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Odd Future Make Unorthodox Hip-Hop the New Norm

Posted in MusicWorld on July 14, 2011 by
Photo: Julian Berman

In less than a year, the world embraced the phenomenon known as Odd Future Wolfgang Kill Them All, or OFWGKTA. With currently ten members making music, the Los Angeles-based collective has been known for crafting unabashed hip-hop that’s both refreshing and unexpected in music’s current landscape. Since their year-plus tenure in the spotlight, OFWGKTA have already been taken to task for the nature of their lyrics. However, according to one of the original members, Hodgy Beats, their lyrics are being taken too seriously. “It’s just music,” the young rapper explains. “I don’t get it. It’s ok to have an imagination. It’s our free-spirited, free-minded way of thinking that scares people.”

Per Hodgy, there is no real structured method to how OFWGKTA concocts their abstract rhymes; it’s all based on a “vibe.” “We encourage everyone to be self-expressionists,” Hodgy states. “Say exactly how you feel.” Writing sessions are usually spur of the moment, with just a few members at a time working in the studio, never all at once. “Everyone has the same objective and that’s to use the studio, but it can’t all happen at the same time,” he says. While ringleader Tyler, the Creator, is known for having perhaps the most aggressive lyrics, he’s also known as the fastest songwriter in the group. Tyler’s second album (but first real retail release) Goblin debuted at #5 this year on the Billboard charts, despite its heavy and dark lyrical content.

Hodgy explains that while most members of OFWGKTA readily create music, he struggled for a while when estranged member Earl Sweatshirt left the group to attend boarding school. “Honestly, him leaving made it harder for me to write,” Hodgy says. “As a songwriter, that just f***ed me up.” Hodgy, with producer Left Brain, form the sub-group MellowHype and are next in line to take the mainstream by storm, along with resident crooner Frank Ocean.

OFWGKTA may not be the most conventional crew hip-hop has ever seen, but their non-conformist ways are what keep the people listening. “We said we could do this, and we did it all…together,” Hodgy proudly states. “I’m happy.”