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May 16, 2011 4:31 PM   Subscribe

A Call for Change. In an eloquent and thoughtful letter on the Tegan and Sara website, Sara Quin asks "When will misogynistic and homophobic ranting and raving result in meaningful repercussions in the entertainment industry?" Tyler the Creator, the object of her ire, responds on his twitter feed in characteristic fashion.
posted by joannemullen (150 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Uh, "don't feed the troll"?
posted by KokuRyu at 4:34 PM on May 16, 2011


Was there a specific tweet you wanted to link to?
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:37 PM on May 16, 2011


Here is a little more background on Tyler's particular brand of homophobia.
posted by msali at 4:38 PM on May 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Was there a specific tweet you wanted to link to?

I suppose that would be this one.
posted by Joey Bagels at 4:39 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Odd Future sucks. I don't even know how they shot to fame so quick but honestly they seem to have been picked up outside of hip hop circles faster than within traditional hip hop circles. This weird suburban strange angsty thing is so blah.
posted by the mad poster! at 4:39 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


When will they be treated with the same seriousness as racist and anti-Semitic offenses?

Huh. I wonder where it is people get this idea that other oppressions are doing all that well off in terms of accountability in Hollywood? Mel Gibson and Marky Mark still get work. Donald Trump wouldn't be catching shit if he didn't go full Birther.

But yes, it would be nice if Hollywood stopped saying, "Oh, well, these people bring us money, despite the hate they spew, we are totally at a loss and unable to do anything about it, even as we blacklist other folks for asking for equal treatment" - in all forms of oppression.
posted by yeloson at 4:39 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


(And, yeah, music as much as Hollywood, etc.)
posted by yeloson at 4:40 PM on May 16, 2011


At least he's consistent. It's one thing when they break out a 10,00 word apologia and try and backpedal. I thought T&S had some great thoughts, but Tyler is just... an awful, talented little troll and he refuses to make apologies for it. Which is a kind of thing.
posted by GilloD at 4:41 PM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


There are so many lazy writers who don't get OFWGKTA but still waste hundreds of words on this minor rap act.
posted by Michael Pemulis at 4:43 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


All I've heard from that group of people was Goblin, and it wasn't that great. Emo teen is emo.

All the lolrape and lolfaggot stuff is pretty played, too. What's supposed to be subversive about that?
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:43 PM on May 16, 2011


> He raps: "They claim the shit I say is just wrong/ Like nobody has those really dark thoughts when alone"

Sounds like Insane Clown Posse. Or Korn. Or Limp Bizkit.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:47 PM on May 16, 2011


Who the hell is Tyler the Creator?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:53 PM on May 16, 2011 [23 favorites]


If there's one thing white people are good at, it's viewing the more unfortunate elements of hip hop culture through a condescending "noble savage" lens. Add to that the fear of being seen as "not getting" something the (often moronic) kids are into, and you have a recipe for a lot of bloggers coddling Tyler's stunted id in ways they would never allow from someone without so much "street" cred.

The beats are nice though and besides, I doubt any of us will still give a shit about OFWGKTA in 8 months. And I say this as someone that is very much involved in the culture that adopted/pimped these guys so early on.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:54 PM on May 16, 2011 [20 favorites]


Am I the only person that has no idea who any of these people are?

From his twitter feed I'd peg Tyler as a black Borat and from the Tegan and Sara post I'd peg them as a lesbian Belle and Sebastion. How far off am I?
posted by cjorgensen at 4:58 PM on May 16, 2011 [19 favorites]


A missing link
posted by DU at 4:59 PM on May 16, 2011


I really liked "With the Ladies in the Back at an Odd Future Show" on The Awl.

I don't know the Odd Future and I don't think I care to. But I do think so many people wrap things up in "I'm being IRONIC!" as if it's an excuse to be hateful and offensive. I don't think a lot of people get subtlety. Or actually pay attention when things are meant to be subtle or ironic. Or if they do stop and think "hey, this isn't right" they don't know what to do about it, so they just continue on the path they're on. I have no idea if Tyler means what he says (I want to think no, but I don't know), but to me, the point is, he's still saying it.

(My boyfriend is a host at a restaurant and the other night a couple of guys said something like "I don't ever want to have a daughter." My boyfriend, being awesome, was like "Why not?" and they just looked at him like "Are you really that naive?" These guys may or may not mean well but don't treat women the best so assume all men are like that. But instead of deciding "Hey, maybe how I have been treating women kind of sucks and I should stop" they just decide having daughters is bad.)

To me, Sara Quin's point was like "hey, people, you have the power to say this isn't cool and you should." But I think a lot of people are too scared to do that.

(Of course, I'm totally pro Tegan and Sara so take my comments for what you will.)
posted by darksong at 5:00 PM on May 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


I had no idea who Tyler the Creator was, or Sara Quin, either. I know, my fault, I'm old, so I looked them up.

But I would still have appreciated more context for this post (thanks to masali and Joey_Bagels for clarifying within the thread, btw. I think the Guardian synopsis is better than the post).

Basically it's a blog entry complaining about trolling by a minor celebrity shock jock, right?
posted by misha at 5:01 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


His thoughts were red thoughts: "Who the hell is Tyler the Creator?

I dunno, but he's right fucking awful.
posted by gman at 5:03 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dear Coke Talk's take on the issue is interesting and worth considering, particularly:
A song with racist lyrics does not make the singer racist. A joke with a homophobic punch line does not make the comedian a homophobe. A novel with misogynistic themes does not make the writer a misogynist.

I separate artists from their art, and unless there is hate or ignorance in their hearts, I always give artists a pass. I honestly don’t know what’s in Tyler the Creator’s heart, and quite frankly, I don’t care. I’ve listened to his music, and while I’ll give a nod to his nascent lyrical abilities, his shit ain’t for me.
And for people that don't know who these people are, this is a good learning opportunity which you may or may not find worthwhile, but may be worth the effort.
posted by jabberjaw at 5:03 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


If there's one thing white people are good at, it's viewing the more unfortunate elements of hip hop culture through a condescending "noble savage" lens.

I just couldn't fathom why Pitchfork would give Waka Flocka Flame and Gucci Mane higher ratings than e.g. the Distant Relatives or Lupe's Lasers album until someone explained this to me, I think there's some truth there.. they'd readily embrace the ignorant stuff with street cred and then retreat to being extra critical when something with substance that lands on their doorstep. They can't afford to be against something that's bumping in the streets, however pointlessly or transiently--that'd put their credibility to the test!
posted by the mad poster! at 5:04 PM on May 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


I'd never even heard of this guy.

