In a world of shock rap, Odd Future is nothing to be surprised by.
A few hours before OFWGKTA’s show, a large cardboard box, filled with valuable merchandise, is thrown out the window, causing a moment of chaotic panic for the group’s tour manager and respective handlers. Nobody comes forth as the culprit, and the group’s salivating fans, diligently lined-up on the pavement below, barely took notice. Who did it? What was the motive? Does it even matter? This is all a day in the life of hip-hop’s most unlikely stars.
But perhaps the band’s devilish tactics (and meteoric success) are not all that mystical. Their fanbase, for this particular show, checks in at around fresh-faced adolescence age, tops. Anyone over 21 is clearly living vicariously through this free-spirited collective known as Odd Future, who stomp around on the stage for what seems like hours of a morbid, never-ending Neverland.
With seven out of 12 members on deck, minus Left Brain’s stylish aesthetic and Hodgy Beats’ undeniable swagger, they are virtually intertwined, making it hard to distinguish who is what, until Tyler, The Creator, the group’s de facto leader, breaks up the monotony with his compelling presence.
Wearing an Odd Future T-shirt (European tour dates listed on the back), a "Golf" cap, three-quarter shorts and checker-print Vans, his moments on stage are savoured by fans. Girls hover over shoulders and necks wavering to be noticed by the emcee, who, whilst loyal to his following, is no Justin Bieber.
“I’m not jumping into the crowd,” he yells at one point. “I’m not trying to get raped in my ass.”
Endless blunts are rolled, cups filled with drank, and the show is a mind-boggling trip – the kind that everyone should experience at least once. Taco, the group’s bushy-haired DJ entertains no one in particular with ill dance moves: one being an interesting attempt at breaking, another, a seizure-like sprawling splatter on the floor.
Mike G, the more mellow figure in the group, balances out the overzealous antics that are taking place. And then, inevitably, even he gives in, diving into the crowd wearing nothing more than socks and low-slung jeans.
There is nothing organised about the performance. There is no apparent set list, no choreographic moves (unless improvised), and no skits. And though you can see the rage oozing from faces in the audience, as they recite rhymes of discontent, there's something calculated amidst the seemingly disorientated, disjointed show, even down to the achingly poor sound quality.
Odd Future is a thrilling experience, unlike anything of its kind. The crew, whose chemistry is strong, represents the voice of an unsung generation. One that has no interest in the gangsterisms of decades prior, nor the kind of melancholic, self-absorbed hip-hop culture engulfed in pussy, money, and weed (ironic as it is).
“I went to see the show,” muses a gawky kid, wearing an Odd Future shirt, making his way to Camden Town afterwards. “It was good, but the sound was bad.” Then he literally hop-skips into the night, and disappears.
No need to hide your kids, they’re doing just fine.
Words: Safra Ducreay
Photo: Burak Cingi
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