Anybody who has paid any attention to the world of hip-hop blogs over the past year or so has most certainly heard the name Odd Future, which is the short name of the more elaborately titled hip-hop group Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (or OFWGKTA, if that’s how you roll). As many as a dozen people can consider themselves members of the collective, though the focus has been centered around Tyler, the Creator, a manic rapper/producer/graphic designer/lightning rod whose unusual flow, deep voice and eye-popping approach to style has made him a natural (if enigmatic) leader. It probably helps that he’s the most accomplished live performer of the group, though he still infuses his on-stage presentation with plenty of grit, spit and extended middle fingers.
Such was the case last week when Tyler took the stage on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” alongside fellow OFWGKTA member Hodgy Beats for a run through the spooky “Sandwitches” (with an instrumental assist from house band the Roots). After blowing away the audience (and Mos Def), the crew piled onto a Chinatown bus and took the long, smelly trip to Philadelphia, and MTV News was hanging out alongside them.
Tyler is something of an unwilling mouthpiece, but he is by far the most accomplished (and strangest) MC in the crew (not counting missing in action member Earl Sweatshirt) and also an excellent producer (in that sense, he’s not unlike the Wu-Tang’s RZA). And while Tyler’s upcoming album Goblin will actually require you to exchange some funds for the privilege of hearing it (it’s coming out on XL, while previous OFWGKTA releases were self-released and all available for free online), his sound remains as raw as it has ever been (especially if just-released single “Yonkers” is any indication).
But Tyler’s best production work so far has been on the solo joint from Domo Genesis, who is OFWGKTA’s secret weapon. Every crew needs a member obsessed with a certain herbal substance, and Domo fits that bill within the confines of OFWGKTA. Rolling Papers is a loopy, stuttering collection of beats and mush-mouthed rhymes that don’t go to the same dark places as Tyler’s or Earl’s but still exist on the extreme outer fringes of the hip-hop universe. The manic carnival stomp “Super Market” is a highlight, as is the jittery “Drunk.”
But “Buzzin” is perhaps the best example of OFWGTA’s worldview of any track the crew has recorded. With the aid of yet another crazy-trippy beat (featuring a drum beat that sounds like it’s about to nod off at any moment), Domo spits killer game and intones his life philosophy: “Smoking weed, f—ing b—-es and eating cereal.” It’s the perfect balance of childish fantasy and hard-eyed horror — the stuff that runs through the veins of ODWGKTA.
What is your favorite OFWGKTA release? Let us know in the comments!