In 2006 at the age of 15, Tyler, The Creator formed the hip hop collective known as Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, or to be short Odd Future. Along with other founding members Casey Veggies, Hodgy, Left Brain, Jasper, Matt Martians and Pyramid Vritra, they released their first mixtape as a group, ‘The OF Tape Vol. 1″. At the time I’d never heard of Odd Future and I hadn’t heard this mixtape until long after it’s release, Odd Future to me were pretty unknown, it was only when the groups rise in popularity that things really kicked into gear. Being joined by siblings Syd and Taco in 2008, 2009 would see Tyler release a solo mixtape called ‘Bastard’ with lyrics so explicit he would later go on to be banned from 3 countries for it, it was the huge popularity of this mixtape, along with the inclusion of a whole new bunch of Odd Future members that really saw the group rise to fame. The group added some vital members in 2009 and 2010, with the addition of a rap genius Earl Sweatshirt and the legend that is Frank Ocean, along with Mike G, Lucas and L- Boy (The last two are very important to OF) following the inclusion of these members, the group would release another mixtape called ‘Radical’ which garnered more attention than the last due to the popularity of ‘Bastard’. From here the group would drop a compilation known as ’12 Odd Future Songs’ a year that also saw the release of Frank Ocean and Tylers debut albums which received huge amounts of publicity, all this popularity would go into making ‘The OF Tape Vol. 2’ as a group in 2012, and after that we never saw an OF tape again, we didn’t really see anything from Odd Future as a group, so where does the love, nostalgia and heartbreak come from for an Odd Future fan?
I only really caught on to the OF hype around 2011 and I only really played it hard from 2012, so you could call me a late bloomer to jump on the bandwagon, but I just cannot get off the bandwagon, I still believe that every member of the group still loves the group and that they will reform, I can’t lose that hope. Everything they did was brilliant, as a young teenager who kind of grew up around the same time as some OF guys I loved everything they stood for. They were the rebels most teenagers wouldn’t dare be, they did what they wanted and said what they wanted, they were young men who had everything they wanted in the palms of their hands and it was almost a role model kind of group, in a very bad way but I still wanted to be like that. When you watch the interviews back, when you watch Loiter Squad back, when you listen to the songs back, it takes me back to a 15 year old in his last year of school, it brings me to my first year of college bumping ‘Goblin’ in my headphones even though it was 3 years old. The song ‘Oldie’ which features pretty much all of OF is the best example of this nostalgia I speak of, the out of the blue video they made for that is one of the best videos ever, it’s a 10 minute plus song that I try to rap all the lyrics to every time, Tyler’s last verse that has deep meaning to Odd Future, everything about that song embodies an Odd Future fan for me and it just brings me back to when I first fell in love with it. Loiter Squad adds to the nostalgia, my Twitter is just rammed full of old school OF videos that I’ll religiously watch and then wish they made another season. Not just Loiter Squad, the old videos they use to do on Youtube were mad funny, ‘A Day in Ladera’ was one of the funniest videos out there for a while. The old OF clothes were cool to me, the group kind of became a lifestyle to a lot of people, it was essentially a cult following, but of course to members of that cult it felt like much more than that.
Everything this group did was seen as perfection by it’s loyal fans, the clothing they made was not just a fashion statement, but to those who bought it, it was a lifestyle choice. You had kids wearing Supreme and Vans and thought it was cool, they felt like they had a place, a lot of people already had that place but having Odd Future cemented that place even further. Having guys like Jasper and Lionel made the group different, and it was a good different, without those kind of guys it makes it more of a normal group so they were essential. Jasper is so loved by the OF fans to this day for just being a cool dude. If I was to create a rap group it would be heavily Odd Future inspired.
After ‘The OF Tape Vol. 2’ was released, musically most of the bigger guys branched out away from OF, Earl was dropping heat with ‘Doris’ Frank was dropping heat with ‘Channel Orange, The Internet would release an album and Tyler would go solo with his second album ‘Wolf’. there was nothing wrong with these guys going solo, it didn’t bother me one bit, in fact I loved that they all brought out amazing albums that I could bump constantly, it kind of felt like I could add it to my OF playlist, then somewhere in all of the solo success, the group just faded into obscurity. Tension was apparent between a few members, the best pure rapper in the group Earl Sweatshirt left the group in 2015, Syd officially left in 2016, and after a lot of rumblings on social media people kind of just came to the conclusion that Odd Future was no more. That is heartbreak right there. It’s very similar to when Take That split up and loads of middle aged women were collapsing in the street, only I was just a really sad teenager. In more recent times we’ve seen the big three (Earl, Tyler and Frank) all drop fire from 2015 onwards, but not only that we’ve seen The Internet drop an album then go solo, the rise of Domo Genesis and a lot of the old OF guys evolve. It’s a fun time for a rap fan with all these guys dropping heat and Frank and Syd dropping jewels too, but I always just feel like this isn’t OF anymore, at points in time I forget that Frank was even part of the group.
Every now and then we see glimmers of the old school OF. Domo dropped a music vid that featured the likes of Tyler and Jasper, EarlWolf (Tyler and Earl duo) have done a few sets together for the first time since Earl left the group, as well as the meetup of OF at the annual Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival in 2015. There’s some moments in time which make you think that OF could make a comeback and with all my heart I hope there is one day, for the time being these guys are doing amazing going down their own paths, but as a teenage OF fan, when I’m in my mid twenties I’ll still want an OF Tape Vol. 3
“O.F, shit that’s all I got”