Odd Future and Their Hold on Youth Culture

Michael Angee, Sports Editor

10 years ago, the rambunctious, flamboyant and iconoclastic group, Odd Future, saw the release of their only album and last project as a group,“The Odd Future Vape Vol. 2.” The project was a representation of the influence that Odd Future had on music, fashion and the overall attitude of the incoming era of young creatives. 

Representing the youth in crucial and intimate detail, Tyler The Creator was the de facto leader of the misfits-turned-mainstream phenomena. Through the late 2000s, the group gained attention through their messy and loud, yet refined sound. In 2007, Tyler, The Creator, Left Brain, Hodgy Beats, Jasper Dolphin, Casey Veggies and Matt Martians made up the original members of the collective. 2009 saw the release of Tyler’s first solo release, an album entitled “Bastard”.

 “Bastard” saw many members of the group contribute toward the overall production and creative vision of the album. The majority of the project was recorded in Syd and Taco Bennett’s garage and helped set the tone for Tyler, The Creator’s subsequent releases. Through “Bastard,” and the years that followed suit, the group gained more followers as well as members. 

Earl Sweatshirt, Mike G and Frank Ocean became some of the next members to join Odd Future, and their impact did not go unnoticed. Earl, who was only 16 when he joined OF, was widely regarded by his peers as one of the best rappers in the collective, despite his young age. The release of his debut self-titled mixtape in 2010 shared only a glimpse of what listeners could anticipate from him in the future. Brash lyrics laced with colorful, yet dark synth-heavy production encapsulated OF’s energy from the unique perspective of the young MC. 

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From writing for Beyonce, Justin Bieber and John Legend, Frank Ocean’s career before becoming a prominent artist on his own merit was already very notable. Joining Odd Future proved an interesting move for Frank, as aesthetically, focus and topic wise, many fans believe that Frank Ocean did not encapsulate the persona of the typical young, obnoxious Odd Future members. But this was not the case, as Frank’s success and entrance into the mainstream were heavily aided by his past endeavors and experiences with Odd Future. 

The emergence of the group’s popularity also saw sub-groups grow in a completely different direction. The Internet, composed of OF members Syd and Matt Martians, became a creative force on its own. Their 2015 album, “Ego Death,” was nominated for a Grammy in 2016, completed with help from Steve Lacy as a co-executive producer. Lacy was only 17 at the time of the album’s release, and could not even tour for the album until he graduated high school. 

Mellowhype was another group to emerge from the popularity of OF. Composed of Left Brain and Hodgy, the group’s projects, “Numbers” and “Blackenedwhite,” contains the staple aesthetic and sound of the group in 2011 and 2012. 

With solo releases under many of the group members’ names, a project such as “The Odd Future Tape Vol. 2,” served as the send off that many fans would hope for — although many did not feel ready for the goodbye. Though not an official farewell, the group never saw another release under the OF name. The last track of the project, “Oldie,” starts by shouting out most of the members of the group featured on the song. 

Something about the music video for “Oldie,” from the group’s one-of-a-kind unity to the contributions made by the feeling of the video through clothes, verses and sporadic dancing, allowed the video to become arguably the most iconic music video of Odd Future’s career. The song featured verses from Hodgy Beats, Left Brain, Mike G, Domo Genesis, Frank Ocean, Jasper Dolphin, Earl Sweatshirt and two verses from Tyler, which opened and ended the track. 

Through projects by Domo Genesis, Tyler, The Creator, The Internet and Earl Sweatshirt, features from OF members can still be found and appreciated by fans, even years after their last official collaboration as a group.