An outstanding group performance

You’d have had to be living under a very large rock to be unaware of the hysteria and hype that’s currently surrounding Odd Future. The Los Angeles hip hop collective have become one of the most talked about acts in contemporary popular culture as of late. And with their explicit lyrics (which detail rape, suicide, homophobia and women in a derogatory light), the crew have gained notoriety and garnered many headlines – both good and bad. But this intense scrutiny is only adding to the group’s popularity, as the buzz surrounding them continues to spin into overdrive.

The skateboard-loving rappers are well aware of the pandemonium surrounding them, but are not particularly keen on all the press attention. Take a verse from ‘Yonkers’ (in which they lyrically shank for example: “Oh! Not again, another critic writing report. I’m stabbing any blogging faggot hipster with a pitchfork.” 

Well, whether they like the attention or not, it doesn’t look like it will be ceasing anytime soon. And even with the possibility of being “stabbed with a pitchfork”, all the shock value stunts and headlines aside, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All – the collective’s noun in its entirety – are arguably one of the most unique and intriguing acts to come out in a long time.

Their live show is a testament to that. As hordes of fans line Camden High Street for the eagerly awaited return of the LA rap crew, the feeling of jubilance and excitement is palpable from the predominately young – and very mixed gender – crowd.

Unsurprisingly, there was no opening act. That slot was given to Syd tha Kid (the group’s in-house DJ and engineer) who happens to be female and gay – something many have considered as quite ironic due to group’s openly homophobic lyrical content. Her impressive set gearing the crowd up for the main event.

“What’s up? Who came out to see Odd Future tonight?” Hodgy Beats asks the crowd from backstage, before telling them he couldn’t come out yet because “Left Brain is doing a shit.” The audience scream in fits of laughter and chant even louder for their arrival. This crude – yet weirdly amusing toilet humour – continues throughout the duration of the night.

Stepping on stage, MellowHype (Hodgy Beats and Left Brain) receive a rapturous applause, opening the show with ’64’. Parading around the stage in an exaggerated and energetic manner from the get-go, you could tell this was going to be something pretty special.

But it was the emergence of Tyler, The Creator, which really sets the atmosphere into overdrive. The group’s frontman hops on stage with the aid of crutches after breaking his leg at a previous show, and greets the crowd with a warm “Hello Motherfuckers!” Bursting into ‘Dracula’, the atmosphere turns electric with pandemonium as the crowd raps along to every word from the mosh pit.

‘Rolling Papers’ and ‘Sandwitches’ soon follow suit, delivered with precise execution and received with hysteria.

There’s no set list to mention of as the group talk among themselves about which track to drop next, adding to the raw, unorganised and authentic feel that matches their performance. At a time where mainstream hip hop is becoming as glitzy and image-obsessed as pop, the collective’s ‘I don’t give a fuck’ attitude becomes that bit more refreshing.

As an overly excited member of the audience throws a shoe on stage, Tyler stops the music and threatens to “fuck up” the guilty culprit. (Odd Future are notorious for getting into altercations with their fans.) But before any violence erupts, the charismatic frontman gets stuck into ‘Yonkers’, gaining the loudest response of the night.

OFWGKTA are as well known for their shock-style tactics as they are for their actual songs, but continue to prove on a live setting that it is all about the music. As a talented lyricist and voice of a generation, Tyler, The Creator has immense stage presence that at times completely over-shadows the rest of the crew. But with that said, it is an outstanding group performance that would have only been bettered by the presents of Frank Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt.

Words by Vanessa Laker

Follow Clash: