In a week that the group under fire for anti-gay slurs more than any other time in its short existence, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All is further plotting their own future.
One of the hip-hop troupe’s members, Frank Ocean, is finally making some headway with his label Def Jam, after a tumultuous release of his debut “Nostalgia, Ultra.” After the major slept on the set, Odd Future’s sole singer decided to release it on his own, via Tumblr, in February this year. Now, the record company is prepared re-release the set under their own terms, with single “Novacane” dropping on iTunes on May 31 and the whole album heading to shops on July 26.
This after OFWGKTA cohort Tyler the Creator made an impact on the sales chart this week, moving 45,000 units of his XL debut “Goblin.” It seems Def Jam is ready to make a little scratch of its own off of the phenomenon, no matter if Odd Future’s future as a collective is short-lived or better than the hype.
Ocean’s already at work on a follow-up album, with a little help from guests like labelmate Nas. Additionally, he reportedly was working with Beyonce on new tracks for her next album “4” and has penned material for Justin Bieber and John Legend.
Odd Future are apparently working on a new Adult Swim show, just like Jay-Z. Breakoff duo MellowHype are getting their own Fat Possum re-release this summer, after sending their “BlackenedWhite” into the world on their own last fall. The elusive Earl Sweatshirt showed up in New Yorker Magazine this week.
All this, around the same week that sh*t finally met fan in regards to Tyler’s anti-gay and misogynistic lyricism. As he ascended onto the chart, openly gay singer/songwriter Sara Quin of Tegan and Sara (and with the help of GLAAD) publicly took the rapper to task for his rhymes — to which, of course, Tyler responded on Twitter by inviting either one of the duo’s sisters to some of his “hard d*ck.”
Unsurprising as a retort, from an artist in a troupe who’s made the music industry, at current, its plaything. I don’t think there were think-pieces left to write after all the rampant label courtship stories hit the wire at SXSW this year, despite erratic performances and impetuous behavior from the group. Tyler was arrested the same week as his album release for disorderly conduct earlier this month. Violent behavior like bottle-throwing has erupted at their concerts, cutting sets short. Tyler has even urged that Odd Future’s followers kill the mean-spirited rhetoric toward Earl’s mom (read: “F*ck Earl’s Mom”) at their chant-heavy shows.
That’s a stunning request from somebody who obviously has no remorse for often lazy and degrading language. Like I said in my initial Odd Future missive, we as consumers have fed that machine. We’ve rewarded that sort of thing all along, with Grammy Awards, and No. 1 albums and such, and not just in hip-hop. We’re guilty too, and it’s more unsettling in our tolerance than dangerous in its actual execution. Somebody who has honest-to-goodness raw talent like Tyler and some of his Odd Future cohorts (including Ocean) find gold not by seeking the end of the rainbow, but by pissing on it.
Odd Future aren’t mainstream success stories yet, considering they have yet to release a proper studio set. There’s a hit yet to “hit,” and our moms have never heard of ’em. But maybe Def Jam signings and festival headlinings will push the bad-news-as-good-publicity discussion up front. What will Frank Ocean or MellowHype or any of these guys have to say when they strike out on their own this summer?