Mel Gibson and Marky Mark still get work.

Seems like Mel Gibson has finally been cast from polite society. He does have a new movie out but it was filmed years ago and apparently got shelved after his tapes with his ex were released.
posted by delmoi at 5:04 PM on May 16, 2011


Is "I don't know who this person is" ever a good response here? I mean, we're not putting you on the spot. Fine with the rest of us if you have to take five minutes to hit Wikipedia.
posted by droob at 5:07 PM on May 16, 2011 [69 favorites]


It's kind of hilarious to compare the response to Odd Future in this thread to their previous appearances on Metafilter.
posted by chrchr at 5:08 PM on May 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


As I always say in conversations on the topic, the root of the "hate" is the guy's stupidity anyway, so.. why not simply and curtly address that?

I ignore/avert/avoid because he sounds like a worthless pile of intellect-barren shit-- I don't really get a chance to stick around long enough to nitpick.. It's just like if someone used their own poo to write on a wall: I wouldn't be lingering, correcting their semantics, deconstructing their motives, and reporting back to the rest of the anti-stupid brigade-- I'd simply banish them from my version of "people in the world who deserve to breathe" for life. So simple.

Bigger picture, I feel that the hate-crusaders are usually pretty misguided, so it tends to rate pretty high on the "ignore this" scale for me-- almost as highly as "green." ..my two dark, dark, grey-brown cents.
posted by herbplarfegan at 5:11 PM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


metafilter: It's just like if someone used their own poo to write on a wall
posted by blucevalo at 5:14 PM on May 16, 2011


I had no idea who Tyler the Creator was, or Sara Quin, either.

I hope you found the one good thing from looking them up.
posted by New England Cultist at 5:15 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


...that probably qualifies as crapping in the thread without a touch more explanation, my bad: when I say "misguided," I mean that judging whether someone hates is essentially impossible, but judging their output on objective standards is much more reasonable and more productive.
posted by herbplarfegan at 5:16 PM on May 16, 2011


Hey guys, my internet access is broken, so could you all please only post about things I already know about? Thanks.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:18 PM on May 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


The type hurts my eyes. :(
posted by Glinn at 5:18 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


What's a Tegan and Sara?
posted by orthogonality at 5:21 PM on May 16, 2011


There are days that I am thankful I no longer need to know what the kids are listening to.

This is one of them.
posted by Kitteh at 5:22 PM on May 16, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'm not sure what qualifies an elevated blog comment full of rhetorical questions, weirdly placed anecdotes, wanton hyperbole and casual dismissals of all disagreement as "eloquent and thoughtful". She does stumble into some good territory, but quickly moves away from it.

As someone who is, without any cognitive dissonance, both a fan of Tegan + Sara and OF, this letter seems to me someone who is waxing ignorant about a subcultural phenomena she doesn't WANT to understand. Quotes like "an artist who can barely get a sentence fragment out without using homophobic slurs", "Why should I care about this music or its “brilliance” when the message is so repulsive and irresponsible" and "or the brush-off that not “getting it”" certainly point me in that direction. The first is untrue and the second and third betray willful ignorance of the subject.

Tyler's work, especially Goblin but also in Bastard and earlier tracks, channels alienation through anger. It's also an exploration of narrative in rap - it truly isn't horrorcore. When Tyler raps as himself/the character of himself, its a rather sensitive exploration of abandonment, depression, a past of bullying, loss, and imagination. The characters of Wolf Haley and Tron Cat and others are deftly interwoven into the narrative as representatives of other aspects of his mind that he actively doesn't like and his conscience struggles against. So while he does rage against hierarchies and talk about how the school system failed him, when he gives into rape/racism/homophobia there are horrible consequences. I like him for the same reason I like Rimbaud or Salinger (not that they're on the same level), he's just modern and in a different medium.

Plus the Neptunes-esque beats are dope and he's got a pretty sick flow. It isn't music for everyone and never tried to be - it is anti-pop, aimed at a small subpopulation that DOES identify. Its target audiences doesn't ironically like it, it embraces the art lens into minds that aren't lockstep, stepford or even stable - which are a lot more common that we admit, especially in the music scene.

Sticherbeast: Emo teen is emo....All the lolrape and lolfaggot stuff is pretty played, too. What's supposed to be subversive about that?

I mean, first off, it isn't traditionally emo (a genre I can't stand, but more power to those who do) but that dismissal alone demonstrates more misunderstanding. I don't think any of it was created to be subversive, it instead tells a story and has a message. I mean it does engage in the taboo a lot, but isn't this indicative of all the reaction against innovative taboo breaking? I mean, rapping about dancing around in panties and thoughts of suicide isn't exactly mainstream hip-hop, but he consciously decides in his lyrics to try to create a 3rd path that is not mainstream or "conscious hip-hop".

My reaction to all this is "to each their own", but if you want to critique/explore a subculture you should approach it from trying to understand and going from there. But then again, I think ethnography are fascinating. Also, WOLFGANG
posted by Chipmazing at 5:28 PM on May 16, 2011 [31 favorites]


I thought "Yonkers" was a pretty good song, so I bought Goblin. It's pretty repetitive, and the offensive stuff isn't imaginative enough to sustain a whole album. Tyler's pretty clearly influenced by Eminem and his Slim Shady character, but he's going to have to throw some change-ups if he doesn't want to be a flash in the pan. Good on him for stirring some controversy, but what's next?
posted by Bookhouse at 5:30 PM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


To be fair to the author though, his twitter account alone would give you a HORRIBLE impression. It's willfully absurd, purposefully offensive and cultivatedly deviant. Because that's what gets press and press gets fans and money. Blame capitalism?
posted by Chipmazing at 5:30 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay, Chipmazing has convinced me to give it another listen.
posted by Bookhouse at 5:32 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Calling people out" rarely silences them. Quite the opposite. It only seems to work when e.g. homophobes call out excessively sympathetic portrayals of gay people because that callout is backed up by networks and advertisers who are willing to pull their support for a show if it's too gay-friendly. When you don't have that, and you try to call someone out anyway, you will certainly get a lot more people to hate the object of your ire; but what will that accomplish? Perhaps you'll get yourself some more attention, but whatever you're hating on will get attention as well.

Incidentally, this is how rap battles work.
posted by LogicalDash at 5:32 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Blame capitalism?

Of course. That doesn't make it okay in way.
posted by New England Cultist at 5:33 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey guys, my internet access is broken, so could you all please only post about things I already know about? Thanks.

