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Comments

Marie

"he bitches about Internet feedback all over the place"

The leader of Odd Future, one of the most blog-beloved groups on the Internet right now, complaining about how he's treated by bloggers is ludicrous. We might have another Kanye on our hands here.

Neal

When are you going to realize that all this so-called music you review is just plain garbage? You are an articulate person who spends way too much time trying to justify the existence of this stuff. It's just stupid, worthless crap put out by stupid, talentless people. Everything's about marketing now. Nobody cares about the music itself. As long as they can convince enough people that it's the hip thing to listen to, that's all that matters. Just because the record companies tell you this is edgy and cool doesn't make it so.

Lars Medley

I haven't immersed myself in this new Odd Future crew's stuff other than a few random songs and TV appearances. This was interesting insight. Thanks.

Wondering if you have heard the "Death of a Pop Star" album by David Banner and 9th Wonder. A great album destroyed by nasty, ugly hate speech in its 9th track, "Something Is Wrong". Too bad.

KT

@Neal - yikes. music criticism is, at it's heart, a wholly subjective pursuit. rich, as a culture critic, has every right to his opinion. you can disagree, but to flatly describe everything he reviews as "garbage" is pretty immature. something not fitting your own personal taste or definition of "music" does not make it "garbage." it might just not be for you. that's okay. but to come to his blog (which, if you're so upset, why bother?) and post something like that seems more your problem than his.

personally, i don't find anything about the odd future stuff i've heard interesting enough to inspire a re-listen. aside form the willfully controversial lyrics, i find a lot of the music dull. and, as pointed out, it's largely juvenile, which i find indicative of the internet culture's perpetual arrested adolescence. but i also understand why it's compelling for many. so i'll just sit this hype-cycle out, thanks.

666

I have a "no comment" stance on Tyler's use of the word faggot. At first I thought he was using the word interchangeably with "pussy" or wimp, which is a fair part of a lingo, but then references to homosexuality became too overt to ignore.
He need to stop using "homophobic" as a catch all phrase; like Rich points out, his usage of the words are very different than other rappers.

LCL

I heard some of the album briefly last night and only really remember "cunt" x 10. I will inevitably listen to this album in full and am looking forward to it after reading your commentary. I'm also really intrigued by Lil B's "I am Gay" album. I really liked The Pack back in the day but have tuned out since their last mix tape. I've been enjoying reading his explanation for the album's name and am interested in it's impact on hip hop/pop culture or lack of.

big boy

ok so first, there is an out homo member of odd future. the female engineer of the group.

secondly, tyler is obvs. not homophobic. do u believe he is a murderer? a rapist? a suicidal youth? a psychologist? a golf enthusiast? do u believe he means anything he says? why would he try to sneak in one political ideal amidst a barrage of meaningless extremities? how would that aid the credibility of his agenda?

it's blatantly obvious that his oeuvre wouldn't support some sort of anti-gay doctrine.

velops

@big boy - Knowing/working with someone who is openly homosexual does not make them immune to hypocrisy.

LAME

"fag" as defined by South Park: (basically) One who is obnoxious.

By that definition -

Tyler IS a fag. Most rappers are. Most 20 year olds are. Most gay people are not.

Tyler's beats are shit. Beat making has become soooo good, and he's a HUGE step back. And youth isn't and excuse to suck or marvel for that matter.

to the author - YOU MISSED THE POINT

sewa mobil

Very nice, thanks.

soulbrotha

"fag" as defined by South Park: (basically) One who is obnoxious. By that definition:
Tyler IS a fag. Most rappers are. Most 20 year olds are. Most gay people are not."

Do you KNOW most rappers? Do you KNOW most 20 yr olds? And CLEARLY, you have never been to Chelsea!

Neil Goldin-Schauer

It's official, I don't give a shit about hip hop anymore. Not if tired bullshit like this gets promoted as the fresh new thing. Tyler can suck my faggot dick. Reading between the lines, it sounds like he'd enjoy it. He comes across as a young urban version of a Larry Craig or a Ted Haggard, a textbook example of a lady who doth protest too much.

rhino

I have to agree with Neal above. You need to take your head out of your ass and stop apologizing for talentless homophobes. It's pathetic. You try so hard to be hip ("Hey I'm a gay guy that listens to hip-hop!"). I don't see any Jews writing reviews of the newest neo-Nazi skinhead music. And besides, so much of this rap shit is crap. The lyrics have no poetic value at all. It's empty wordplay. But since you have no taste of your own, you think you have to talk about hip-hop to be cool.

Mike

"I don't see any Jews writing reviews of the newest neo-Nazi skinhead music"

This comment is made every time this issue is addressed, but doesn't it kind of show the opposite point? You don't see Jews writing reviews of the newest neo-Nazi skinhead music....because skinheads hate Jews!

Despite his obnoxious language, Tyler obviously doesn't hate gay people, and anyone who pays attention to Odd Future (not that you're obliged to obviously) knows this. If he were homophobic presumably he wouldn't have any more gay fans than neo-Nazi bands have Jewish fans.

matthew (hardcore ANTMer)

Yeah I totally agree with Neal.
But I thought this excerpt from "the rapper"'s (I've forgotten his name already) piece called Tron suggests the rapper may be bicurious, or at least heteroflexible:

"Rashes on my dick from licks of shish ka-Bob Sagets / In some Kanye West glasses screaming out, 'Fuck faggots' / Catch me in the attic taking pictures of my dad's dick/ Drop the beat hear to make it extra climactic"

Mike

It might be worth noting that both Tyler and Syd have also said they're not offended by the word nigger. That seems interesting to me in that they're not only making the "when I say faggot I mean lame not gay" argument, but they appear to genuinely hold opinions/ideas regarding language that a lot of people aren't used to/comfortable hearing.

