“Let me tell y’all a little muthaf*ckin story real quick!”
In 2007, a group of young ragtag teenagers and twentysomething’s founded a group called Odd Future, with the intention of making a magazine. Multiple Grammy’s and countless accolades later, those kids built an empire that has stood the test of time in an age where relevancy is day to day.
The Good Old Days
That’s right, Odd Future was meant to be a magazine. At least that was the initial vision of founding member Tyler, the Creator. A wide-eyed, 16 year-old Tyler was the brains behind the operation called Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (OFWGKTA), more affectionately referred to as simply “Odd Future”, a hip-hop collective that served as the stepping stone for some of the biggest names in music, and was once tipped to be the group that revolutionised Hip-Hop for the 21st Century.
Tyler had grown up with a love for music and pop culture, so when he met the other founding members of the group, they wasted no time getting started. Within a year, they had recorded a mixtape, The Odd Future Tape, in the basement of Syd tha Kid and Taco’s central LA crib, known as “The Trap”.
From there, the members of OF spent the next few years releasing solo mixtapes, as well as performing shows together in Los Angeles and London, with the latter show selling out in under 48 hours. Their stage behaviour was compared to that of a punk rock band, but Pitchfork labelled the group as “Indie Rap”. The stark contrast in their musical style to their presence sent waves through Hip-Hop and popular culture in general, as more and more of their talent became recognised. Odd Future was making a name for themselves.
With too many members to count, the founders were Tyler, the Creator, Hodgy, Left Brain, Pyramid Vritra, Matt Martians and Jasper Dolphin. Later the group was joined by members Earl Sweatshirt, Frank Ocean, Domo Genesis, Syd, Mike G, Taco, Lionel Boyce and Casey Veggies. There are some huge names in that roster, with members still collaborating to this day and hanging as friends, adding to the legacy of Odd Future.
Rise of the Kids
The group signed with Sony Music Entertainment to create their own label, Odd Future Records in 2011. Under the label, they would complete a sold out 27 stop tour and create a TV Show known as Loiter Squad in 2012. It featured Tyler, Earl, Jasper, Taco and Lionel as main cast members, with cameos from other Odd Future members and celebrity guests such as Seth Rogen, Tony Hawk and Johnny Knoxville. The show lasted for three seasons and had a cult following for its entire runtime on Adult Swim.
In March of 2012 they released The OF Tape, Vol. 2 as a sequel to the original mixtape, and was their biggest project as a collective. In July of 2012, Frank Ocean released his debut studio album Channel Orange, which was nominated for six Grammy’s including Album of the Year, signalling Odd Future’s break into the mainstream through one of their own members.
From there, Earl Sweatshirt debuted his first album Doris to critical acclaim in 2013. In the same year, Tyler released his second album Wolf to critical acclaim, debuting at number 3 on the Billboard Top 200 and shipping 89,000 odd units in its opening week.
At this point, it’s clear that the members of Odd Future had made a name for themselves. So much so, that in 2014 they opened for Eminem at Wembley Stadium in London, which would serve as the last time they would all perform together as a collective.
OFWGKTA was billed on the 4th Annual Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival, a festival created and run by member Tyler, the Creator. Despite his affiliation with the group, Tyler didn’t perform with them, as he had his own set on that night, as well as Earl boycotting as he continued to distance himself from the group while delving into his own solo work.
In 2016, Syd announced her departure from the group to work solely with her group The Internet, and Hodgy’s record Fireplace: TheNotTheOtherSide would be the last released under the Odd Future label, with other members signing on to bigger and better deals.
Although it’s never been officially announced, Odd Future is believed to have broken up completely, and is now survived purely by a website selling old merchandise, and the friendships made between the members and their collaborations together musically.
Tyler, the Creator, born Tyler Okonma and known as Odd Future’s ring leader has released five studio albums and received a Grammy for Best Rap Album at the most recent award ceremony for his album Igor, which also went number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. As an entrepreneur, he has founded and continues to grow his clothing brand Golf Wang (fun fact: his Camp Flog Gnaw festival is just Golf Wang backwards), even signing seven figure deals with companies like Converse to create shoes for them. He is also responsible for the production of most of his music, as well as serving as director of his music videos, and even modelled for a Gucci lookbook.
Frank Ocean is inarguably the biggest name to come out of Odd Future, and with just two studio albums to his name he has reached a mythical status in the music industry. Frank’s music sits solely in the lane of Pop, especially his debut Channel Orange, but his introspective, soft and painful second album Blonde is considered one of the best albums of the last decade. He has worked with musicians such as Kanye West, Jay-Z and Beyonce, as both a songwriter and collaborator on multiple projects of theirs. His third project was rumoured to release this year after a multitude of singles, but it has since been put on hold due to his brothers untimely passing.
Earl Sweatshirt is a hip-hop artist that any fan of the genre needs no introduction to. He has three studio projects under his belt, with his most recent being his most acclaimed to date; Some Rap Songs. He is a long time collaborator of Ocean’s and Okonma’s, and has delivered some of the best rap albums of the past decade, ranging from experimental to traditional in their delivery. His life is seemingly quite private much like Ocean’s, but his output has highlighted how hardworking and disciplined he is when creating a sound.
Other members have had great success in music since joining OF. Syd Tha Kyd went on to found critically acclaimed hip-hop collective The Internet, Domo Genesis has made a name for himself in the underground and SoundCloud communities, Jasper and fellow OF member Errol have a ViceLand series about their first times doing stuff and Lionel is producing TV with Tyler.
Those That Followed
What Odd Future left behind was a strong fanbase dedicated to each of the members, which helped carry their individual works higher and further; a sort of makeshift launch platform. However, there were fans who took what Odd Future had started, the idea that a group of friends could hang out and make music and change the face of what a genre could be, and made it their own.
The biggest claim to such fame is the self proclaimed “boyband” BROCKHAMPTON. A group of friends from Texas put out an ad on a Kanye West fan forum asking if people wanted to make a hip-hop collective and move to L.A. to kick it off. After a decade, five albums including the chart topping Iridescence, and international acclaim, fans of Odd Future have been vocal of BROCKHAMPTON doing what OF always had the potential to do.
Odd Future will forever remain in the zeitgeist as something that gave us a host of creators and musicians that not only had the opportunity to create their own amazing art, but inspired a generation of others to live free of artistic oppression and be whatever they desire. That’s the true untamed legacy of Odd Future.
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