Whatever. I'm just bemused that Ms Quin would single out this one insignificant douchebag from the seas of sexist homophobe douchebags in the rap/hip hop scene.

It's probably just a sign of my advancing age that I have literally never heard of this tool before today, but apparently he is super famous. It's like Justin Bieber all over again.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:33 PM on May 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


treatises on tyler automatically get this reaction: image [explicit words]
posted by the mad poster! at 5:36 PM on May 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I mean it does engage in the taboo a lot, but isn't this indicative of all the reaction against innovative taboo breaking?

That's the thing, though. There is nothing taboo about all the lolrape and lofag stuff. This has been done before. Often. A lot. Not exactly innovative. I dug the idea of the narrative aspect of Goblin with the pseudo-therapist, but it wasn't enough to salvage the album for me. Not even talking about being offended. Talking about being bored. I've heard worse albums, but I've also heard better albums.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:37 PM on May 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Mel Gibson and Marky Mark still get work.

I thought Marky Mark had said some homophobic stuff, maybe even been in some sort of altercation, but had since turned over a new leaf. The man deserves his second chance from his mistakes (particularly since I doubt the culture he grew up in was accepting of gay folk).

Also, the Gibson thing is problematic. It's that whole, "can you separate art from the artist?" thing. Gibson has certainly had his reputation as a man ruined and he hasn't gotten any work in a long while. That said, I still think he is a very good filmmaker and turned in some excellent performances as an actor. It is possible that he could someday create another good film and I would go see it because I don't feel Mel's craziness extends into is film work (Passion aside).

I don't like to be in the position of judging the morals of each artist before I decide if I want to see their work. Even total douches can create great art (The Roman Pilanski Theory).
posted by boubelium at 5:38 PM on May 16, 2011


Whatever. I'm just bemused that Ms Quin would single out this one insignificant douchebag from the seas of sexist homophobe douchebags in the rap/hip hop scene.

The fact that you don't know about him doesn't make him insignificant - which is exactly the problem; he is quite significant and getting a lot of press and is using a lot of troublesome language.

As far as what makes him special among other hip-hop folks, worth singling out for his bigotry, pretty much the deciding factor is that, unlike most hip-hop, it's cool for white folks to listen to him, along with all the unpleasant implications of that.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 5:39 PM on May 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


So I finally cracked and checked out this Tyler, the Creator guy. Is early 2000s underground retro-cool now or something? I'm not seeing much new here.
posted by Hoopo at 5:40 PM on May 16, 2011


I'm not seeing much new here.

Like 99% of his fanbase was 5 years old in the early 2000s, so you can see how this all plays out.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 5:43 PM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


To be fair to the author though, his twitter account alone would give you a HORRIBLE impression.

I credit you for your defence of the guy and his work, but yes. Very much so. I can't imagine why I would want to listen to his work after that.

FAMOUS MONSTER - The fact that you don't know about him doesn't make him insignificant - which is exactly the problem; he is quite significant and getting a lot of press and is using a lot of troublesome language.

Yes, you have a point.

It's cool for white folks to listen to him, along with all the unpleasant implications of that.

It's not cool for white people to listen to hip hop? Really? [This is my ignorance of US culture showing, methinks]. What is so different about T the C?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:44 PM on May 16, 2011


Also for ages when I first heard about Odd future I always conflated them with the Odd Squad.
posted by Hoopo at 5:47 PM on May 16, 2011


I don't like to be in the position of judging the morals of each artist before I decide if I want to see their work. Even total douches can create great art (The Roman Pilanski Theory).

A minor derail - To what extent can his twitter feed be separated from his recording work?

I would pose the argument that he uses social networking to develop his character/public image, the one that he presents in the albums. As such, the twitter feed would be part of his work, and not just statements that can be divorced from it in the same way that Polanski's work can be viewed in isolation from his (heinous) crimes.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:48 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well my name's Trochanter and I'm here to say
I like to rap in a major way





ht cortex (i think... might have been matt. anyway peace out y'all)
posted by Trochanter at 5:49 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not cool for white people to listen to hip hop? Really? [This is my ignorance of US culture showing, methinks].

On the whole and as an extreme generality (said the MONSTER trying to dissuade a storm of people checking in as exceptions), mainstream hip-hop is a thing white folks who are into music (the music equivalent of a self-described foodie, you might say) do not listen to. Acceptable hip-hop includes conscious backpacker shit, some underground stuff, and whatever the Pitchfork crowd gives its blessing to.

In short, there are white people who listen to mainstream hip-hop but they don't tend to overlap much with white people who write about music on the internet in any depth.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 5:49 PM on May 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


Hipsters sure love them some "edgy" "underground" hip hop.
posted by koeselitz at 5:49 PM on May 16, 2011


"Rap rap rap rap rap rap rap rap rap rap rap. Get rappin' with it...heyyyyyy. Get rappin' with it...hoooooooo. Rap rap rap rap rap."
— The Dalai Llama, rapping.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 5:51 PM on May 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:58 PM on May 16, 2011


Chipmazing: “My reaction to all this is ‘to each their own’, but if you want to critique/explore a subculture you should approach it from trying to understand and going from there.”

OR –

... you could take a great interest in the culture and meet with this and actually respect Tyler enough to call bullshit on bullshit and say that stuff like this is just a pointless and masturbatory invocation of mysogynist tropes.

Accept that some of them are accultured to say certain things, yeah; accept that sometimes some really smart guys are really bad at being sensitive to what their words mean; accept that maybe sometimes you don't like part of what they say, even if you like other parts. But don't apologize for hating misogyny, and for god's sake, don't imply that it's just a cultural thing to put women down. Or else then you're just doing the bullshit 'noble savage' thing Senor Cardgage was talking about up above; and that starts down a racist path that is both unnecessary and unhealthy.
posted by koeselitz at 5:59 PM on May 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


the mad poster! treatises on tyler automatically get this reaction: image [explicit words]

First, this is macro is hilarious, so props (is that still acceptable slang?). Second, though, is what I think makes OF popular/accessible/why-white-teens-in-skinny-jeans-and-an-ipod-full-of-Mumford&Sons-like-them. The "dude, you're white/suburban/middle class" critique is super-powerful and works for most emergent "street-cred" hiphop artists - bumping Gucci Mane in your Honda Civic is ridiculous. That sort of hiphop tourism is jarringly offputting. Lemonade cars and drugdealing don't speak to the Ke$ha, T+S or Pitchfork sector. But OF has never been about urban experience or race. Violent thoughts and depression aren't racialized, and therapy probably correlates higher to sitting along reading tumblr/blasting music alone in your headphones/being younger and upper-middle class than experience with your friend getting snitched on/getting head in the club after buying all that champagne/your mother effectively making your stupid shit famous notpointinganyfingers*cough*wakaflocka*cough*.

