As part of MTV News’ “The New West” coverage, we turn our attention out to the greater Los Angeles Metropolitan area where an exciting renaissance of sorts is underway. Today, we profile the home grown band of mischievous and menacing MCs and producers known as Odd Future.
Over the last two years, the California collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (the group’s full name is often abbreviated to OFWGKTA or simply Odd Future) has willed their way into the consciousness of music fans starving for the next big thing. Their rhymes are ripe with taboo topics like sexual violence and murder and their come up through rap’s ranks were as untraditional as the group’s music. Odd Future has made their mark by bucking nearly everything the music industry stands for with an almost nihilistic glee.
OF has refused the rap collaborations which seem to be so popular these days and hurled insults towards magazines, record label chiefs and bloggers who rejected their music. The music, much like their image, is provocative and sometimes harsh, yet OF remains innovative enough to drum up high levels of excitement. But like every other success story, this one too has a humble beginning.
Like many other neophyte rappers, Odd Future front man Tyler, The Creator started out as a Web-savvy young man who perused the blogs. He and his ragtag crew began to form thus culminating into an early Odd Future demo mixtape now known as The F—king Tape. On it, the teen titans rapped over largely original and keyboard-laced tracks with flourishes of brilliance in their rhymes. It wasn’t until Tyler’s 2009 free downloadable solo debut BASTARD was released that the group would garner any attention from the blogosphere. The 2010 release of EARL from OF member Earl Sweatshirt furthered the buzz.
Though Tyler and Earl emerged as OFWGKTA stand-outs, crew members Domo Genesis, Hodgy Beats, Left Brain and Mike G all continued to put out and work their projects in the midst of all the hype. After a couple of sold-out shows on the East Coast and across seas in London, Odd Future found themselves on the set of the Late Night Show With Jimmy Fallon this past February and thrilled fans with their bombastic TV performance where Tyler and Hodgy Beats rocked their song “Sandwitches” wearing ski-masks. By then, the shift had finally occurred to a new level.
Cosigns from Erykah Badu, Mos Def, Flying Lotus and Kanye West have been pouring in after the shows and television appearance, Odd Future mostly did this the hard way – all on their own without major label backing. It is precisely this DIY aesthetic that makes Odd Future a perfect representation of what “The New West” is all about – forging a path that is truly all one’s own.
Stick with us all week as MTV News turns the spotlight on the New West, including a special edition of 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!