Rap's Modern Masterpiece: Earl Sweatshirt's "Stapleton"

Categories: Odd Future

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Anna Frodesiak via Wikimedia Commons
Earl Sweatshirt of Odd Future
Tomorrow, Saturday February 22nd at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, the once-elusive Odd Future member Earl Sweatshirt takes the stage for his second of two New York shows. It's hard to believe it's already been four years since Odd Future first organically blew up via word (among other things) of mouth and the spread of their free music and eye-popping visuals leading to one of hip-hop's most dedicated fanbases. But for all the attention given to their multimedia efforts and hilarious social antics, it seems easy for some to forget what absolute talents the entire crew are possesses. Case in point, Earl's absolutely incredible 2010 masterpiece "Stapleton," simply among the absolute best rap tracks recorded this decade.

See also: These Odd Future Shirts Should Not Be Banned From Schools!

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Tracking Odd Future's New York City Ascension

Categories: Odd Future

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Anna Frodesiak via Wikimedia Commons
Earl Sweatshirt of Odd Future
Monday Earl Sweatshirt of Odd Future plays Bowery Ballroom. While O.F. are unapologetically a product in both image and sound of their L.A. roots, it's notable how many important moments for the crew have happened right here in New York City. While we're about to enter year four of the group's ever-expanding cult followin--becoming, along the way, a ubiquitous outsider hip-hop juggernaut--it's easy to forget how quickly the group's profile rose. Fortunately,  this astronomical trajectory can be seen by revisiting their New York performances, and it is in anticipation of Earl making further history in the city that we bring you the story of Odd Future's New York love affair.

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Q&A: Mike G Of OFWGKTA Is In Your Town

Categories: Odd Future

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Ain't Nothin' But A G Thang...

Though Frank Ocean and Tyler The Creator have garnered most of the Odd Future attention and praise from music critics, Mike G, in all his laid back glory, has managed to become a fan favorite. No small feat when you factor in the sheer size of the collective and their tendency to be unruly, often drowning one another out with their boisterous attention seeking.

Originally a DJ who chopped and screwed the first Odd Future tape with OG Ron C's Chopped Not Slopped team, Mike G has slowly but surely been easing into the forefront of OF's lineup despite joining after many of the other members. His ear for relaxed beats and easy demeanor help make stand out amongst his nose picking and booger flicking comrades. He's funny too. We caught up with Mike to talk future plans, the "chill bros" of OF, and

Mike G and Katie Got Bandz perform tonight at Knitting Factory Brooklyn

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These Odd Future Shirts Should Not Be Banned From Schools!

Categories: Odd Future

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Earlier this week, a high school in Connecticut made the decision to ban Odd Future t-shirts. This is the biggest attack on civil liberties since everybody on Facebook was peer-pressured to change their profile pictures to an ugly = sign to avoid looking like a LGBT-hating asshole. Odd Future t-shirts should never be banned, especially within the realm of academia. Because Odd Future t-shirts teach lessons that transcend even the most prestigious institutions of higher learning. And government. And life. Let's take a look at a few.

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How Jazz Trio BadBadNotGood and Odd Future Became Unlikely Pals

Categories: Odd Future

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BadBadNotGood
The hip-hop-inspired jazz trio BadBadNotGood are in a car driving to a show in Vermont while bumping the new My Bloody Valentine album. Comprised of keys player Matthew Tavares, bass man Chester Hansen and drummer Alexander Sowinski (who likes to sport a pig mask while playing out), the Toronto-based BadBadNotGood's music received a publicity bump when Odd Future captain Tyler, The Creator re-tweeted YouTube footage of the band running through instrumental reinterpretations of some his crew's songs. Since then they've been invited to back-up Tyler and Frank Ocean during live shows while also building up a reputation for launching into covers of rap standards by A Tribe Called Quest and Kanye West. Ahead of BadBadNotGood's crowd-funded show at Glasslands tonight, we tapped up the trio to talk about covering Gucci Mane, helping to shape the direction of Earl Sweatshirt's album, and Tyler's all-important pizza topping preferences.

See also: The Ten Best Jazz Shows in NYC This Month

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What Will the Miley Cyrus/Tyler, the Creator Collaboration Sound Like?

Categories: Odd Future

Live: The Internet Shows Off Its "Weird-Ass Music" At Bowery Ballroom

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@kthrnm/Instagram
The Interet w/Kilo Kish, Phony Ppl
Bowery Ballroom
Sunday, August 5

Better than: Staying home to wait for Drake's posthumous Aaliyah collaboration.