FamousMonster, the "unpleasant implications of that" are unpleasant, but also true. There is a significant chunk of young music listeners that can identify with those things, want a punkier hiphop and are probably gonna have their minds blown when they're cool older cousin shows them N*E*R*D* or Clipse. But OF is simultaneously less self-serious than Slim Shady, deeper and hipper/richer. Also, the Gucci Mane/Waka Flocka satire track "Bitch Suck Dick" on Goblin is hilarious and spot on.

Also, I apologize if any of this is chunky/weird. I don't normally/ever write about music, and I'll probably stick to writing about James Joyce/Foreign Aid/dorky liberal arts things.
posted by Chipmazing at 6:00 PM on May 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


I listened to This track. Lots of stuff about samurais and light sabers and stuff so I can see how it appeals to the nerd-culture/hipster types. The offensive stuff just sounded like a joke. It was like a rap battle taken to an extreme, absurd level.
posted by delmoi at 6:01 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


good response Chipmazing. I mean I don't know maybe I'm just old at this point, when Eminem came out with all the stupid content I listened to him all day and still think those songs are on classic albums. So my problem isn't really with Tyler's .. references. It just seems odd and the flow seems 'off', heavy, non-hip-hop-ish to me. That coupled with the fact that they caught on so quickly among hipsters rather than in rap circles just adds onto my "these dudes are corny" reaction. I don't necessarily dislike them any more than I dislike Drake or Lady Gaga or anyone else I'm not feeling who suddenly gets too much legitimacy
posted by the mad poster! at 6:14 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


BTW dont get me wrong, I actually really love Goblin.
But I dont think listening to TtC makes one homophobic anymore than playing XboxLive does.

The production reminds me of Cannibal Ox, tho Im not really sure why since they dont really sound the same.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 6:29 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


koeselitz, I won't ever/don't apologize for hating misogyny, and I honestly didn't intend for that post to come off that way. Being a fan doesn't mean I love everything they do - any art that was exactly me would probably suck. I mean, I can love Rimbaud without endorsing his more misogynistic aspects, and I can even put forth other interpretations that give a some redeeming value to poems that parody the idea of love poetry through the horridness of hating women.

Also, just as an interesting sidenote, on the actual album VCR is just the first part of the track which is "VCR/Wheels". VCR is about the character liking porn more than actually girls and objectifying women but when the girl he actually like "Danielle" talks to him, he yells stop on the VCR song, returns to reality and takes her on a date that ends in him asking/wishing for merely a kiss. That sort of thing is probably the sad reality for a ton of young people in the internet age - you'll be exposed to horrible porn before you even have your first kiss. That's adolescence now. The music video has a shitty ending - its not anywhere near their best - but that is the prism I watched through until the last four seconds; Tyler needs a mannequin because he can't get a real girl, he's in the depth of his minds (the crazy basement covered in Wolf Haley scrawl and newspapers) and he gets embarrassed when an actual, live women enters his life. But when she enters the dark/twisted/fucked-up mind, it ends with the idea that terrible ending invokes. It's not a noble savage thing and its not racial, its age-set/generational view. It's a bad cultural thing and should be decried, but it is a cultural thing to put women down in teen subcategories (nerd/hipster/dork/skater/punk/slangforoutsidernotcoolpeople) that feel alienated from them. Its like the line from the finale of Community when the arch-nerd-stereotype interrupts a girl taking leadership with "I don't take orders from women!...because they never talk to me". Its a stupid thing and wrong but its there. I don't take their music as an endorsement as much as a representation. He even says on the album "Don't do anything I say...its just fiction".

But I'll readily admit there is a large group that wouldn't make that distinction and that is terrifying. But there are also those who would read Howl and think they should follow in the footsteps of the "angel-headed hipsters". Do we condemn the piece or those who (mis)understand the message? I don't have an answer, but I do know I love both because they speak to me.

the mad poster!: "It just seems odd and the flow seems 'off', heavy, non-hip-hop-ish to me."

I mean, I agree with that. A lot of my hardcore hiphop heads friends don't like him because he sounds almost too spoken word. But I'm down with that and they aren't - no harm no foul. Also, we're in agreement that hipsters who like them because they're the new hot thing right now suck. Ironic/faddish fandom really grates my nerves.
posted by Chipmazing at 6:36 PM on May 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


Pitchfork has such a hard-on for the whole OFWGKTA it's not even funny.

That said, misogyny sells. It always has. And for every Tegan and Sara there's some female womens' studies grad student who probably loves the "edgy" rush of defending the "authenticity" of Tyler, Earl, etc.

Personally, I can take or leave their music. If it was truly amazing I'd probably be willing to accept the misogyny as "ironic" or what have you. But sorry Pitchfork, I've defended you before but you're wrong about these guys. They aren't half as great as you so desperately want them to be.
posted by bardic at 6:45 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Today in the Pitchfork news feed I saw:
- A new Chad VanGaalen album
- This Tegan and Sara piece
- A new single from Bon Iver called Calgary
It's a trifecta.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 6:50 PM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sorry, but the real OFWGKTA story of the moment is here. Man, is it ever. I'd have made an FPP about that, except sadly The New Yorker has imprisoned it behind a paywall. You can get the highlights at the link, though.

Re: this "controversy," Sara ends up looking like a humorless scold and Tyler looks like a kid who's throwing spitballs at her from the back row of the classroom...my sympathies are clear.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:51 PM on May 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


Earl fears for his mother's life, which is undestandable.

But maybe lines like "fuck a pregnant bitch and call it a threesome" sort of don't help his mom out so much, or any other women for that matter.

I dunno, maybe I'm just getting old.
posted by bardic at 6:55 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hold on, honey, someone is complaining about rappers on the internet.

Hell, I don't even really know who Marky Mark is. It's just a name I recognize.
posted by Ardiril at 6:56 PM on May 16, 2011


Threads like this are a good opportunity for this site to show its rock dinosaur side.
posted by codacorolla at 7:06 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I didn't get it with Eminem and I don't get it with these dudes. There's a lot of music I can't really listen to anymore because it's just so fucking shitty about women. And just because our society is awash is homophobia and misogyny I don't really see that as an excuse to perpetuate such shit. But y'know I'm just a humorless scold like that.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 7:12 PM on May 16, 2011 [15 favorites]


One thing we can all agree on: Pitchfork sucks.
posted by delmoi at 7:15 PM on May 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


I like Pitchfork.
posted by saul wright at 7:18 PM on May 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


And for every Tegan and Sara there's some female womens' studies grad student who probably loves the "edgy" rush of defending the "authenticity" of Tyler, Earl, etc.


