Lately I’ve been really intrigued by LA-based teen hip hop collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (or Odd Future for short) and I’ve been going back and checking out their musical output and videos. Odd Future is like the collective id of 4chan set to a beat. As a longtime watcher/commentator on underground culture, I’m thrilled to report that—finally, at long last—there is actually some truly rebellious music being created again by young people. Something as insane, nihilistic and as thrilling as punk rock was for me when I was a kid. I’m not saying I completely understand their appeal or that I necessarily relate to what the members of Odd Future are rapping about, but then again, I’m a married 45-year-old white guy and I don’t think the teenagers in Odd Future give a flying fuck what I think. Or what you or anybody else thinks, for that matter. Nor should they. They’re teenagers.
The kids in this scene are both media savvy and fearless in the extreme—not unlike the Jackass crew, who they have a fair amount in common with, as you’ll see. With the goal being to create a viral YouTube clip, this really is a brilliant example of how you would go about topping what has come before you. This video, “Earl,” features Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt (who was 16-years-old when this was made) and friends drinking something nasty and getting way fucked-up, going skateboarding, pulling off their fingernails, vomiting, spitting blood and pulling their own teeth out. You think I’m joking? Hit play.
A lot of you will probably watch this video with shock and disgust, but before you condemn their artform, keep in mind that the object of this video WAS to shock and disgust folks like you! (Pasolini didn’t exactly make Salo to entertain people, either). More than that, it was made to thrill Odd Future’s fanbase and that it does. If you ask me, their artistic strategy is right on the money—Were you a little shocked? Check. A little upset? Check—and 100% successful in delivering on what it promises in extremely NSFW amounts! Say what you like about this video, young Mr. Sweatshirt and co. certainly have the courage of their convictions, whatever these convictions… may be… Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All are the honey badger of hip hop and as we all know, honey badger don’t give a shit.
Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All are booked to play this year’s Coachella Festival but it’s up in the air if Earl Sweatshirt, currently doing time in some sort of “boot camp” for juvenile offenders, will be able to join them. With the lame line-up this year, Odd Future’s set should get loads of attention. I suspect they’re going to go all out, but how do you top something like this? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.