Looking back on a seminal collective...

11 years ago, an unknown collective out of the city of Los Angeles released a project entitled ‘The Odd Future Tape’.

As the tape began to gain traction, the release of leader Tyler, The Creator’s ‘Bastard’ project a year later is what put the group known as Odd Future on the map.

This week marks the anniversary of the 'Bastard' project - December 25th - and the moment that established Odd Future as worthy contenders in the rap game. With an incredibly long acronym (OFWGKTADGAFLLBBLSBFBN, abbreviated to OFWGKTA) and a large number of members ranging from Frank Ocean to Earl Sweatshirt, these past few years have made it extremely clear that Odd Future was a monumental movement which helped define this past decade.

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During a pivotal time where there was a number of collectives forming including Pro Era, A$AP Mob, Beast Coast, Top Dawg and more, Odd Future was definitely the standout group. With their controversial lyrics depicting rape and necrophilia, and incredibly disturbing music videos along with insane live shows, these waywards antics still managed to instill some sort of admiration within people creating a die hard fanbase and cult following - with cancel culture being non-existent also helping.

Standout projects including Earl Sweatshirt’s self titled mixtape, Domo Genesis’ ‘Rolling Papers’ mixtape as well as neo-soul band The Internet’s debut album ‘Purple Naked Ladies’ further exhibited the range of these delinquent teenagers as well as the talent they exhumed.

However, music wasn’t the group’s only talent. Along with their comical music videos and the incredible growth of social media platforms documenting everyday life, Odd Future’s antics always managed to be humorous and entertaining which led to the gang landing their own live-action sketch comedy show ‘Loiter Squad’ on the Adult Swim network.

Featuring man-on-the-street segments, pranks and infamous sketches including ‘Carl’s Wake’ and ‘Real Housewives Of Atlanta’, this show gave insight into the relationship between the team members as well as their personalities showing an even more lovable side with each member.

With comedy and musical genius already under the belt, these young lads were also trendsetters. Brands such as Supreme and Fucking Awesome saw an increase in sales once Odd Future became famous as fans wanted to replicate their favourite rappers’ style.

If we’re being completely honest, the whole pop-up shop idea really didn’t take off until Odd Future started doing it. Selling their overpriced but worthy merchandise as well as conversing with fans in a meet and greet environment was the highlight of the OF craze.

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Being able to meet the famous rappers without paying an excess amount of money showed the members in a more likeable light especially around their constant controversy. Along with the annual Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival created by Tyler, it gave the public another look at the group showing that they’re not as crazy and reckless as their lyrics.

Back in November, Clash managed to catch up with OF member Mike G at Camp Flog Gnaw to discuss the current legacy he’s apart of and how it feels being a vital part of history. He commented: “It feels great and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Releasing the first tape, we had expectations but didn’t really think it would do what it did.” 

Not wanting to change anything over the past 10 years and not regretting what happened, Mike G notes that he does feel a certain type of way about things that didn’t happen. As mentioned before, the rollout of collectives at the beginning of this decade almost seemed excessive and could’ve been interpreted as copycat behaviour.

As self-proclaimed trendsetters, Mike G reiterates that other collectives were respected as long as they showed respect. “There was an era where people didn’t respect us and where older people felt some animosity towards what we were doing and I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through that in music as a whole.”

Mike G’s last project entitled ‘Exile’ allowed him to tap into different genres. Now with his upcoming project, he details the pressure to release music, the new experience of working with a band and cites this as his most expressive project yet. “I feel pressure sometimes but then you step back and realise that you’re on your own course and nobody can demand anything from you.”

According to social media and cryptic tweets and lyrics from Tyler, it would appear that OF has parted ways but yet they still remain a staple in the numerous great things that happened this decade and each member seems to still be doing something to retain the legacy; whether it be being nominated for a Grammy like Tyler, Frank Ocean, Syd and Matt or releasing critically acclaimed projects like Earl, Mike G and Domo Genesis.

And although the era has come to an end, the cult following will never allow you to forget that Odd Future lit up this decade.

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Words: Debbie Ijaduola

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