Fuck you, Tyler. Really.
A few weeks ago I was pointed toward an Odd Future (with a bit of help from The Roots) performance on Jimmy Fallon, and I honestly thought it was immensely good. Immensely.
So I did what any self-respecting anarchist would do and acquired some more of Odd Future’s work. As I’ve been pretty glued to both Dead Prez and Lady Sovereign (with a bit of Weakerthans thrown in for good measure) it sat around for a little while. I knew I’d get to it eventually.
Now, I have two places where I really listen to music. At home, usually in the background, or in my car. Odd Future hadn’t made it to my car’s speakers yet, and so I figured I’d half-listen while I worked on a few things around the house. In and out of the room, with the music on low volume, I was digging it. Nice beats, some newness that really sounded good when a particular moment forced my ears to perk up.
And then it happened. I hadn’t been listening to the lyrics, really, but all of a sudden the music dropped out and I heard one of those phrases that makes me absolutely cringe: “NO HOMO”.
Fuck. Now Tyler had my attention.
Carefully I slid the track back a little. The guy used a pretty stupid and immature meme in some ironic way, right? This is the age of irony, so I probably can’t get too worked up over it, right?
The impetus for this post was an article I saw by David Cho on the Awl (via Mr. Cho’s own space, The Hairpin). I’ll let the words, themselves, speak:
There’s a fight happening on Tumblr right now (man, this sentence is not starting off very well!) that revolves around the misogynistic “character” of Tyler, the frontman of the recently very-internet-popular California rap group Odd Future. One argument is that as an artist his intent is to provoke and push the boundaries of what we’re comfortable with, and because of that we shouldn’t try to quiet his self-expression. The counterpoint is that he’s crude and offensive. There’s also a third, much smaller argument that’s happening adjacent to the first two arguments that pits Charlie Sheen (sure, why not) against Tyler in a “who’s worse” contest.
First off: I don’t care about Charlie Sheen. I just wanted to put that out there.
But the real issue is an issue. After listening to some of the actual words being spouted on the Odd Future tracks I was in a bind: the music was awesome, but the lyrics made me want to vomit while stripping away layers of skin with hydrochloric acid mixed with my own tears.
I haven’t gone back, yet. The tracks sit in a virtual limbo of taking up a small amount of space on my media drive where they know full well I’ll probably never listen to them again.