I’ve never quite understood the appeal of the upstart Los Angeles-based rap crew, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. Despite their spot-on beat selection that makes me want to nod my head, I just can’t rock with Odd Future for the same reason I can’t get into Eminem—the blatant woman-hating lyrics are just too much.
All of the bass in the world can’t make me overlook lyrics like, “We go skate, rape sluts, and eat donuts from Randy’s” or “George inside the storage if you wanna take a look/But keep your motherfuckin’ daughter’s mouth shushed boy/Lookin’ for them white sluts who good at suckin’ cat/Wolf dick black as nigga riders from the fat black bitches/Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All don’t give a fuck.”
Yeah…just not my cup of tea.
Despite being utterly repulsed by Odd Future, and its teenage front-man Tyler the Creator, mainstream music writers (mostly white men) love these dudes. I had a hard time grasping why anyone thought this group—with their extremely violent, over the top, yet amazingly simple rhymes—was hip-hop’s future. And yet they were hailed by everyone from XXL and the New York Times to the Village Voice and Rolling Stone, and I still didn’t get it.
My girl Renina also wondered the same thing in her piece, “On White Men and Their Fascination With Odd Future.” In it she took a look at the Village Voice piece about the crew and concluded that Odd Future’s fans feel empowered, they feel like “bad muthfuckas” just by listening to their depraved lyrics.
I mean, I get it. We all listen to music for different reasons. Sometime it’s to be inspired, but often times it’s to get amped up. That’s one reason anthems like “All We Do Is Win” or “Go Getter” become hits—people want to feel powerful. But when does it cross the line?
How does the need to feel powerful translate into the need to dominate, rape, or kill women? What part of the game is that?
Recently, Jezebel’s Erin Gloria Ryan wrote about Odd Future’s appeal and how some women are fighting back against their hate-filled lyrics. She rightly concludes that their appeal—the “I don’t give a fuck” attitude they proudly wear—is nothing new. Rappers and rockers have been spewing misogynistic lyrics for years (uh, “Bitches Ain’t Shit” anyone?), so why is Odd Future being hailed as the second coming?
Ryan lays the blame at the feet of music journalists who have fed the Odd Future frenzy and listeners who continue to buy into the bullshit.
Why do we keep falling for this old, tired trap? What sort of bizarre cultural amnesia infects us so that we forget every two years that someone literally just wrote a hit song about beating up a woman? Most people wouldn’t defend the music of a white power group or someone who sang about raping little boys, and even Eminem got in trouble for his homophobic lyrics.
What does it say about our society that women and the feminine are the last acceptable target group for overt hate in popular music?
Indeed, why do we keep falling for it?
For every woman questioning the lyrics of artists like Odd Future (or Lil’ Wayne) you have two more co-signing their “dopeness.” Can we really be critical of the message some artists put out if there are people—men AND women—who support them?
I admit, I’m also guilty. Every time “Ain’t No Fun” comes on, you will probably find me singing along. As I’ve gotten older, however, I’ve realized just how shady (for lack of a better word) and anti-woman that song is, but still, I can’t help BUT sing along with Nate as he reminisces about never loving hoes (because he ain’t talking about me, right?)
We can complain about misogyny in hip-hop all day, every day, but if we’re bumping these songs in our iPods or dancing to them when they come on in the club, who’s fault is it really—the artists or the fans?
Let’s talk about it!