Who is OFWGKTA?

With dark hooks and psychotic lyrics that have been described as a horrific car accident you can’t help but stare at OFWGKTA has snuck into the rap scene, and in a way that only they can, are making a name for themselves.

I have been a bit hesitant to write about these guys–out of fear of misinformation or that I would have to write about them later on during my internship anyway but their presence in the music scene is making this post inevitable.

So, what is OFWGKTA? 

A group of 11 or so self proclaimed skateboard rats ages ranging from 16 to 19. OFWGKTA stands for Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, normally shortened to Odd Future or OFWGKTA.

So, who is OFWGKTA?

The leader of the group is Tyler, The Creator. The second most prominent member is Hodgy Beats and the third is 16 year old Earl Sweatshirt who was recently sent to boarding school by his parents, which in turn started an internet phenomenom to “Free Earl”.

Besides the main pack of 11 guys,  the group breaks off into varying sub groups, two being EarlWolf (Tyler and Earl Sweatshirt) and MellowHype (Hodgy Beats and Left Brain).

Tyler, The Creator at 19 signed a deal with XL Records and the group signed a deal with Sony’s RED development agency to start their own record label, Odd Future Records.

The group was recently featured on The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon.

This is interesting in itself due to the obscurity of the group–they are mainly known for playing at DC Nightclubs and have a lot of their fan base online. The Late Show’s band leader, Roots drummer, and over all industry leader Quest Love was actually the guy to request that the appear on the show.

Their appearance also had industry moguls such as Jay Z and Kanye West watching, and even lead Eminem to give them praise on a few occasions.

So, what’s the big deal?

It’s like Children of The Corn, Clockwork Orange and every other film featuring a dystopian society with anarchist teenagers have formed together to create these guys.

They are beligerent and psychotic but have a vocabulary that Webster Dictionary would applaud, and their psychotic lyricism and violent song content would make even early Eminem blush.

However not all songs are violent and over the top. Each rapper in the 11-some group has their own stylings that they bring to the table, granted each one is equally as over the top as the other, their personalities and rapping styles very much compliment one another.

Some (including me for some tracks) may shy away from the over the top violent lyrics and dark hooks of Tyler, The Creator or the crazed lyrics of some of the other rappers  but it’s hard not to appreciate these cats.

They are young but extremely prolific, their witty lines and multisyllabic rhyme schemes are far more technical than most mainstream rap today. The group also creates their own beats with no samples, granted mixing with samples can be an art in its own right–it’s still a feat that the majority of rappers on the radio can’t claim.

Another point that they are praised upon is that they speak their mind, they don’t try to fit into any mold or genre–they just write what they want to write about. This also shows in the evolution and maturity of their albums and mixed tapes, with their newer content being a bit more serious but still just as wild.

Final thoughts?

Their sound may not be for everyone, but what they are doing is noteworthy. Tyler has often been compared to Kurt Cobain for his disdain of popular rap music today and has stated his reasoning for starting the group on some of his tracks:

“I roll with skaters and musicians with an intuition, I created O.F. cause I feel we’re more talented, Than 40 year old rappers talking about Gucci, When they have kids they haven’t seen in years, impressing their peers, With the same problem, the only way to solve them.”

Also, their “wolf pack” mentality can be compared to groups such as Wu-Tang Clan, a group that also had numerous members with outlandish personalities. Their gritty underground and group based hip hop hasn’t been seen since groups like Wu-Tang Clan. Wu-Tang was known for doing very similar things–having very technical rap with a very “out there” lyrical content, however no matter the lyrics it was always praised for being on point–the same can be said for Odd Future.

Odd Future is certainly different from what’s being heard today–overly looped samples and hollow lyrics– they are fresh and certainly unique with most of their content being a jab to mainstream Rap. Some songs may have an over the top looped sample in which it’s obviously mocking mainstream rap or some songs just may straight up call out varying rappers for lacking depth.

Don’t get me wrong, they are harsh. Some songs just seem a bit too over the top and a lot of people may not dig what they have to offer, but it’s hard to say that they don’t bring a unique product–and as much criticism that they get they won’t care–and they will keep hitting us with the same over the top content that they have been for the past few albums.

So keep ’em on your radar, you may like what they have to offer.

Image Courtesy: We Are Hunted

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  1. 06/06/2011 at 11:20 pm

    I don’t think you can take the lyrics too seriously. Some of it is obviously just a cartoon-type thing. I mean, people don’t get mad at Martin Scorsese when his characters bury guys with lime in the Pine Barons. It’s fiction. Tyler even says that himself in one of the songs (can’t remember which one). My favorites OFWGKTA right now are:

    Translyvania (Tyler – Goblin)
    Sandwitches (Tyler – Goblin)
    French! (Tyler – Bastard Mixtape)
    Earl (Earl the Sweatshirt Mixtape)
    Strobe Light (The Jet Age of Tomorrow)
    Yonkers (Tyler – Goblin)
    Mc.Donalds (OFWGKTA Mixtape)

    Their not for everyone, that’s for sure. A lot of my friends have said they are so far from Wu Tang the comparisons annoy them and some of them don’t like Tyler’s flow. I think he, and they, are super-talented though and I am digging them.

    Nice review, man.

    • 06/06/2011 at 11:22 pm

      I don’t think they are similar to Wu-Tang in style, but I think they are one of the best “group rap” and “clan” type artists to come around since Wu Tang, for sure.

      But musically, not really..

      I like ’em, and I get the cartoon stuff while others probably don’t though. They are def. a group to look out for!

      Thanks so much for reading, man!

  2. 06/08/2011 at 9:10 pm

    Agreed, they are a force right now. I love that they have a myth built around them already. Like how they say Earl got sent away to some boarding school by his mom and they put “Free Earl” in their songs. I like all the names, Left Brain, Hodgy Beats, Casey Veggies – cool stuff. I’m digging it.

    They did an awesome interview with this guy Nardwuar. I would really recommend checking it out. The guy is crazy, and it really gives you a feel for OFWGKTA: http://nardwuar.com/vid/2011/03/nardwuar-vs-odd-future/

    I’m curious if you ever get a chance to check them out, what you think of some of the mixtapes. I’m sure you have a lot of other stuff you want to listen to, just wondering what your take would be.

  1. 07/16/2011 at 12:32 am

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