Odd Future and Homophobia

So, Odd Future. The story of 2k11, or disgusting homophobes?

Argument A in favour of Odd Future: Odd Future are musically brilliant –

I am aware of Odd Future’s musical brilliance. In fact, it seduces me. I think Earl Sweatshirt’s Earl is one of the most heavily exciting things I’ve heard. Like ever. But musical brilliance is one thing, casual homophobia is another. Every second putdown in an Odd Future song is the word ‘faggot’. In fact the word ‘faggot’ occurs twice in ‘Earl’.

How many gay guys do you think Odd Future hang about with? What do you think they really think about gay men? No, seriously. Stop and think. What does Tyler the Creator think about gay men in his mind when he is writing raps that condemn every single person he hates as a ‘faggot’?. Do you think he actually has any respect for gay men when his quickest, easiest, insult lashed out over most of his raps is the word ‘faggot’? Do you think swan-diving into a crowd of hipsters at SXSW is enough cultural hype to distract rational minded people from the fact that you are multiply on record for hating gay people in the most vocally abhorrent way? Do you think people who saw these hype gigs should ignore the raw tsunami of homophobia in your mixtapes and albums thus far? “faggot”, “fuckin faggot”, “motherfucker sucks cock”, “you don’t like it? you’re a faggot”.

*edit – comments have drawn attention to the fact that a member of Odd Future is gay. I did not know this, so some of my initial thoughts on this are now altered.

Argument B in favour of Odd Future: Odd future are playing around with ‘labels’-

Okay, every other word in an odd future rap is ‘nigger’ (if we *ahem* exclude bitch, but that’s another story) because, as black LA teens they are messing with a label they were labelled with. And that is a proper exercise in the culture wars. But the label ‘faggot’…? How many guys in Odd Future have been tarred with this brush by society? How many of them are gay? Can they play around with the word ‘faggot’ the same way they can play around with the word ‘nigger’? Is Tyler gay? Does Tyler even like gay people?

Argument C in favour of Odd Future: Odd future’s raps are expressionism – take them seriously and you are a dork –

Charlie Sheen bet the shit out of a couple of women. He stands to make his fortune out of a one-man show around The States. Chris Brown’s publicists are advising him to not act too soft because his fan base seem to prefer a man who slaps his bird around a few times. Odd Future would like to see you “drown your bitch in a tub of cum and throw a shark in it”.

True expressionism?

Or nasty cultural phenomenon?

You decide.

Sound lads. Sound.

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About Darragh

sitting out on my house/ watching hardcore UFOs
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21 Responses to Odd Future and Homophobia

  1. Matt says:

    “How many of them are gay?”

    One

    “Does Tyler even like gay people?”

    There’s a video of Tyler on Youtube voicing his support for gay marriage back during the Prop 8 fight.

    “drown your bitch in a tub of cum and throw a shark in it”

    LOL

    • Darragh says:

      Matt, writing LOL so fast without explication assumes that everyone who reads LOL knows where you are descending from, so at the moment it strikes me as a smug in-joke. The acronym LOL just has that smug effect. Plus. I would party-game challenge anyone to make a solid case for tyler the creator being pro gay. You’re in.

  2. Darragh says:

    Matt – so what is Tyler communicating every time he lashes out at people he doesn’t like as ‘faggots’? Is he kicking against the pricks? Is he really telling us something? Or is he just saying he thinks the word ‘faggot’ is a useful derogatory term?

  3. Matt says:

    Sorry, the LOL was for the shark bit, which is so absurd that I found it genuinely funny, especially seeing it written out rather than just hearing it.

  4. Rugged says:

    If we were to take OFWGKTA completely at face value then we’d not only believe them to be homophobes, but also racists [against everyone apparently ‘act white have nigger lips’], misogynists, rapists, drug addicts, necrophile’s, etc.

  5. Darragh says:

    I am going to parachute gently back into this argument because I see the seeds of a position that thinks tyler can say the stuff he says because he voted a certain way or he has a gay mate. Doesn’t cut the mustard. Gay people are an abused minority still, and to have someone who ‘happens’ to know one of them use the word ‘faggot’ so disgustingly, is not only sad, but patronising. It’s like me making a lengthy humorous rap about rape (something else tyler enjoys) because I know a girl who got raped. Cop on.

  6. Darragh says:

    PS does everyone who hear’s odd future’s raps need to know this context, how tyler voted on prop 8? So we don’t have egg on our face for not ‘getting’ them? Maybe all odd future mixtapes should come with a little information pack about tyler’s voting history so, God forbid, we don’t get it.

  7. Aidan says:

    Recently, about a week ago or so, Tyler “addressed” this issue on twitter, but I don’t have the time to properly sift through all his tweets at the moment. He basically said that he was anti-homophobia. Obviously it’s not a “oh, he said that, so all is forgiven” sort of thing. Though I think it’s interesting to note, that Tyler is straight edge, yet raps consistently about doing drugs.

  8. Steven O'Rourke says:

    ‘One of my best friends is gay’ is not really a defence is it.

    Lets be honest, if someone like Roddy Bottum was to write an Imperial Teen song with lyrics that used the n word as an insult, there would be uproar.

    Can’t see, tongue in cheek or not, why the opposite should be acceptable.

  9. Steven O'Rourke says:

    That said, and where this blog post originated, it must also be noted that they’ve released some of the most interesting tracks I’ve heard over the past few years. Which is what makes it all the more infuriating.

