To say the least, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (OFWGKTA, or simply Odd Future) is a unique group. They are a collective of young Los Angeles rappers and are led by their unofficial front man, 20-year-old Tyler, the Creator. Their unique style of hip-hop is a mixture of A Clockwork Orange ultra-violence and adolescent antics, and has been the center of an increasingly divided debate over whether they are musical visionaries or just obnoxious kids.
The line at their sold out show Friday night at Chicago’s Metro wrapped around the block half an hour before Odd Future was scheduled to take the stage. Skinny teenagers and people in their twenties, almost all male, packed the small venue, throwing middle fingers in the air and starting chants of phrases like “Free Earl” and “Golf Wang.”
Boldly playing without an opening act, Syd Tha Kid, Odd Future’s DJ and only female member, stepped on stage at almost exactly 8:30 p.m., and began blasting “Karma” by Waka Flocka Flame through the speakers. People began crowd surfing as Syd continued to play songs, riling up the already out-of-control crowd.
When the rest of Odd Future finally took the stage, the crowd exploded. What followed was over 90 minutes of mayhem as band members and fans alike thrashed into one another. In the madness, more than one person dove off the balcony overlooking the mosh pit onto unsuspecting fans. Odd Future rapper Domo Genesis brandished a blue-lit up tube as a light saber to deflect the steady stream of bottles being thrown at the stage.
At one point during the show, a girl suffering from an asthma attack was brought on stage. “Throw your inhalers on the stage,” shouted Tyler, but only after crew members Hodgy Beats, LeftBrain, and Jasper joked about the girl’s physique. Throughout the entire show, Odd Future continually joked with one another and mocked the crowd. During one of the first songs they played Tyler handed a porn DVD to an audience member in the front row, which eventually made it back to the stage later in the set.
The contrast between the crowd’s reaction to Tyler’s more popular songs and the rest of the group’s was not lost on Odd Future’s other members. Not only did they recognize this, interspersing Tyler’s and OFWGKTA’s megahits among the lesser known tracks from their catalogue, but also mocked one another. One fan in the front row was lauded for knowing all the words to every song in the set. “He even knows Mike G’s songs!” shouted Hodgy Beats.
During his hit song “Yonkers,” Tyler asked the light technician (whom he affectionately referred to as “white guy”) to drench the stage in red light. The result was an extra-spooky sing-along as Tyler held the microphone up in the air while literally every single person in the audience shouted literally every single word to his dark masterpiece, which helped him win MTV’s VMA award for Best New Artist this year.
After the mayhem was over, Tyler stood sweaty and shirtless on the edge of the stage and began addressing the audience without a microphone. “I want to thank you guys for being real with us,” he shouted in an incredibly hoarse voice over claps and cheers. It was a brief moment of sincerity, almost the last thing one might expect from Tyler. “I want to thank you,” he clarified, “even though you’re all a bunch of bitch ass niggas."