Really.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:22 PM on May 16, 2011


Sorry, posted too soon.

I meant to say Really? Because this has been bouncing around the feminist communities I read online and I've heard zero defenses like this. The biggest critique is of the minimization of racism and anti-semitism which is unnecessary for them to make their point.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:25 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry, but the real OFWGKTA story of the moment is here. Man, is it ever.

I hope you mean the detail about Earl Sweatshirt being the son of one of the Last Poets, cuz holy shit whoda thunk?
posted by Hoopo at 7:30 PM on May 16, 2011


Blame capitalism?

I blame capitalization.
posted by flotson at 7:35 PM on May 16, 2011


Rampant speculation ahead!

I wish that New Yorker article was not locked away behind a paywall, because I would like to know how the author, Sennah, confirmed that the thoughtful & mother-defending person she exchanged emails with was actually Earl and not, you know, his mom answering on his behalf.

It's a confusing situation because from everything we know about Thebe's mom, she's a conscientious and upright personality. But that doesn't mean that the need to appear to be conscientious and upright couldn't have imposed its own kind of burden on her son, who may have felt as if he'd been denied an outlet for being/expressing/becoming who he truly was. Another issue might be the dissonance between, say, a family message of superiority and the reality of being an African American kid in a middle class LA suburb.

Please note that this is purely speculative. I am speculating based on the principle of "no smoke without fire" and the fact that Thebe's mom was willing to talk to the New Yorker, but not to any of the other journalists who no doubt tried to contact her, suggesting that she's very sensitive to which are "legitimate" cultural arbiters and which aren't.

At the same time it's hard to get the past the fact that the content of OFWGKTA's material is so misogynist, and resonates so strongly with the fanbase on that level, that any statements by the OF collective implying that Earl's mom is the villain of the story will be accepted at face value by fans who are more than happy to believe that it's all the woman's fault.
posted by subdee at 7:37 PM on May 16, 2011


I don't know a single person who enjoys finding new modern music who would claim that Pitchfork sucks. They're not perfect, but they're beating Rolling Stone at their own game. In fact, at this point both RS and SPIN won't even mention an artist unless they're already established elsewhere. They've completely given up on seeking out new bands and seem content to let Pitchfork do the groundwork for them.
posted by secondhand pho at 7:38 PM on May 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


meant to say Really? Because this has been bouncing around the feminist communities I read online and I've heard zero defenses like this.



Really? You mean chipmazing ISN'T a female woman's studies grad student?
posted by happyroach at 7:39 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whatever. I'm just bemused that Ms Quin would single out this one insignificant douchebag from the seas of sexist homophobe douchebags in the rap/hip hop scene.

If you'd been tracking music blogs, or things like Questlove's Twitter feed, you would have heard about these guys a little while back-- and I don't mean by that that this is what the cool kids are doing, but that Odd Future has received loving, kid glove treatment by (male) critics. They're had a lot of attention very fast; been welcomed into the inner circles of their genre. But not just that: Tyler's picture was on the cover of the New York Times the other day on the occasion of the release of his first album; Earl's the subject of a story in the New Yorker. You have to be riding an extraordinary wave of hype and goodwill to achieve that level of attention, and that's why he's far from insignificant. It's not just him; it's the attention and adulation he is accruing from people who know exactly who he is and what he is about, and who pile on the bandwagon anyway.

Re: this "controversy," Sara ends up looking like a humorless scold

Ah, I wonder when that would come up. Why is it that whenever women try to talk about misogyny we're told we have no sense of humour, that we're prudes, or that we hate men. Care to hit the rest of the bingo card?

Nitush Abebe had a telling entry in his blog the other day about Odd Future, in which he seems to consider-- and appears to believe, in passing, that he is inventing this insight-- the point of view of women listening to them:
It’s those taunts in particular that ensure lots of people will never be able to feel entirely included here. There’s been plenty of discussion of the moral dimensions of that fact. Here’s another dimension to consider, though: Doesn’t that just kind of suck, that this group would turn out a lot of fantastic music that unnecessarily dis-includes a big chunk of listeners? That there would be these terrific tracks and vital energy you might want to share in and share with others—except that sharing in it involves leaping this pointless exclusionary hurdle that doesn’t just leave out people you care about, but actively assaults their sensibilities? [...] But this stuff isn’t just needling sensibilities; it’s throwing up a significant roadblock that divides me from people I don’t want to be divided from. Leave aside morals: It bums me out that I can love so much about a few of these tracks, but wouldn’t put them on a mixtape for a lot of people I care about. It bothers me on the same small level it bothered me when my family toured a men-only monastery in Ethiopia and had to leave my mom standing outside for 10 minutes.
Yes, it's a small thing, this little thing of being excluded, hated, mocked, and, after all that, having that mockery acclaimed far and wide as brilliance and distilled youthful energy. But it's a small enough thing that Abebe may be troubled by it for a minute or two, but not enough to renounce Odd Future entirely. And you know, I'm finally sick of this shit. I'm sick of Odd Future's skyrocket of hype, I'm sick of male critics who so badly want to be boys again that they worship at his circle, and I'm sick, mostly, of the utter silence that greets reservations about the ethos of sociopathy as entertainment.
posted by jokeefe at 7:41 PM on May 16, 2011 [30 favorites]


GG Allin for hipsters. It's just like if someone used their own poo to write on a wall
posted by Existential Dread at 7:51 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


unlike most hip-hop, it's cool for white folks to listen to him

ahahahahahahahha
posted by p3on at 7:52 PM on May 16, 2011


Ah, I wonder when that would come up. Why is it that whenever women try to talk about misogyny we're told we have no sense of humour, that we're prudes, or that we hate men. Care to hit the rest of the bingo card?

Whoa, I never said Sara was a humorless scold. I said she looked like one, and she does. If you have people whose rationale is in part that there's no subject too offensive to joke about, taking them to task for their lack of moral gravity is you setting yourself up to be the butt of a joke, and Sara should have known that. If you want to engage these guys or their fans in any meaningful way, what she's doing is exactly the wrong way to go about it. You can't fight this stuff with stern looks and headshakes...my God, hasn't she ever seen Footloose? It just doesn't work.

