A little over a week ago I ventured out to my 2nd show in as many weeks. This time I was heading out to see Los Angeles hip hop collective Odd Future also known as OFWGKTA which is short for Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. If you aren't familiar with the act you must have been living under a rock for the past few months, or as they like to point out, old.
Odd Future has been getting an excessive level of much deserved buzz due to the finely crafted albums, nine in the last year, which they release for free on the Odd Future tumblr site. Additionally they have released self created videos that are unlike anything that has come out of the genre in, well in like forever. The collective carries an unhinged energy that harkens back to the days of Suicidal Tendencies self titled release. There is a sense of danger and controlled madness in their music that has been sorely lacking for the better than a decade now.
There seems to be a cult of personality building around these guys that has endeared them to even the most contrarian hip hop fan, from new jacks who are just getting off Drake to boom bap dinosaurs like myself who have walked away from the genre which has become so woefully stale. I guess it only seems right that a youth culture would be resurrected by a collective of artists in their teens.
When I arrived at the venue the line was already around the block, and being that I was wearing a cardigan and looked old enough to be many a patron's dad, I was repeatedly asked if I was on the right line. I guess I looked more like a fan of Bonobo who was playing in one of the other rooms in the venue.
By the time I got in the club was packed and the air was with anticipation. I ran into SYFFAL contributors Blockhead and Chaz Kangas before the set kicked off. The DJ was playing a very fresh set that the majority of the crowd was getting hype as Fuck too. Sadly I knew very few of the acts, most notably Lil B. Chaz promised that he would make me a mix of his best work, a mix that I am still waiting on. The Mellowhype cats and Tyler would pop out from back stage every few minutes to toss out Fuck OFWGKTA shirts to the crowd who ate it up and cheer each time they appeared.
When the DJ announced that they were going to start the crowd broke into a Wolf Gang chant similar in style to the old Wu Tang chant. The energy the crowd gave was immediately returned with the opening number Sandwiches and from there they never looked back.
Much of the early set was Mellowhype, with an occasional appearance by Mike G and Tyler, but as the set went on Hodgy Beats and Tyler took over and brought the crowd to a frenzied pitch, openly mocking the labels and press that came out to adore them. Taunting the clubs curfew and kicking the shit out of the set.
Watching Odd Future and the crowd revel in the anarchy of youth I felt proud to know that a grand tradition continues. I had been worried for so long that today's youth were fully swallowed up in a consumer culture that has learned how to market and muzzle the much needed creative energy that real rebellion thrives in. Lucky for us there are kids like Odd Future telling old Fucks like me and you to Fuck off. It's the circle of life.