  10. Karl says:

    I don’t want to get too engaged with this, but Odd Future using the word faggot for me is bound up with the fact that every rapper ever has been homophobic. Lots of what they do is subtle satire done by means of pushing it slightly too far.

    And I know the ‘i have loads of black mates’ argument is kind of fallacious, but Odd Future has a homosexual member. So it’s not like they’re Busta Rhymes or Dead Prez or Nas or something.

    • What Karl said. Plus, if it’s okay to rap about sexual violence as long as you don’t use the word ‘faggot’ as an insult, I think that’s a telling position regarding political correctness/misogyny in itself. Not that I’m suggesting that Darragh is a PC misogynist, but that some of the reactions to the sexual politics involved focus on the obvious labels rather than what the whole text might say, as satire.

      As for Charlie Sheen/Chris Brown, they are public figures who engaged in domestic abuse, and remained successful both in spite of those actions and for other reasons, such as their creative work which has little or nothing do with it (2 and a Half Men may be bad, dull, and regressive, but it’s not physically abusive); whereas Odd Future make art about violence and nastiness in a way which, while not obviously condemning it and often apparently revelling it, doesn’t indicate that they actually act it out. So the situations are opposites, not similarities.

      • Darragh says:

        hehe, thanks for not calling me a PC misogynist. I’ve been called lots of weird shit in my life but that would be the weirdest. Okay, on reflection, the third part of my argument is logically weak. I guess another way of phrasing it would be that by expressing those ideas without an obvious satirical agenda (that I can see), Odd Future are positioning themselves in a fairly unambigous posistion when it comes to rape and homophobia.

        As for the ‘whole text’, well what is it? And outside of the text there is also Tyler’s twitter feed which unless it is part of the ‘text’ expresses similar sentiments to his raps.

        And yah, again, it was weak of me to connect Sheen/Brown to OFWGKA

      • Karl says:

        I would argue that the Twitter, the interviews, the YouTube skits and anything OF ‘wrote’ constitutes part of the text. ‘Tyler, the Creator’ the guy you see in public is a character. It’s not entirely Not The Real Guy, but it’s premeditated.

      • Karl says:

        Also just to clarify, the gay member is Syd, who is a girl. Her saying “would i hang out with them if they were misogynist?” on twitter once was pretty much the strongest defense they had against the rape shit in the first (pre-Yonkers/XL deal) shitstorm. But if the gay member thing is swaying you, she is a lesbian and also makes jokes about stealing people’s bitches like the male members do, so maybe it shouldn’t.

  11. Rory says:

    It’s an interesting argument, and I see your point, but I don’t agree. All the stuff about Tyler’s politics and the gay member of OF aside – who here has never used ‘gay’ as a non-serious insult? I know gay guys who use gay as a slag, as well as straight people, and the number of actual homophobes among my age group that I have come across is zero. It’s easy to get caught up in hysteria when it comes to stuff like this and feel like a bad person if you don’t publicly voice some kind of moral outrage, but it really doesn’t apply in this case, I think.

    In my opinion, this is how those words lose their power. There are times when political correctness is important, but this is not one of them. He never actually raps about anyone (real or imaginary) who is gay. If anything, the depiction of women in OF music is far more of an issue, if only because those who do not understand the humour behind the music might think they were serious.

    Personally, and I know this to be true of my friends as well, words like gay, faggot, etc, don’t even register as what they actually mean in a homophobic sense. They are just used as insulting words when playfully slagging other friends, but so are numerous others that might have once been an offensive thing to say. That’s a victory in itself.

    People can be overly sensitive. I mean, if I took all the ginger-bashing that goes on (including in the media) seriously, I’d be a basket case. One has to understand when people are making an actual racist/homophobic/sexist (Andy Gray) slur and when they are just messing. Irish people slag others and swear profusely – without real venom – perhaps more than anywhere else in the world, surely we can understand this (quite apart from the fact that most of what OF do seems geared at subtly taking the piss out of rap as a whole?)?

  12. Darragh says:

    Logging in from work here. I have to say my argument is weakened by the fact that a member of ofwgkta is gay. I’m intrigued, and prepared to reevaluate tyler in a way. He is young after all. Wow, look ma, i could be the first person in net history prepared to compromise on a position.

  13. Splifter says:

    Just putting this forward
    Did you know many Inuit people find the term Eskimo to be derogatory? Now replace the word faggot with Eskimo in their songs. I don’t think anyone would have a problem with that and would complain about them being offensive, apart from the Inuit people. I dont imagine anyone here has thought twice about using the word eskimo before and thought there was anything wrong.
    To quote south park:
    “language is ever-changing and that taboo words only carry a stigma if society allows them to”

  14. Rugged says:

    I still think this is all based on PC over reactions. I take your point Darragh and I certainly wouldn’t condone homophobia or any kind of prejudice sentiment in music, but in this case I think everything is to be considered tongue in cheek. As I previously said, if we are to take all of what Odd Future say as for actually intending the message then we’d not only be disgusted by their music but also probably a little worried these guys are roaming the streets. It isn’t just the word ‘faggot’, its rape, drug abuse, murder, and the rest. Tyler doesn’t even drink yet how many references does he make to drug abuse? And do you think he’s actually even ever smacked the gob on a girl?? I doubt it. They’re just playing to an image. Are we to take Death Metal at face value? If so those guys should all be locked up with the key thrown very far away.

    Here’s what Doug Stanhope has to say on the word ‘faggot’.
    http://www.ebaumsworld.com/audio/play/1071373

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