I'm sick of Odd Future's skyrocket of hype, I'm sick of male critics who so badly want to be boys again that they worship at his circle, and I'm sick, mostly, of the utter silence that greets reservations about the ethos of sociopathy as entertainment.

Well, I'd like to hear more about this, personally.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:54 PM on May 16, 2011


I said she looked like one, and she does

Well, no, she doesn't, not from where I'm standing. She looks like she just wrote a thoughtful and informed piece about something that matters to her, taking place in the industry in which she works.
posted by jokeefe at 7:57 PM on May 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'm sick of Odd Future's skyrocket of hype, I'm sick of male critics who so badly want to be boys again that they worship at his circle, and I'm sick, mostly, of the utter silence that greets reservations about the ethos of sociopathy as entertainment.

Well, I'd like to hear more about this, personally.


Well, I'm tired of talking about it. You'll have to find it elsewhere.
posted by jokeefe at 8:04 PM on May 16, 2011


Well, I guess one way to respond to utter silence is with utter silence; we can all just not broach anything ever and stew silently, sure of the terrible things that must be in the heads of the people who disagree with us, or who we think would disagree with us if they ever said anything, but of course they won't because, you know, utter silence. That sounds healthy.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:09 PM on May 16, 2011


If you're telling stories about misogyny or homophobia and play a character who shares those views to explore those issues because you don't understand them and you think it's important, I would consider that art.

If you drop words and spread hate to stir up controversy because it gets you money, you're just a standard issue piece of shit. Don't blame capitalism. Blame people who are too dull to garner any attention without resorting to cheap narcissistic bigotry, and decide to take the easy route instead of becoming better artists.

From what I can tell, this guy falls into the latter category. He's got time to come clean and explain his position and apologize for offending people. Or he can continue to pretend that exploiting people for his own benefit somehow makes him a different, more interesting human. He has more in common with Glenn Beck than with any artist I have respect for.
posted by notion at 8:21 PM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's really not a fair thing to say to someone who has been constantly participating in discussions about sexism here for years and has already contributed a lot to this thread, just because she doesn't want to engage on this topic further.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:22 PM on May 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


(That was directed to kittens for breakfast)
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:22 PM on May 16, 2011


Yeah, but I think it's a bit much to drop a bomb about sociopathy as entertainment and then just be all, well, whatevs, I'm done here. I mean, that's an extremely loaded phrase, and I'd be very curious to learn what exactly it means to jokeefe...to anyone, for that matter. I don't think it's something you can ask people to engage with, because it's incendiary without really being very specific.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:32 PM on May 16, 2011


This letter by Sarah and some of the comments above make a good point that needs to be discussed more openly among music writers and fans. It seems that most music writers are middle to upper middle class whites who have absolutely no first hand experience with the kinds of things that are discussed in what is traditionally referred to as “street” rap. I don’t just mean obvious things like drug dealing, gang banging, etc. I mean the attitudes towards women and gays, or even the value of human life. In the absence of any real empathy, writers’ attempts to grapple with those attitudes are often patronizing to the point of being cowardly.

Tyler's either playing a character, trying to get attention, or just fucked in the head (or some combination). If he's playing a character, like Johnny Cash or Loretta Lynn, it seems like a real writer has to ask what kind of character? Is it an interesting character? Does anything happen to that character? In Tyler’s case I think the answer is ‘no’. If he’s just trying to get attention, it seems like a real writer has to ask, to what end? In this case, the answer seems to be money and sex. Is that inherently interesting? Worth writing about? No and no.

If he’s genuinely fucked in the head, i.e. describing a personal reality that just happens to be vicious and destructive, it seems like a good writer should acknowledge that there is a difference between ‘I wanna hold your hand (i.e. I want to fuck you)’ and ‘Fuck her in a hummer while I rape her and I put her in a slumber’. There is a difference between ‘We always take my car cause it’s never been beat, and we never miss hit with the girls we meet’ (i.e. Don’t fuck with me, I have a big dick) and ‘Come take a stab at it faggot, I preordered your casket.’ The former may express the Id, but the latter are expressions of bald hatred, a desire to erase someone else's humanity.

I highly doubt most music writers walk around feeling that way, even on a bad day. So they could just say “I don’t feel this, and that’s fine, I don’t want to. In fact, I feel the same way about this bullshit as I do about white supremacist propaganda or the TGI Fridays menu. I acknowledge its existence but I feel no need to help anybody sell it.”

But Tyler’s got a great face, and he wears his socks pulled up high, and he turned a network TV show into ABC No Rio for 10 minutes. There’s something they like about him. Or maybe it’s just that there’s something other people like about him. So they feel like they need to figure out a way in, talk about the beats (samey), or the flow (decent) or the voice (unoriginal) lest they be left needing to talk about the much, much more important topic of right and wrong, or even true and false. I personally find this evasion pathetic, even for music writers.
posted by ivanosky at 8:36 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is using hateful, misogynistic, homophobic, violent language without caring about the effect it has on people sociopathic, in the sense that it lacks empathy? I can see that, and I can see how that kind of "I don't care who I hurt" attitude is put forth as entertainment.

In terms of someone having a conversation or not, it's really shitty to have to deal with what we're talking about when it's directed at you, and I don't think that anyone has any obligation to keep participating in a conversation about bigotry against them. Nor do I think it makes sense to say that people who are being hurt by something can't speak up about it unless they're able to participate in a conversation for X amount of time at Y level of detail.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:38 PM on May 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


And...I'm done here too. I find his actual lyrics to be disturbing and triggering and I really am not able to discuss this. There is, I'm sure, plenty of feminist writing about him and his lyrics out there for anyone who's curious.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:41 PM on May 16, 2011


Yeah, but I think it's a bit much to drop a bomb about sociopathy as entertainment and then just be all, well, whatevs, I'm done here. I mean, that's an extremely loaded phrase, and I'd be very curious to learn what exactly it means to jokeefe...to anyone, for that matter. I don't think it's something you can ask people to engage with, because it's incendiary without really being very specific.

I've mostly had a long day and I've got Episode 5 of Game of Thrones downloaded and I plan to head for bed and snuggle up with the cats and watch it. And I can't help but feel that "sociopathy as entertainment" pretty much sums up Odd Future at least from where I'm standing, and I'm not sure how much more explication the phrase needs, really.

