Odd Future On “Best Behavior” at Pitchfork

Decoding the LA shock-rap collective’s real influence after a less-than-engaging set at this weekend’s Pitchfork Music Festival.

Tyler the CreatorOdd Future did their set at Pitchfork, and the shrugs are in:

“Musically, it’s kind of a dud”

“thoroughly unexceptional live hip-hop act”

“a very average hip-hop show”

But one thing clicked for me:

“Before launching into “Pidgeons,” with its refrain of “Kill people, burn s—, f— school….

Hmm. I knew I’d heard that before, that it was derivative of something. Gravediggaz? Geto Boys? No, wait:

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school
We have tortured every teacher, we have broken every rule
[snip]
Glory, glory hallelujah
Teacher hit me with a ruler
I hid behind the door with a loaded .44
And she ain’t my teacher no more

There are, of course, variations: I bopped her on the bean / with a rotten tangerine; I hid up in the attic with a .40 automatic.

My friend @Sam_Eck, who introduced me to the group and who has forgotten more about both California punk and hip-hop than I will ever know, sent in another data point:

The last thing I’ll note about Odd Future that people ignore is their really close aesthetic relationship to first-wave LA punk. Negation for its own scene is really important in that scene, mostly as a means of total war against the really aesthetized surfaces of the place they live. Because LA is superficially pretty and really dangerous, I always picture the Germs et al as screaming IT’S A TRAP SAVE YOURSELF over and over, and I think there’s something of that to OFWGKTA.

I think that triangulates them pretty well: LA punk, horrorcore, and the stuff you got in trouble for singing in 5th grade if the teachers heard you.

 

Photograph: OFWGKTA

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