You may know them as Odd Future Wolfgang Kill Them All a.k.a. OFWKTA a.k.a. Odd Future a.k.a. OF. Whatever they are, they confuse me. When I listen to OFWKTA I can’t tell whether I should laugh, cry, rob a bank, get into a fight with a police officer or just get drunk and start dancing. The L.A. based crew of rappers led by Tyler, the Creator and key members Hodgy Beats, Frank Ocean and Domo Genesis have started an unstoppable movement of teenagers with the attitude of “we don’t give a f*#k!”. Their weirdness is …
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But what’s amazing about Odd Future is that the weirder they get the more popular they become. The more obscure the references are in their music, the wider their fan base grows. And now, Odd Future is one of the most controversial, polarizing yet sought after acts in hip-hop. They are just rapping up their U.S. to UK tour and their newest mixtape, entitled The OF Tape, Vol. 2, ‘landed at #5 on the Billboard’s Top 100. They just do their own thing their own way. The group has not been widely broadcast by conventional music outlets, they are never heard on the radio, most of their music is free and a simple bio of OFWKTA is almost impossible to find online. But they have managed to increase their visibility through their Adult Swim show, Loiter Squad, which just premiered on March 25 and through hilarious YouTube videos that sweep the nation.
The OF Tape, Vol. 2 is the follow up to the wildly popular OF Tape, Vol. 1, which sprung OF to fame in 2008. Honestly, I’m not sure what to make of their newest creation. One track you're bobbing your head to fat bass lines and old-school synth sounds and the next you’re being verbally attacked by a screaming gang of idiots. Undoubtedly, what OF is best at is keeping you on your toes. The opening skit is hilarious and every track after has its own identity. On White, featuring Frank Ocean, I found myself in a melodic trance being washed away by beautiful harmonies and relaxing chords. Ya Know, featuring The Internet, reminds me of a classic N.E.R.D. dance record, while NY brings the old Odd Future style we’ve known to expect. Lastly, their ten-minute outro Oldie is a classic free flowing beat that shows off the raw lyrical ability of each OF member. It's almost like they are embarrassed by how talented they are and hid the track with silly lyrics and ridiculous production. When they want to, OF can blow you away.
While many people brush off Odd Future as an obscure fad that will die out by the end of '12, I respect them. They are truly doing what no one else will and making music that kids who are not understood by the majority of society can relate to. At the very end of the tape Tyler The Creator states:
Cause you was into jazz, kitty cats, and Steven Spielberg,
They say we ain’t actin’ right,
Always try to turn our f*#kin’ color into black and white
But they will never change ‘em, never understand ‘em
Radical’s my anthem, turn my @*#$! amps up.”
They’ve started an empire that will never die because they are giving the ‘weird’ kids something they never had; a fun way to express themselves and fight back against all the people that gave them hell. Look out! Revenge of the nerds!
Overall, I’m split on The OF Tape, Vol. 2. Some songs I love, but some I hate. The tracks do not really flow into each other or sound good in sequence, but individually some records do shine. Musically, the tape is a big step up from Vol. 1 and I could see myself slowly growing into an OF fan. However, some lines and some production left me saying, "What did I just pay for?" Clearly I’m torn. What is for sure is that you can’t replace Odd Future with anyone else and the potential for growth is limitless. They are the most unpredictable group in hip-hop and I’m wildly curious to see where they go and what they say next. All in all, I’d recommend buying the tape for yourself. Who knows, maybe you’ll join the movement too. But instead of critiquing and being mad at OF’s success, admit they are talented and let them do their thing. Just let them be. Don’t worry they won’t take over the world or anything...
Or will they…
(Album review by Max August @maxaugustmusic.)
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