Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All — also known as OFWGKTA or, more simply, Odd Future — has increased its profile greatly over the past year. But the Hip Hop ensemble still remains one of those musical entities that way more people have heard of, but not actually heard.
The group is this year’s most fascinating hype-machine product, drawing as much (if not more) attention for its industry/internet buzz and debauched hijinks as they have for its clever, creative musical output. Like past hip buzz kings (think The Strokes, Vampire Weekend, etc.), Odd Future has also met with the inevitable backlash, as tastemakers search high and low for a reason to dismiss the band as “not all that,” partly to be contrarians and draw attention to themselves, and partly because when artists go through the hype machine, expectations are driven up so high that anything short of a classic is bound to disappoint.
Odd Future’s skate-punk, fuck-it-all attitude has been used against the group to paint the members as talentless hooligans, but that’s nothing new in music history. If those kinds of write-offs meant anything, the world wouldn’t have ever seen or heard the likes of Elvis, The Beatles, The Sex Pistols, Beastie Boys, Nirvana, Modest Mouse or any other artist who dared not act like perfectly polite, respectable young men or women early in their career.
Odd Future seems more than happy to perpetuate its image as a gang of no-future hoodrats. During this, the crew’s breakout year, it was announced that Adult Swim/Cartoon Network had picked up a TV show pitch from OF, a Jackass-style show that will reportedly include street interviews, sketches, pranks and musical performances called Loiter Squad. It’s slated to debut next year.
Like a less agro Wu Tang Clan (or more talented St. Lunatics), Odd Future members have unleashed a litany of music together, released under the OF moniker or the individual members’ names. Tyler, the Creator, the most high profile of the group, gave the public the Hip Hop carnival ride that was Goblin this year, and the public gave back, helping Tyler earn the “Best New Artist” prize at the MTV Video Music Awards. Meanwhile, OF member Frank Ocean has been earning a similar high rate of buzz by singing on the new Beyonce album and on Jay Z and Kanye West’s recent collaborative effort. And Odd Future even contains other group projects within its ranks, including MellowHype (whose BlackenedWhite album was reissued by Fat Possum Records this year), The Internet and The Jet Age of Tomorrow.
Although lacking focus, there are enough flashes of brilliance — from the crafty, creative production to the members’ distinctive lyrical styles and vocal flows — in Odd Future’s scatterbrained discography to suggest that they are the real deal and not a group will be talking about in 15 years (like, say, The Pharcyde or Mase) wondering, “Whatever happened to those guys?”
ODD FUTURE plays Bogart's Saturday, Oct. 15. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.