Odd Future and the Poetry of Violence

Posted by Jason Diamond

Odd Future are hanging out with Charlie Sheen in the realm of “things I don’t need to hear anything else about.”  That’s really no slight on them or their craft, it’s just that I spent the last week walking around in the hot Texas sun, hearing about Odd Future this and Odd Future that.

Bethlehem Shoals at The Poetry Foundation provides some interesting insight into the band that goes beyond the common publicity hype that accompanies any new act that the record industry thinks might help save it from the inevitable doom many believe it to facing.

Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (OFWGKTA, for short) probably wouldn’t describe themselves as poetry. The hip-hop wing of a Los Angeles–based teenage music/art/skateboarding collective, OFWGKTA raps gleefully about murder, rape, mutilation, necrophilia, and, in its more lucid moments, self-doubt and general disrepair.

Shoals goes on to say:

Is OFWGKTA offensive? Yes, but they’re also undeniably funny, sad, and, somehow, devoid of moral gravity in a way that’s both silly and nearly surreal.

I’ve hardly had a chance to really investigate Odd Future’s lyrics.  Aside from watching them on Jimmy Fallon, I really haven’t paid much attention to them at all.  Shoals article does make me a bit more curious to see what all the fuss is about by drawing comparisons between the band, Bolaño’s 2666, and futurist poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti.  [Sadly makes no mention of the poet, G. Danzig, or his epic, “Last Caress.”]