Oh, Odd Future: How you have grown. You were arguably the most talked about music collective last year, and your popularity has only increased since then. There used to be a mystique about you, which added to your appeal. Was Tyler, the Creator a sadistic and misogynistic rapist? Would Earl Sweatshirt ever return to the United States? Did Left Brain actually smack that photographer? A year later and most questions have been answered.
The group lasted past their hype and are well into the second phase of their success. The umbrella that is Odd Future maintains multiple side projects: MellowHype, MellowHigh, The Internet, The Jet Age of Tomorrow and EarlWolf, as well as each artist’s solo endeavors.
Friday, December 7, the collective prepared an arsenal of songs for their sold-out crowd at Emo’s.
Surrounded by a congregation of Odd Future apparel-wearing teens, I definitely felt out-of-place. I probably would have been categorized under the “hip-hop hipster” demographic. Nonetheless, I was there to mosh out and see Earl in the flesh—sentiments both myself and the aforementioned teens could agree on.
Taco Bennett, Odd Future’s primary DJ (his sister, Syd Bennett, is currently touring with her side project, The Internet) took the stage as the group’s opener. Taco immediately went into an assortment of old and current rap hits: Waka Flocka Flame’s “Grove St. Party,” Chief Keef’s “Don’t Like” and Lil Jon’s “Get Low.”
Soon after the collective came out one by one: Hodgy Beats, Domo Genesis, Earl Sweatshirt, Tyler, the Creator, Mike G and Jasper Dolphin.
The gang of wolves were ready to go, with Hodgy Beats and Domo Genesis going into their song, “Bitches.”
For the first 10 minutes of the show my eyes were glued to Earl Sweatshirt. For the longest time he was Odd Future’s mystery boy, his whereabouts unknown to everybody but Odd Future and close friends.
The headlines were rampant last year: “Earl Sweatshirt in Samoa,” “Earl Sweatshirt denies being kept from Odd Future against his will,” etc., etc.
The former headline turned out true, with Complex discovering the elusive rapper’s whereabouts. Fast forward to now and Earl has returned, having debuted two new songs, as well as collaborated with his Odd Future family and other artists.
This Odd Future show felt more like a celebration. Last year when the group performed at Fun Fun Fun Fest, they were still riding high on Sex Pistols-esque mystique and teenage angst. Now, the guys have money in their pockets, have worked with an assortment of artists from varying genres and have their best friend back. The future is not so odd for Odd Future anymore.
The show’s climactic high point was arguably “Orange Juice,” a song between Tyler, the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt. “Fuck with the wolves we starting to bark viciously,” screamed Tyler, as he faced Earl. The intensity was high, and everyone at Emo’s East could feel it.
The group’s repertoire for the night was great: Tyler’s “French,” the collective’s “Rella,” MellowHype’s “50”—so many songs compiled into an hour and a half set.
And it’s great to see how well each member compliments one another. When Tyler’s turnt-up demeanor requires a brief break, weed rapper Mike G will take over and sooth the crowd with laid-back flows. When the entire group wants to just relax for a moment, they’ll have Taco, Jasper and Lionel take the stage for a comedic interlude (aka the trio’s laughably-absurd song “We Got Bitches”).
The collective’s set ended with Tyler’s “Sandwitches,” which became chaotic upon its drop. Myself and several other members a part of the crowd fell to the floor, which honestly, has not happened to me since my metal days in El Paso. It was at that moment I felt like a teenager again—pissed-off, rebellious and just wanting to jump over everything in sight.
Odd Future still has a long and unpredictable future ahead of them. But as of right now the collective is doing what they do best: causing a ruckus and bringing a breath of fresh air to hip-hop music.
Photo provided by Amy Price.