Although some would claim they belong in the undeserved category, a list of artists to blow up recently would not be complete without LA hip hop collective Odd Future. A dozen members deep, all ranging from the ages of 17-23, OFWGKTA, with their startling, sometimes offensive, yet extremely effective content is the hip hop genre's version of shock advertising.
Update: The 10 Best OFWGKTA Moments (Part 2) | (Part 3)
OF's rise to fame is a very interesting and baffling one. There was no hip hop icon who discovered the crew, took them under his belt, and signed them to his label. There was no record company who saw through the group's disturbing lyrics to a crew who could generate hype and sales.
Tyler, The Creator and company kept on their grind for years, finally achieving an underground stardom that is becoming more and more mainstream by the day. Producing, mixing, and engineering their own music. Shooting and directing their own videos. The crew knew they had a sound that was unique, that was different, and they wanted the whole world to hear it.
Within months, OF went from completely unknown to a household name among hip hop fans, plastered all over music magazines and hip hop websites. Through a number of defining events, Odd Future was able to skyrocket in popularity and gain an incredible amount of hype in a hip hop game where such accomplishments aren't easy to come by.
Featured below is part one of KWT's ten best, most integral moments to OFWGKTA's rise to fame. We're sure we ranked a certain event too high or too low for your liking or maybe even left a moment off that you thought was an obvious inclusion for this certain topic; therefore, let us know what you think, tell us what we did wrong and what we did right in the comment section. Over the next few days, check back with us, as we'll be revealing the three part post of our top ten best OFWGKTA moments.
EVENT: SXSW / Coachella Performances
DATE: March 19 & April 15
People knew OF was crazy. Their knew their shows were wild, packed with deafening crowd chants and daring, dangerous antics that made an Odd Future show one of the most exciting acts in hip hop. But when the group landed performing slots at both Austin's SXSW and California's Coachella, they were able to showcase their trademark "swag" more widely than ever before.
Stunts leaving OF members injured and a never-before-seen performance style found Odd Future leaving SXSW as one of the festival's most buzzing acts. A sudden, unexpected performance found OFWGKTA sharing the stage with Diddy, letting fans and concert-goers know that the group were not only respected among music fans, but also by icons in the hip hop game. A few more shows at the Texas Festival, one especially crazy Thrasher sponsored show at Scoot Inn (see below) and a memorable Billboard sponsored event, further solidified OF's reputation as the most entertaining musicians at SXSW.
Less than a month later, OF stayed close to home, headlining the Coachella music festival as, again, one of the most anticipated acts to perform. As expected, the Odd Future Coachella show was one of, if not the most crowded performance of the entire festival. Showing up late and wreaking havoc on the security guards with their stage diving and crowd surfing, Tyler, Hodgy, and company let everyone know that their behavior at SXSW was no fluke. The crowd frenzy hit an all time high when Tyler, The Creator unexpectedly brought out Pharrell Williams, who performed at track with the OF frontman.
Although they entered these festivals with a large amount of hype, Odd Future, now with public cosigns from two hip hop moguls and an exponentially increased exposure, were heading home as the most talked about group in hip hop.
EVENT: mtvU Woodie Awards Performance
DATE: March 16, 2011
A move that resulted in one of the network's most memorable performances of recent memory, MTV enlisted Odd Future to perform at their 2011 mtvU Woodie Awards just a month after Tyler and Hodgy set the nation ablaze following their gig on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Surely questioned by network executives and top tier white collar suit wearers, the decision for the then mysterious group to not only perform, but to end the annual Woodie Awards definitely paid off for MTV in the long run. Ranked higher than the above event solely because of the undoubtedly higher number of viewers (yes, I know it was originally broadcast on mtvU, but there were hella replays of this awards show on MTV and MTV2), was probably one of the most curiously strange 5 minutes the music network turned everything but music network has ever seen. Consisting of a midget version of Tyler, The Creator, floating gnomes, fuzzy animal costumes and, of course, borderline dangerous stage dives, the performance introduced OF and their hallmark identity to the few remaining who were oblivious to it.
In a genius end to not just the performance, but to the whole awards show, the entire of Odd Future are taken from the stage by security guards, suddenly ending everyone's fun. Four wild minutes of pure entertainment, abruptly ending, leaving everyone who tuned in interested and wanting more. What more could an upcoming, underground hip hop group want?
EVENT: Odd Future covers numerous magazines
This one pretty much speaks for itself. Anytime an artist graces the cover a magazine it's obviously a big deal, increasing exposure as well as creating an opportunity for fans to familiarize themselves with an otherwise unknown, mysterious artist and his or her life. But when these kids covered multiple magazines in a span of months, it was a HUGE deal. These kids, who were doing everything on their own, politically incorrect, aggressively disruptive, and a number of other words your mother tells you to stay away from, didn't just cover small, hometown magazines either. As seen above, the crew and/or members of OF covered the hugely popular Billboard as well as esteemed rap journalist Elliott Wilson's RESPECT. Follow that with a cover on Spin and another Tyler, The Creator solo-cover on England's NME, and OFWGKTA had created an incredible buzz not just in the U.S., but now overseas as well. While the LA collective covered too many magazines to mention here, the cover stories may have been the most beneficial aspect of this newly prompted fame. These magazines offered inside looks into each and every member, ridding readers of not all their curiosity surrounding OF, but just enough to take them from confused onlookers to educated stans. This was the world's first real chance to learn about who and what Odd Future was, to dig deep into the group, and to really appreciate what they were doing.
EVENT: Odd Future Records through RED Distribution/Sony
DATE: April 26, 2011
After a few of the events above (and some yet to come on our list) transpired, an intense bidding war to sign OF began, with rumors that even Jay-Z was aiming to sign the camp to his "record label of tomorrow," Roc Nation and was facing competition from Diddy, who wanted the collective for his own label. Corporate bosses obviously saw the huge upside and profit potential that OFWGKTA brought to the table, with already sold out worldwide shows without any help from the music business.
Imagine what Odd Future was capable of with the help of a big dollar record label. Imagine the dent they could have put in the music industry by pairing their already booming hype with the promotion that signing a record deal would create.
Rumors continued floating around, claiming OF signed with a different label each week until, at the end of April, a genuine deal was finally inked. Odd Future signed a deal with RED Distribution/Sony Music, creating their own independent label that would give the camp 100% creative control over their music, a perk that many other labels would likely not have warranted. The signing changed virtually nothing content-wise for OF, leaving the music in the hands of the artists and untouched by the label. However, the crew was now poised for an even wider spread takeover, pairing the benefits of a record label with their already impressive fan base and work ethic.
Check back soon and often for Part 2 of The 10 Best OFWGKTA Moments, featuring numbers six through four, as well as daily updated songs, mixtapes, videos, exclusive lists, and much more.
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