In terms of music being released in 2011, I am more excited about new material coming out from Odd Future than anything else. Everything went a bit crazy for them in September when they’re mixtape and in particular Tyler, The Creator’s album ‘Bastard’ and his younger brother, Earl Sweatshirt’s album ‘Earl’ were discovered by the likes of Pitchfork and the Hipsters went a bit crazy. It really isn’t hard to see why. I think both those albums are the best things I have listened to in 2010. Featuring lyrics which are hard to stomach, it should be alienating and inaccessible, but when you realise that these are L.A. skate rats from good homes who are 16-19 they become, dare I say, funny?
They are the perfect antidote to the ‘Young Money’ genre of hip-hop where the slick over production is sickly and rapping about making money is plain fucking boring, this is the freshest thing I have ever heard. Lo-Fi old school beats make plain the Wu-Tang comparisons but Odd Future just doesn’t occupy that cultural space. They are so relevant in today’s age. With their D.I.Y. ethos, Tyler in charge of all the production, releasing their albums for free on Tumblr and making rad album art, they are, for want of a better word phrase, fucking cool.
Even with all that, the reason they appeal isn’t because they are showing that if you want to do something, you can, because there is no doubt that there is true talent behind these guys. Although the Odd Future mixtape ‘Radical’ is a good listen, it doesn’t have anything on ‘Bastard’. Tyler is definitely another level from the rest and you definitely get the feeling he is the driving force behind the collective. His rich array of influences lead to his debut album, being full of musical diversity when on the surface it can just sound like lo-fi hiphop. You can even hear the influence of U.K. grime in his delivery on ‘Slow It Down’. His bile towards his father on the album made for a juxtaposition between bragging about such things as getting “all my black bitches mad because my main bitch vanilla” and the lack of closure that never meeting his father has given him lead to an album that is is as humorous as it is intriguing. Without getting all psychoanalytical on yo’ asses, the album is in perfect harmony, because you can see this vulgar, cocky swagger that Tyler puts out there is there to disguise his insecurity about his lack of a father figure.
A truly interesting character, I cannot wait for the release of ‘Goblin’ in 2011. Keep updated on his plans by following his Twitter. So, you can’t mention Tyler without talking about his little brother, Earl. At 16, he appears to have gone off the radar, with O.F. citing prison, boarding school or bootcamp as the reason for his absence. A ‘Free Earl’ campaign began, and the sooner he is back the better. His album, obviously with direct influence from Tyler, gave us the best song to come out of the collective yet. The song ‘Earl’ is simply a masterpiece. Perfect beats and unbelievably good lyrics. On paper they seem frankly, disgusting and amoral, but in the context of this far too short gem, they just can’t be bettered. My favorite –
and go on, suck it up, but hurry I’ve got nuts to bust
and butts to fuck and ups to shut
and sluts to fucking uppercut
I would usually be enraged and disgusted. Instead, I can’t get it out of my head. Listen and be in awe of the video below.
It’s not like I just want to focus on these two, because Odd Future isn’t just about the music. You have to take into account things such as visual art and direction which other members of the collective contribute to, but the mixtapes from the other members Hodgy Beats and Left Brain just didn’t fit into the same genre that Earl and Tyler did which didn’t make for such infectious and compelling listening. It also wasn’t quite filthy enough. Let’s hope Earl get’s freed and Tyler keeps up his genius in 2K11. There is so much more to come from them.
Download all previous Odd Future releases on their Tumblr HERE.