Mike

I saw someone mention this on another blog but I had never actually seen it. For anyone who's interested, here's a video from 2008 of Tyler expressing his views on Prop 8

http://youtu.be/Agpnxd-ajLA

For the record, I'm not part of the "words don't have any meaning" crowd. I was a fat kid, enough said. But, for me at least, this ends the specific "but is he homophobic in real life" question. Doesn't mean he's not an asshole, ect, ect.

Michael Joseph

And this faggot isn't referring to black people when I say nigger. OH, wait, that's "special" and a big no-no. Well, here's a "poem;"

fuck you nigger,
die in a fire
fuck you nigger,
white man is your sire.

See, just art.

Mike

Yeah, but you didn't use nigger as a genuine racial slur, you used it to make a sarcastic point. It's almost as if...words have context!

Anyway, the point that interests me is that, according to Odd Future, they wouldn't be offended by your poem, even if it were serious, and presuming that they're being sincere, I think that's at least noteworthy. Their attitudes don't fit in neatly with either side of the hate speech debate. For good or ill, they're on to something else, and it's worth exploring imo.

matthew (hardcore ANTMer)

I just can not believe that the gap between rich and poor is becoming larger and larger every day, the president has the right to assassinate anyone on the planet without putting them on trial, there is a nuclear meltdown occurring in Japan etc and this much energy is still being consumed by the analysis of sticks and stones may break my bones

andyapples

I've been listening to Goblin a lot since it hit, I notice the word faggot, but it just doesn't really figure in what I hear. Tyler is a surpurb rapper, and his in depth self analysis makes for one of the most interesting musical excursions I've heard in a while. I just can't take it personally. And I don't feel like it's intended to be. I can identify with Tyler's words because I hear what it's like to be inside the head of a fucked up 20 year old - because I've been inside the head of a fucked up 20 year old. His rap crosses race lines, and really transcends homophobia, because he's using the language of his world to dissect himself. Listening to Goblin sort of leaves me feeling the same way I felt listening to Boys for Pele when I was 16. Like I'm splashing around in someone's psyche at its most raw and piranha filled. The fact he's slurring is just incidental to that world.

I think it's very easy to get bogged down by 'hate speech' and entirely miss the raw, fucked up wonder of what he speaks about, again, much like how it's easy to get hung up on the psycho-babble of mid-90's Tori Amos and miss the truth behind the language. Sure his backing track isn't gonna set the world alight, but in music these days where all I can hear is a game of "who has the most ironic sample" and "listen to what I can do with a Casio" it's so rare I hear anything REAL. Tyler gives us a glimpse into the dark skull of yoof. What more do you honestly want?

Anyway, I've always had a bit of a problem with anyone getting hung up on 'hate speech.' If you choose to take it as a personal attack, then the hate is at least half coming from you. As a faggot, I use the word at least as much as he does. Doink. I reckon I could kick it with Tyler.

Frontalobotomy

I really like this article a lot and I would be very interested in hearing your take on Sara Quinn's open letter about his music, which I found to be pretty fucking offensive and problematic.

SomeAnyBitch

http://www.livinproof.co.uk/blog/livin-proof-vs-tyler/

At the half-hour mark, these Living Proof dudes (Collective of DJs who run a pretty decent rave in East London once a month) start breaking down exactly why Odd Future is nothing new from a hiphop-head angle. I'm 20 and these dudes (Frank Ocean especially) are hailed with my peers (along with Frank Ocean and that The Weeknd guy) because of the novelty of the discussing high-class drugs, strippers and any controversial shit so openly. This isnt the 90s anymore, us post-modern, post-racial, post-noughties kids have nothing to rebel with, or against. That frustration is what Tyler represents, at least to me, and all of them manage it with the low-fi, sexed-up voice way in the mix way that makes it attractive, but it's very face-value and shallow connection to the music for the listener.

They're the first thing that's liable to blow up since Eminem simply on the coattails of their controversy- I saw them in West London at a secret gig and even Adele and that wanker Mark Ronson turned up to see them. I think it'll be interesting to see if Odd Future reach any higher planes of hype, how aware Tyler is that all his following love him for reasons he despises, because they smell fresh blood (or claims to in the cartoon of Odd Future braggadocio). He'd be a fool for claiming integrity but a strategist to be conscious of his own hypocrisy (like you said, his word-play would argue against this)- and as those Living Proof guys mentioned, he did go to the trouble of being released on mainstream label rather than an independent.

Michael Rooney

Both Syd and Mike G are gay...
These are his best friends...
clearly he is not a homophobe...
its just a word he uses to describe stupid shit..

Amanda6

Seriously guys, Rich himself has spoken about the "my best friend is gay/black" rhetoric on this very blog and discussed why it means literally nothing.

I also don't see how some of you can sit there and say "Tyler is obviously not homophobic," when there are some LGBTQ individuals who feel pretty fucking threatened by his words. One person's journey is not everyone's journey, so obviously one person being offended doesn't mean everyone should be; conversely, just because you are not offended doesn't mean no one else has a right to be.

Also, intent is important, but so is how the media is absorbed regardless of intent. Odd Future may not actually be homophobic and misogynistic, but I think you'll find that a lot of the people who listen to the music take Tyler's lyrics literally and to heart. From women being harassed and publicly denigrated at shows, to Tyler himself responding to Sara Quinn using a pretty typical "Lesbians just need a good dicking" quip (and let's be perfectly clear, that is not about music and lyricism and satire -- that's about being a member of a privileged, phallus-bearing group and telling a member of an oppressed group to STFU, preferably by way of said phallus) it seems pretty clear to me that if Tyler is trying to subvert anything, he's doing it wrong.

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