Odd Future (OFWGKTA) have been the name on everyone’s lips since they burst onto the rap scene, but not always for good reasons. But what is all the hype about? Are they doing anything different?
Are Odd Future the saviours of hip-hop?
Odd Future have certainly brought a different spin to the hip-hop that we have become accustomed to in recent years. The collective have brought a lot of attention to themselves over recent months, often being credited as ‘the saviours of hip-hop’. Whether this is the case or not is difficult to argue; does hip-hop even need saving? Sure, we’ve been exposed to the likes of Lil’ Wayne’s Rebirth and Pitbull’s Planet Pit, but that’s ignoring the work of Big Boi and Wu-Tang Clan that we’ve been treated to. The difference with Odd Future is that it doesn’t seem that they’re out there to please critics or fans, but just to make music that they want to make. They’re young, talented, audacious and confident. So even if hip-hop doesn’t need saving, the collective are certainly a breath of fresh air.
Best of current crop?
Amongst the less established artists, I believe they certainly are. There are no artists that have come up and matched the hype surrounding Odd Future, including Kanye West giving his approval after seeing the video for ‘Yonkers’ by , saying Tyler, The Creator is the best of 2011. On top of this, the collective’s very own Frank Ocean has lately been working with Kanye West and Jay Z on their recent collaboration Watch The Throne, which is a huge compliment coming from two of the biggest names in hip-hop today. They are already being compared to Wu-Tang Clan, and Method Man himself has given them the thumbs up saying, ’I love that group by the way, I love Odd Future’. It seems all the most respected people in the world of hip-hop are giving Odd Future their blessing, which can only be a good thing.
Odd Future currently are possibly more well known for the graphic and often offensive content in their lyrics than anything else. Understandably, many can find this too much, and can hinder the enjoyment in their music, labelling it immature and juvenile. But if you can get past this the music has some outstanding moments. Tyler’s solo debut ‘Bastard’ shows a lot of depth, especially in the title track which describes his troubled childhood and never meeting his father. But Odd Future aren’t the first to be complained about for their graphic lyrically content; think back to 1999 and the release of Eminem’s Slim Shady LP, which is incredibly highly rated by critics but contains some of the most violent and aggressive songs Eminem has ever made. Odd Future are getting the same reaction now, and they have all the talent needed to overcome it. It’s easy to forget that they’re still young (Earl Sweatshirt is still only 17), so when complaints about them being juvenile are thrown about, it must be remembered that they really are juveniles. There’s no doubting they have talent as rappers, and when listening to some of the solo work from Hodgy Beats, for example, it can be seen that they can produce some incredible hip-hop music that doesn’t offend.
Odd Future are certainly going to give a memorable performance at Reading this year, but whether that is for positive or negative reasons is yet to be seen, and for this reason alone I think that Odd Future are an act that can’t be missed. They are bound to be one of the biggest talking points of the festival, and for me certainly have a future. They’re already gaining critical acclaim; collaborations with huge artists; and a lot of hype behind their music. Personally, I believe they’ll be more than a fad and go onto huge things.