The MTA and its agenda of mediocrity made me late for last night's Kilo Kish/The Internet show at Bowery Ballroom, but as I walked into the main space, Kish had wrapped up a song standing spritely on the stage and with an enormous grin said, "That song was about my ex-boyfriend. Fuck that dude." And with a sheepish giggle, she followed up with, "Fuck. That. Dude." It was a perfect moment: Her music is soft and sweet, but punctuated with heartbreak vitriol. The set concluded shortly after that and I felt like I had missed something big (seriously, smash the MTA). Kilo isn't packing powerful stage moves, but her energy is ethereal made me think she could guide me into a shimmering hip hop forest. (People on the Internet really need to stop using "Rap Game [Insert a Witty Reference]"—but if there had to be one for Kilo Kish, it'd be Rap Game Woods Fairy.) Women in hip-hop have been excellent at rewriting the tough-as-nails vs. sexpot narrative this year, and Kish is a prime example that a woman can use tenderness in her music while still expressing genuine (meaning, sometimes ugly) emotion. It electrified a very small crowd.

The crowd, in fact, was the smallest I have ever seen for any permutation of the Odd Future collective. I was there when Tyler, the Creator and Co. made their NYC debut to a mosh-pit-cum-critic-circle with no room to breathe; I saw panties tossed on stage to Frank Ocean last November, weeks after having watched the entire crew (sans Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt) stage-dove onto costumed Miami teenagers on Halloween. The most remarkable member that night was Syd tha Kyd, who stood behind the DJ booth, hyping the crowd up with Jay-Z hits and fist-pumping to each of her brothers' songs. How would that kind of behind-the-scenes zeal translate to her role as lead singer of R&B group The Internet?

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Underwhelmed And Overstimulated, Part IV: The Joys Of Nicola Roberts And The Problem With Odd Future

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Nicola Roberts, having herself a lucky day with the Village Voice.
Sound of the City's year-end roundtable, with contributions from Tom Ewing, Eric Harvey, Maura Johnston, Nick Murray, and Katherine St. Asaph, continues. Follow along here.

Hey all. Again, thanks to Maura for putting this together, and thanks to Katherine for not only writing another outstanding recap of 2011 but also handing off to me no less topics than Bon Iver, PBR&B, K-Pop, all hip-hop, the cloud, and trollgaze. Where should I start?

Not with trollgaze, but we'll get there, for better or for worse. How about Nicola Roberts? I completely agree with you on that record, Tom, and I know from conversation that Maura and Katherine do too. (Eric?) I'd imagine that my experience with it was pretty common: Blown away by the singles, and by the fact that Cinderella's Eyes was almost a Girls Aloud album, it took me a while to allow it to develop into much more than that. I still enjoyed it plenty—amid the worst year for music ever, how could you not?—but not as much as I did once I started paying closer attention to its latter half.

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Introducing The Trollgaze Index With An Analysis Of The Internet's "Cocaine" Video

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Don't get spun out—eat spun sugar instead!
2011 has been the year of "trollgaze," a media-agnostic genre name for those pieces of pop culture as designed for maximum Internet attention as they are pieces of art that can stand (or at least wobble) on their own. The ways to get inducted into the trollgaze pantheon are as plentiful as self-congratulatory Lil B retweets; in music alone, they can involve dropping songs chock-full of easy ways to laugh at them (extra points if you're being dead serious about doing so), acting like an entitled punkass brat, complaining about people saying that you're acting like an e.p.b., or somewhat ineptly playing on the already-existent prejudices possessed by critical-mass online audiences, among other things. With so many things these days vying for the masses' increasingly divided attention, though, it's becoming tougher and tougher to gauge whether or not a piece of cultural ephemera is actually trying to double as its social-media strategy.

To help all the overwhelmed online music consumers out there figure out if a piece of music is trollgaze or not—it's kind of difficult!—Sound of the City is establishing The Trollgaze Index, a scientific method by which we deduce just how hard musicians are trying to play their listeners for the fool. We'll measure on a 50-point scale; a score of 35 or more means that, yes, if you're paying attention to the video or the song or the "viral" campaign, you—and we—have been trolled. Installment one (from, appropriately enough, an Odd Future-affiliated act that calls itself "The Internet") after the jump.

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Peter Rosenberg's What's Poppin' Vol. 1 Takes The New York Hip-Hop Scene's Pulse

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New York City rappers have been cast as something of the rap world's whipping boys for more than a few years now. Not only is it fashionable to paint the city's scene as still stuck in the '90s—that's, er, despite the man who effectively runs rap, old man Jay-Z, being pretty proud to hail from Brooklyn—even sympathetic profiles of the city's up-and-comers feel the need to ponder whether the MCs in question can break some sort of curse of the five boroughs. But this way of thinking is bunkum at best, and a clich√© at worst.

But those people who've even casually cocked their ears toward the underground know that NYC rap has been doing just fine of late; a unified scene and a common vision have been slowly forming. Radio warrior Peter Rosenberg's first installment in the What's Poppin' mixtape series might not be an outright statement of hometown health, but with over half of the tape's 23 tracks showcasing artists who call NYC home, it's a timely reminder of the scene's promise.


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