So this year, avert your eyes from the top of the poster to the bottom of the NME/Radio 1 bill. OFWGKTA. It's not a cryptic acronym but the space-saving initials of music's most exciting new act.
Reading and Leeds’ line up is always at the centre of heated debates when the first acts are announced at this time of year, arguments rumbling on about how half the bands played a few years ago or that the headliners are boring and safe. So this year, avert your eyes from the top of the poster to the bottom of the NME/Radio 1 bill. OFWGKTA. It’s not a cryptic acronym but the space-saving initials of music’s most exciting new act.
Everyone from the blogs to the broadsheets have been singing Tyler The Creator, Hodgy Beats, Earl Sweatshirt, Domo Genesis and Mike G’s praises (aka LA hip hop collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All), the hype snowballing so much that right now it’s threatening to cause an avalanche even bigger than their name. Odd Future (as they’ll graciously allow you to call them) aren’t just another flash in the pan buzz band though. As their moniker would suggest, they are, quite frankly, the future of music.
Check out any of the numerous videos online of their live show and you’ll soon see why they’re receiving so much attention – their cult following for one is as intimidating as it is impressive. Dropping cutting, often dark and offensive rhymes (sample lyric: “when I finger fuck her after I dig her up and eat her out with a bit of mustard”) over hype-worthy beats, Odd Future aren’t afraid to shock or break the rules – they’re too busy making new ones for everyone else to follow once they’ve picked their jaws off the floor.
It’s not just the critics who’re getting wolf fever, either. Kanye West’s a big fan, declaring the video for Tyler’s ‘Yonkers’ the best of 2011. Assured acclaim considering it was only February when Yeezy was bigging it up. Mos Def’s also given his seal of approval after attending their live show in New York last November.
They’ve barely played live outside of LA, with only the aforementioned NYC show, last week’s SXSW shows and a London date last year in the 50-capacity The Drop, which sold out in 48 hours – and that was before there’d been any major press coverage.
Tyler The Creator – ‘Yonkers’
Go see Odd Future live and what can you expect? From the crowd, constant chants of “Wolf! Gang!” or “Golf! Wang!” From the guys, stage diving, moshing and a sense of general unpredictability. Performing as one of the must-see bands at this year’s SXSW festival, they definitely left their mark on Austin, Texas. Tyler and Hodgy dived off a speaker stack into the crowd at the Thrasher party, breaking a fan’s nose (apparently he “took it like a G, though”) then cut their set the Billboard showcase after three songs, storming off stage in a mist of expletives.
They’ve already got America hooked after making an impressive appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, racing round the studio and jumping on Fallon himself at the end. Now it looks like they’re going to invade the UK with that same youthfully invincible spirit. Go see them at Reading and Leeds this year and be converted to the cult of OFWGKTA. It’ll be a darn sight more exciting than watching Jane’s Addiction.