He's caused a furore by beating Wiz and Big Sean at the VMA Awards, but the meteoric rise of Odd Future and Tyler is far from an organic movement and it would seem it has all been carefully orchestrated from day one...
Tyler, the Creator and his swarm of lunatics known as OFWGKTA – all equipped with scathing lyrics about serial killing, rape and drug abuse – have been creating mass hysteria within the hip-hop community. In a short space of time, everyone seems to have leapt on the Tyler bandwagon, but why is it that everyone is so shamelessly gushing about how innovative and original he is? Personally, I see it as the start of a revolution within hip-hop. Predictable verses about diamonds, hookers and bullshit laced with excruciating vocals has become tedious at best. Many are sick of seeing fully grown boys wasting expensive champagne and claiming ownership of barely dressed harlots. Hip-hop as we know it needed shaking up. Granted, the Odd Future invasion is extreme, as their philosophy is one that could be easily mistaken for that of an unhinged psychopath, slowly jotting down his school shooting modus operandi on the back of Palahniuk book cover, but this is what makes their music so strangely refreshing and obscure. They offer the same mesmerising sadism that had me spinning Eminem’s ‘Kim’ on repeat as a 10-year-old. OFWGKTA are the horrifying car crash at the side of the road that we know we really shouldn’t stare at, but we do.
However, despite the twisted mental institution lyrics that Tyler often recites, there’s a lot more to it than that. A teenage uprising of social rebellion is hardly worth its weight in gold, we’ve seen controversy come and go, but not only has Tyler made angst cool again, he’s also done it with a strange sense of professionalism. Yes, he does use the word fuck excessively and most photo opportunities capture the moment he regurgitates his food perfectly, but explicit lyrics and a ‘don’t give a fuck’ attitude can only take you so far. Tyler has pretty much brought OFWGKTA through single handed. He wouldn’t be headlining SXSW and riding Jimmy Fallon around if he didn’t have something deeper in terms of substance.
Predictable verses about diamonds, hookers and bullshit laced with excruciating vocals has become tedious at best.
You just have to look at the Odd Future website. Imagine throwing hell into a bag, smashing it with a hammer and then scattering it out onto the carpet. The artwork is that of an ink blot obsessive, someone who hasn’t quite got all their marbles in the pouch. Singed Barbie dolls stand bent with Giraffe heads below a Hitler mask with its eyes and mouth cut out. Album covers play host to eerie looking school children, stood to attention wearing copy and paste Wolf Gang t-shirts. If this isn’t the art of a psychopath, I don’t know what is. Even the name, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, has that lingering feeling of nutcase to it. However, I don’t feel this is the work of lunatics, I believe all of this was carefully orchestrated from day one.
Tyler may seem brash, immature and offensive, but beneath it all there are strong lyrics with double meanings and deep metaphors, often covering the harsh abandonment a child feels as their father walks out, or the bullying experienced by those who dare to be different. If all this was simply an act of reckless anarchy, it wouldn’t fit together so perfectly. At first glance, the naming of mixtapes, singles and artists may seem flippant and random. Names like ‘Earl Sweatshirt’ and ‘Sandwiches’. But when compared with the rest of the OFWGKTA affiliation, it all just works. I guess most fans will see it as a non-conformist move, but I see it as organized chaos. The allure of the terrifying unknown is what has us watching horror films and random pain affliction videos on the internet. Psycho sells.
If all this was simply an act of reckless anarchy, it wouldn’t fit together so perfectly.
Even his critics have acknowledged the ability Tyler has to create hype around his name. It wasn’t the media who did all this, nor the record label or the magazines. OFWGKTA self-published all of their early material and spread it across the Internet like the viral infection it was intended to be. Each insult was a chance for them to scream ‘fuck you!’ even louder, increasing the reach of their exposure. There was no chance or luck involved. Tyler, the Creator formed his own hype and made sure that they’d all be discovered. He’s mastered the concept of bizarre human intrigue that our generation has refused to keep under wraps. He’s pushing the problems of our world in our faces without making it a plea to the masses or a concept song mithering about the sad state of affairs. He becomes the beast and lets us see how disgusting and terrible it is, something that has made him impossible to ignore.
Despite being kicked out of 12 schools, Tyler has carved himself a niche by spitting satanic verses about drug riddled prostitutes who’ve been assaulted at the church altar. Yet he’s an atheist and a straight edge who enjoys nothing more than watching cartoon network whilst bouncing on his trampoline. Yes, his lyrics are violent and brilliant, but he’s also in a weird way a business man and a story teller who seems to be hitting all the right notes, garnering as much attention as possible. Sometimes, amongst our endless consumerism and obsessive celebrity infatuation, we need something to make us truly stare into the human abyss. I believe Tyler, the Creator and OFWGKTA force us to do this in a way that is entertaining.
Or maybe I’m just looking way too deeply into it all and they truly are a bunch of morons getting their kicks off of sniffing glue and setting stuff on fire.
‘Goblin’ is available to buy now
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