And cheers, the young rope-rider.
posted by jokeefe at 8:46 PM on May 16, 2011


Yes, it's a small thing, this little thing of being excluded, hated, mocked, and, after all that, having that mockery acclaimed far and wide as brilliance and distilled youthful energy.

So a thing cant be brilliant and possess youthful energy and be exclusionary and divisive?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:06 PM on May 16, 2011


I'd be interested in his music if he didn't have the homophobic and misogynist crap in there. I heard about Odd Future in The Onion, downloaded their stuff off their site, and started listening to it. I heard a line about breaking a chair on a woman or something like that, and I was like, "What?" I mean, I listen to a TON of rap, and I don't hear about that sort of thing, pretty much ever. Then I heard something about "faggots," and I deleted all their stuff. That sort of schtick just turns me off. I'm fine with alienation and depression and whatnot, but I just don't want to hear homophobia and misogyny. I've heard plenty of it in hip-hop, and I'm not going to freak out every time I hear "bitch" or "ho," but this guy's just over the top in being an asshole, and he can either clean up his act or go fuck himself.
posted by Slinga at 9:20 PM on May 16, 2011


There is nothing taboo about all the lolrape and lofag stuff.

Exactly. The same stuff can be heard from neanderthals in shopping centre carparks, bars, workplaces, etc. It's not any more taboo or creative or edgy just because the new hotness is rapping it instead of shouting it at a someone walking down the street and threatening to beat them up. There's no irony, no po-mo awareness or critique of sexism and homophobia to defend - just hateful shit.

And you can't separate the artist's actions from their work so you can enjoy the songs if the songs are full of the thing that's a problem in the first place.

The guy's a stupid arsehole, and no-one in the music industry is willing to say it.
posted by harriet vane at 10:05 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


So a thing cant be brilliant and possess youthful energy and be exclusionary and divisive?

So how long are you going to be making excuses for this guy?
posted by happyroach at 10:27 PM on May 16, 2011


So how long are you going to be making excuses for this guy?


Search my username in this very thread. The one youre in right now.
Fuck it, Ill do you the favor. Click here.
Am I making excuses for him?
It's pretty clear from things I've..ya know..actually said...in the thread you are in right now that I am not.

But it's disingenuous and toxic to an open and honest conversation about this topic to paint it in binary black/white, good/evil labels.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:38 PM on May 16, 2011


My question is: What does the person from Tegan and Sara want us, or her industry, to do?

Personally I think his lyrics are mildly amusing in the same way that I think ICP are mildly amusing. That is to say, I chuckle at the attempt to be edgy or offensive but never for a second mistake it for actually being edgy or good.

Also, what is the difference between Tyler the Creator and a band like Mindless Self Indulgence who got a lot of initial attention from a song called "Faggot" where part of the refrain is "faggot, faggot, faggot, faggot"? They are also an all white band whose lyrics include many instances of the word "nigga/nigger".

I ask because they are a band that I like. I'm perfectly willing to accept that there is no difference them and Tyler the Creator and that they are just as offensive. But, I don't for a second believe that Little Jimmy Urine, et al. are actually racist or homophobic despite their use of language that may be offensive. So what, if anything, is the difference (besides the volume of offensiveness)?
posted by runcibleshaw at 10:54 PM on May 16, 2011


I think the whole multiple personality thing is (a) totally played out by now and (b) a really interesting development in the evolution of this genre. Eminem is the most famous practitioner of it, but he's hardly the only one. Nikki Minaj has a whole bag full of personas that she adopts. Tyler isn't really doing anything new there. Shock G's Humpty Hump character represents an earlier example.

But what I think is really going on here is that rappers are looking for excuses to use different narrative viewpoints. In rap, there's an expectation that when the artist says "I" or "me" they're talking about themselves or their persona. The multiple personality schtick is a way to tell a story in the first person where the speaker in the story is someone other than the rapper. I see it as a technical development in a young literary genre.
posted by chrchr at 11:13 PM on May 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Metatalk
posted by Wroksie at 1:13 AM on May 17, 2011


Odd Future are playing the Sydney Opera House. I'm not sure why there isn't more controversy over this. People will raise a stink over Bill Henson but not a taxpayer-funded music festival programming music like this.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:40 AM on May 17, 2011


No-one complained about Bill Henson until some wowser pointed him out to the philistines who can't tell child porn from art photos of children. I'm guessing the people who would normally complain about Odd Future have no idea he's offensive, but would be happy to start a controversy if notified. Then again, lolrape and lolfaggot are common opinions, even if they aren't usually so openly and aggressively put forward. So maybe they'd say "it's just a joke, geez you wimmins and gays need to get a sense of humour".
posted by harriet vane at 3:58 AM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've mostly had a long day and I've got Episode 5 of Game of Thrones downloaded and I plan to head for bed and snuggle up with the cats and watch it.

This is actually more or less what I did after all of this last night, too, except I was reading Clash of Kings, but yeah.

And I can't help but feel that "sociopathy as entertainment" pretty much sums up Odd Future at least from where I'm standing, and I'm not sure how much more explication the phrase needs, really.

I think the scary part of this phrase is that it can be broadly applied as a blanket condemnation of things one doesn't like that fit a certain vaguely unpleasant criteria -- a few examples of sociopathy as entertainment might include Pulp Fiction, the Hostel films, American Psycho, A Clockwork Orange, "A Cask of Amontillado" and "The Tell-Tale Heart"...you know, at a certain point, you have to go, "Well, shit, that's not what I meant," if not on that list then on some other one, but why not? If what makes one work of art sociopathic and another a work of art about sociopathology is just that we like one of them and think the other sucks, I think that's a problem.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:54 AM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


What about that phrase having broad application is "scary"?
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:08 AM on May 17, 2011


I listened to Goblin based on a couple of good reviews. I’d heard about Tyler and I knew how controversial he is, and I’d heard about other projects he’s been involved in but hadn’t gotten around to listening yet. My first thought was that all the hype I’d heard about OMG THE BEATS? Eh. They’re alright. Nothing compared to the sounds behind, say, Dominique Young Unique. And his flow is... competent. Lyrically, though, I was blown away. I don’t like what he says. It makes me uncomfortable, It’s not something I’m going to listen to on the train home from work or put on at a party. But he represents the depression, alienation, and fury of an underachieving teenager who’s too smart for his own good and who has been let down by everyone in a way that’s astonishingly honest. It’s like the horrific shit is something he hides behind to make up for how vulnerable he was in that last lyric.

