I feel a little guilty dedicating this column to more commentary on Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All’s meteoric rise – after all, the youngsters have been fairly ubiquitous on this side of the Atlantic, gracing everything from Gorilla vs. Bear to a 5-page spread in Spin magazine. We’re headed towards critical mass, but they still deserve to be talked about, if only to shine a curious light on how savagely the American press have attached itself to such an explicitly counter-cultural rap collective.

I mean, let’s be honest, anyone who doesn’t find “fuck a mask/I want this ho’ to know it’s me” at least a little troubling is either psychotic, incredibly misogynistic or willing to give artistic credence enough space to allow for bitingly uncomfortable rape-talk. Watching journalists cheer on hooks like “KILL PEOPLE/BURN SHIT/FUCK SCHOOL” seems rather incongruous to the usual bitten-tongue cringes the world has come to expect. In fact, their incredibly anarchic wordplay has become just a part of the Odd Future mythos. That Columbine/Adventure Time drop on ‘Yonkers’ has become one of Tyler The Creator’s most quoted lines, like he’s some sort of impish champion for riffing on one of the darkest school shootings in memory.

But most tastemakers have been perfectly willing to forget all of that dark imagery, because strangely, Odd Future is an entity that indie-ist scenesters have all the reason to get behind. They’re young, uncensored, aggressively DIY, and they like Ariel Pink. It’s the closest us suburbanized, European-American liberals have come to identifying with a rap collective since Wu-Tang Clan (another group famous for its dorky-ass disciples). The number of white hands in the air at their recent New York gig made it all the more clear. This is music mainly listened by people like you, someone who would pick up a Loud And Quiet, buzzed for a demographic looking for something both independent and thought-provoking, and Odd Future is definitely both those things.

However, there is one thing about Odd Future that isn’t devilishly discussed or written about behind concealed smiles; in fact nobody really likes to talk about it at all. It’s the F word. No, not that one – I’m talking about ‘faggot’, which, as you’re probably aware, is a significant homosexual slur in the states, and it absolutely covers every song the group has produced thus far. Elitist white America wrings their hands when Tyler mutters, “go ahead admit it faggot this shit is tighter than buttrape,” but not during, “keep that bitch locked up in my storage, rape her and record it.” Whether it’s because homophobia is closer to home or we have selective hearing is up for debate, but it certainly represents the internal dilemma Americans (me included) is having right now. The critical future of these kids is most definitely odd.

By Luke Winkie

Originally published in issue 27 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. April 2011