it clear in their songs that although absent fathers have been the cause of much of their rage, they are far from unhappy kids. They just think its funny to rap about the controversial themes they talk about. Like RZA, Tyler is a film enthusiast who majored in the field during college before dropping out. He has done treatments for and directs many of the group’s music and promotional videos. The film aspect of OFWGKTA is another piece of the puzzle that I can’t get enough of. Their amateur youtube videos are filled with humor, astounding shots, and impressive segments that showcase Tyler’s understanding of the mechanics of editing to create shocking and entertaining videos.

If you took a blender and mixed Wu-Tang Clan, old school Eminem, The Neptune’s, and N.W.A. the result would be close to but not necessarily Odd Future. These guys are on a completely different level and reminds listeners that we are living in the future and music has come a long way but still has and will go so much further, odd thought. Swag.

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