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Trend Story

October 12, 2012

My Experience with Odd Future.

            A good friend of mine, local photographer Grady Brannan, had mentioned to my group of friends about an exclusive pop up shop happening at DLX Skate store in San Francisco.  While the rest of my friends continued on with their previous conversation, I asked Brannan about the specifics of the event. He told me it was a skateboard deck release party on Thursday, September 28th from 3-6pm; he said to get there early and to not tell anyone about it because Odd Future was making a special guest appearance.

            My knowledge of Odd Future had been pretty basic. From what I understood, Odd Future – often referred to as Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All or OFWGKTA – was a rap mob who grew up and skated the streets of Los Angeles. The crew consisting of over fifteen members has been around since 2007, producing hip-hop and rap albums. However in the past two years, the Odd Future crew turned from stars on the rise to a peculiar trend setting phenomena.

            Two of the members most responsible for the crew’s notorious reputation and sudden popularity are Tyler Okonma, and Thebe Kgositsile better known as Tyler, the creator and Earl Sweatshirt. If you were to run into these boys on the street (I say boys because Earl Sweatshirt, who just turned 18, recently rejoined the group after being sent away to a school for at risk boys), you would call them skaters, hood rats, or A** holes. They like to aggravate, poke fun, and cause attention to themselves and others, which is all very clear in their lyrics, concerts, and every day actions.

             Although I have never attended one of their shows, I have listened to Odd Future’s music occasionally. Their beats and melodies are catchy, which disguise their vulgar and somewhat heinous lyrics. However, as crude as they might be, these lyrics are starting to be more than just words on paper. These lyrics are creating and driving a scene. The Odd Future crew is, and has proven to be a trend within themselves; and they are shaping the way their fans think, talk, dress, and act. 

            Walking up Market to DLX a little before three o’clock, you could see the line already forming down the block. As I walked closer and stood in line, it was clear why everyone was there. They wanted to see Odd Future. May I remind you, this was supposed to be exclusive and secret; no one from the Odd Future’s crew advertised the pop up shop, yet somehow word leaked that they would be there.

            The energy from the line was vibrant – not only from the profanities and rants yelled by the inpatient hoodlums who were smoking and drinking in line – but also from the colorful attire the Odd Future fans wore. They all seemed to dress the same: tie dyed or Hawaiian t-shirts, Huff hats, Vans sneakers, and sweatshirts with Supreme written boldly on the front.

            The lyrics from various Odd Future songs were vicariously becoming present in the line forming outside DLX. The D.G.A.F. (don’t give a f***) attitude present in the flows of songs like “Orange Juice” and “Yonkers” were apparent in the mannerisms and gestures of the fans in line. Even the little kid who hopped out of his fathers Jeep, slammed the door with a, “Yeah, whatever” and continued on to find a place in line.

            Over an hour and a half later of waiting, I had not moved in line and neither did the hundred or so people ahead of me. Still, the fans eagerly waited. As I looked down at my phone to give a time cap on how much longer I would wait for these punks to show, a large black van pulled up. Greeted by screams and cheers from the fans in line, finally, Odd Future had arrived.

            While some kids threw the security guard extra cash to cut the line, I linked up with my photographer friend Grady Brannan. Whilst walking to the front of the store, I could feel the envious eyes of those waiting in line like sharp knives stabbing my back as I walked past. 

            A quick peek into DLX was all I needed to fully understand Odd Future and the trend that follows them. The Odd Future crew were drinking tall cans and jumping around the store like little kids on a playground. They had no care about the long line of fans out the door, better yet the skateboard deck that they were supposed to be promoting.

            The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines “trend” as following a general course or general direction in which something is developing. Odd Future has developed and created a very specific road in which they walk down in regards to the music industry and in their social life. They don’t care or necessarily acknowledge those who follow them. However, they do have a long tail of fans trailing behind, who not only act and dress like them, but continue to bump their songs religiously. If that isn’t a trend, then I do not know what is. 

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