Saturday, November 13, 2010
Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All
Do you know these guys? I guess they're a big deal. At least, that's what all the people that make things a big deal have been saying, that everyone considers them to be a big deal. As the hype monster eats itself.
They're a hip hop group made up of teenagers out in LA that call themselves that name, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. It's a pretty charming name. They rap about hating their dads and smoking weed and raping zombies and skateboarding and stuff, which is pretty much what every teenager would rap about if they could rap well. I think the reason they are what everyone on music blogs is talking about is because they rap about violence but it's like, kind of a joke, maybe. Also, of course, they're good at rapping and the music sounds nice. But also the violence thing.
On Pitchfork, Sean Fennessey said that for Odd Future's de-facto leader, Tyler the Creator, "there is no compass, other than, maybe, the Internet-- and the Internet has no compass." I think what he's trying to say is that Odd Future can rap about rape and call people "faggots" because in a certain sector of our universe meaning has descended into a kind of nothingness. And hip hop, more than any other genre, loves to conflate meanings and reference itself ad infinitum. It was only natural that eventually someone would take it to the logical, ouroboros conclusion in which Wu-Tang and Tribe Called Quest are the same thing.
Which is to say that they've abandoned the traditional markers of being "conscious" and of being "hood" -- hip hop's two dominant threads for the last two decades. Some of their raps are terrifying, some depressing, some funny. I guess if you're one of those people that likes to label things as "Post" or whatever, you could maybe call this post-underground hip-hop. If you were one of those people, of course.
In the Pitchfork essay, Fennessey was completely fawning, and maybe half the reason people try to explain why Odd Future is so good is because they are mainly pasty male music writers who are glad to identify with stylish young kids. But also, the kids are really stylish and cool, and in their complete lack of self doubt they remind me of the Cool Kids, who also knew how to make music bloggers cream their pants.
Anyway, OFWGKTA had their first New York show this last week, and taste makers from the Fader, Pitchfork, Stereogum and like every cool thing ever, basically, were there. It was treated like SXSW meets Vampire Weekend's first CD-Rs meets the announcement of the Pavement reunion, all on a crowded stage at Webster Hall. Pitchfork even made .gifs out of pictures of the performance, which, what the fuck?
Of course, I didn't go. But the rappers seemed to be aware of the moment they were in, yelling "Fuck every label and magazine here, suck my dick!" I know that because I read it on multiple blogs, all of whom were there.
It must be a weird thing to be a critical darling; get to close to industry types and you end up making Converse commercials and being irrelevant before your first album -- too distant and no one cares. This is the line that these rappers walk.
If you want to hear things, Odd Future have a tumblr where they post albums and things to download. Of course they do.