The New Wu-Tang Clan: Odd Future

This L.A. crew features the most talented kids in hip-hop — and the most demented

May 5, 2011 11:28 AM ET
The New Wu-Tang Clan: Odd Future
Bryan Sheffield

"Oh, fuck! we just came this close to killing someone," says Tyler, the Creator, laughing. The L.A. rapper is calling from a car in Austin where the 11-person hip-hop collective he helms, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, have taken South by Southwest by storm — bringing a ski-masked midget onstage at one show. Tyler epitomizes the group's demented aesthetic: His rhymes are dazzling blurs of violence, jokes and emotional bloodletting. Or, as he puts it, "I'm a big fucking crybaby, and for some reason people like listening to me."

This article appeared in the April 28, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone. The issue is available in the online archive.

Since 2008, Odd Future — whose teen and early-twentysomething members also include gifted avant-R&B smoothie Frank Ocean and slasher virtuoso Earl Sweatshirt (who, rumor has it, was shipped off to boarding school once his mom caught wind of his music) — have self-released buckets of free music online. The line on the crew is that they're punk-rappers, from their stripped-down production to Tyler's skate-rat uniform of cutoff shorts and scrawled-on Vans. But there's also serious savvy in their use of shock as a publicity generator, in the group's crudely Photoshopped promo fliers and in cartoonishly atavistic catchphrases like "Kill people, burn shit, fuck school." "It's all a gimmick," Tyler says. The gimmick is working. Love from stars like Mos Def and Kanye West helped transform the crew from cult pets into a burgeoning phenomenon (Beyoncé brought Ocean into the studio to collaborate recently). In Austin, Tyler — whose solo album, Goblin, is due out on indie powerhouse XL Recordings this year — reaches his destination. "Nice talking to you," he says. "You're awesome. Fuck you." Then he hangs up and tweets about how dumb the interview was.

Video: Odd Future Deliver Wildly Charismatic Performance on 'Fallon'

Photos: SXSW 2011

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

More Song Stories entries »