Although many serious hip hop heads will maintain that mainstream rappers have long lost their affiliation with the streets, it is common knowledge that hip hop started as a dance craze. To offset this mind-numbing wave of radio-friendly, bullshit pop singles, fans turn to the underground, often discovering a slew of talented emcees in the rubble. In the no-holds-barred underground hip-hop world, artists are free to rhyme about whatever their hearts desire.
Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, or Odd Future for short, have steadily created a name for themselves on blogs, music sites, magazines, and have even received a few nods from underground hip-hop legends such as Mos Def. Boasting a host of skilled emcees in true Wu Tang-esque fashion, the group has released three mixtapes and nine solo albums, all specializing in “taboo” subject matter.
Their subject matter has invited criticism from a number of different sources, who all accuse them of tainting the genre with, among other toe-curdling topics, misogynistic raps about rape for instance. But how can a genre that has exposed us to some of the filthiest, nastiest musicians be catching flack for subject matter of all things? Is it all in the eye of the beholder, and those that don’t-like-it-shouldn’t-listen type of deal?
I for one can’t answer that. But what I can say is this, Tyler the Creator, the leader of the Odd Future crew, has just released an awesome first single, “Yonkers.” Let’s start with the beat, which was produced by Tyler himself. The thing I like most about it is that it has the swagger of a early nineties instrumental, without the scratches or sample, but contains the overall grimey essence that golden era of hip hop was most famous for, sounding like those few suspenseful seconds in a horror film right a person gets slayed.
The beat lightens up just in time for Tyler’s most detrimental lyrics, where a spooky baritone interrupts him to ask him what he thinks of Hayley Williams, and he simply answers “Fuck Her,” and goes on to speak about how much he would like to murder her, B.O.B. and Bruno Mars.
Think that is shocking? Well, nothing is more shocking than the video, in which Tyler hurls up everything in his system after devouring a huge insect. And that’s not the worst of it. After ranting about all the problems of his life that cause him angst, he decides to hang himself. While Tyler the Creator is definitely an acquired taste, for those partially fed up with top twenty hip hop stations, its a welcome departure into the absurd.