Blog Post

Odd Future from Los Angeles

Below is a YouTube blip by Tyler, the Creator, the one member of LA hip-hop posse Odd Future who is most hotly tipped to go all the way. And, well, now that LA Weekly has finally gotten around to it, I should probably publish my post about them too.

Here's a boiled down version of the Weekly's feature (written by an acquaintance, Caroline Ryder, to whom I'll say, nice job).:


    Their visual language reflects influences they don't even know they have yet — Aleister Crowley, '80s porn, Amityville, A Clockwork Orange and Dogtown. Their lyrical matter is XXX-rated, containing references a little too weird (rape? scat? Jermaine DuPri?) and a little too learned for their young-adult minds. They are tough enough to be on The Wu-Tang's radar (GZA is a fan), and their beats, dense enough to crush bone matter, are engineered by a girl — Syd, Odd Future's only female, who is arrestingly beautiful in a no-makeup-and-hoodie kind of way...

    In addition to Tyler, the Creator, Odd Future is: Jasper Dolphin, Domo Genesis, Matt Martians of the Super 3, Left Brain, Mike G, Hodgy Beats, Taco, Syd and Earl Sweatshirt.

    Sweatshirt's video, called "Earl," is how I stumbled upon Odd Future. Directed by A.G. Rojas, it features Earl sitting under a hair-salon dryer rapping about ass sex, catfish and decomposing bodies while his Odd Future posse members drink a smoothie made of cough syrup, weed, pills and powders, with gory, deeply disconcerting consequences. "Let's all fucking kill ourselves," someone commented on YouTube, which pretty much summed up how the video made me feel, too.

    It was amazing...

    Tyler says he really loves to masturbate, collects books and was, until very recently, studying film at a community college in West L.A. He dropped out, aware that Odd Future was turning into something that might require all of his time and attention.

They're dark to the point of being indefensible, perhaps...

...but I've learned better than to even attempt to police the hazy borders that govern morality in art. Say what you will, they're at least self-aware enough to know what they rap about has fucked-up qualities. (The top post on their website right now debuts a new track, while noting that it marks a change of direction: "Some OF You Females Might Get Annoyed By Us Raping You, So, Left Brain And Hodgy Decided To Slow It Down And Show You That…You Are Special…Not On No Soft Shit." Ok then!)

Where to start? You can download many of their mixtapes at their blog OFWGKTA (an acronym for Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All) or visit some of their MySpaces. I started with Tyler the Creator's album Bastard which he released free online on Christmas day in 2009. Check it out (though unfortunately the full album-length download link at seems to be gone now).

Not being the hip-hop head, I'll admit I haven't gotten very far past that album, but I like it. Reference points via an RIYL: Wu-Tang Clan, Dr. Octagon, Gravediggaz. And RE: that last RIYL, here's a thought to anyone that thinks Odd Future is truly new. Everything old can and will become new again! Here's evidence:

Many other versions floating around on YouTube, natch.

Alec Hanley Bemis's picture

Alec Hanley Bemis lives in Brooklyn, NY but spends a lot of time in California. He obtained his B.A. in History from Yale University. His writing has appeared in LA Weekly, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Spin,, the Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. In 2001, he co-founded Brassland, a record label that documents the work of a growing community of musicians, including The National and Nico Muhly. Currently he continues to run Brassland, consults for the UK-based music company All Tomorrow's Parties, co-manages The Dirty Projectors, and acts as general manager at Cantaloupe Music. In the past, he has taught in New York University's graduate journalism program, produced projects for the new media-design firm, Funny Garbage, and written for Faith Popcorn's BrainReserve.