So, yeah, that’s a minority opinion. But it does bring me to a completely genuine question – why is it OK for someone to “play a character” that’s immoral and detestable (Johnny Cash in Folsom Prison Blues, The Rolling Stones in Under My Thumb, any murder ballad from the beginning of music until today) in song, but it’s not OK for a musician to express his actual character (and who knows if everything about him is an act, really) if it’s not decent or likable? Are only good people or good-seeming people morally allowed to make music? And are we morally obligated not to support musicians who aren’t good people?

Let’s assume, for the sake of this argument, that Tyler is an intelligent and interesting artist in spite of his offensiveness, whether you agree or not. What if he were writing stories and books instead of rap lyrics? What if he were painting pictures? Because I’ve read life-changing books about shitty people doing shitty things that seemed more than a little autobiographical, and I’ve seen some extremely visceral, self-referential art expressing some pretty unpleasant things about the artist and I wasn’t able to dismiss any of this as easily as everyone seems to dismiss Tyler the Creator because he says “faggot”.

Let me reiterate that this is a genuine question. I don’t know the answer. I downloaded the album and then deleted it (my standard practice – I have a listen and buy it if I want to listen to it again, delete otherwise) but I won’t buy it, in spite of the fact that I was impressed by it. I’m not sure if I want to encourage him with my cash. I’m definitely not sure that fame is very good for him.
posted by Wroksie at 5:32 AM on May 17, 2011 [12 favorites]


Replace "Goblin" with "Bastard" in that last comment. It's been a long day for me on Metafilter.
posted by Wroksie at 5:46 AM on May 17, 2011


So a thing cant be brilliant and possess youthful energy and be exclusionary and divisive?

It's not as if there's some objective measure for "brilliant." For some people, this particular presentation of material that includes lots of "faggot" and "bitch" etc. is on the brilliant side; for others, both the presentation and the material are far from original, and what's brilliant about same shit, different day?
posted by rtha at 6:30 AM on May 17, 2011


So I admit, I hadn't heard of Odd Future before this thread, so I did some research, and listened to some tracks.

Oh boy, a rap act that hipsters decided to like "Ironically". Yawn. What, is conscious hip hop "too 00's" now, so are all the white backpackers tossing their Sage Francis records to listen to this guy rap "ironically" "in character" about homophobia and racism? The guy sounds a bit like Chali 2Na, so that's points in his favor, but "offensive" lyrics (that are TOTALLY ironic and in character, by the way, so don't dare judge him also did we mention he's black so don't be racist) aside, there's nothing really all that engaging about him, and that's what offends me most of all.

Seriously, this is the kind of shit that that makes me tired: this is intellectualized version of the annoying white people whine of "I don't like rap but I like The Beastie Boys!" or from the opposite direction, the people who played Guitar Hero and loved Dragonforce for a week in 2007, but wouldn't dare suffer through a Blind Guardian album. This isn't appreciation of an artist, or a genre, it's a kitschy collectable minstrel show to show off how "cultured" you are.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:43 AM on May 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


*misogyny, not racism.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:44 AM on May 17, 2011


and I'm sick, mostly, of the utter silence that greets reservations about the ethos of sociopathy as entertainment.

Well, okay. But "the ethos of sociopathy as entertainment" has such a long and vital history that I'm not sure why you'd think it hasn't been discussed before. You're free to have your reservations, and you're also free to not listen anything you deem fits said ethos. Me, I like "Delia's Gone," I like "Shaky Dog" by Ghostface Killah, I like the writings of Jack Ketchum and Jim Thompson and Chester Himes and James Ellroy. I've also written fiction that I wouldn't recommend to everyone. I'm 87% sure that I'm not a sociopath.

If Tyler the Creator is going to have legs as an artist, and that's a big if, then as he ages and matures he'll probably have something like Eminem's Elton John moment and then all this will be in the past.
posted by Bookhouse at 6:58 AM on May 17, 2011


You know, UB, just because you don't like something doesn't mean the people who do like it are being ironic.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:01 AM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don’t know if you’d call me a hipster or what, but I am really into music and I get called “creative” and sometimes my friends wear certain clothes ironically. I’m too fat to wear clothes ironically but if I were skinnier I probably would. I’m possibly too old at 33? And possibly a fat hipster is a paradox? Not sure. But I do know that this:

“This isn't appreciation of an artist, or a genre, it's a kitschy collectable minstrel show to show off how "cultured" you are.”

is pretty offensive. I am white, and I am genuinely interested in hip-hop. All kinds, but I find myself less interested in the socially conscious "backpacker" stuff all the time. And I certainly don’t feel like I’m slumming or watching a minstrel show when I listen to hip-hop, even the violent, offensive stuff. Partly because I grew up surrounded by violence and substance abuse and hearing about that shit can be pretty cathartic, but mainly because it’s (to me) the most relevant and interesting music going right now. I don’t think that black artists only speak to black people any more than I think that female artists only speak to women and I don’t think you’re qualified to decide why any white person or group of white people are listening to it or what their motivations are.

To summarize: I’m not listening to hip hop ironically. I’m listening to it because I love it. I love its history, I love how fast it’s changing and growing right now. I love thinking about it and talking about it. The misogyny and homophobia fucking suck, but the conversations that it starts are pretty damn interesting.
posted by Wroksie at 7:17 AM on May 17, 2011 [7 favorites]


I've said it before, but getting together and making a concept album that toys with rape and homophobia is just kind of lazy.
posted by Theta States at 7:34 AM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


is pretty offensive. I am white, and I am genuinely interested in hip-hop.

Awesome, me too, and I'm pretty tired of gimmicky bullshit like this guy.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:52 AM on May 17, 2011


See, though, I don’t think he’s gimmicky. I think he might be too fame-and-controversy hungry for his own good, or for anyone else’s good, but I also think he’s a teenager and he’s a pretty remarkable writer, when he’s not saying faggot. I think he has potential to do some amazing shit when he grows up. I’ll be keeping an eye on him.

So, maybe don’t paint everyone who likes what you don’t like, or at least doesn’t hate what you hate, as racist cultural appropriators. That’s all.
posted by Wroksie at 7:55 AM on May 17, 2011


I think the whole multiple personality thing is (a) totally played out by now and (b) a really interesting development in the evolution of this genre. Eminem is the most famous practitioner of it, but he's hardly the only one. Nikki Minaj has a whole bag full of personas that she adopts. Tyler isn't really doing anything new there. Shock G's Humpty Hump character represents an earlier example.

See also Chris Gaines. I think part of the reason rap got so entrenched in authenticity or at least the veneer of authenticity was that back in the early 90s mainstream culture started co-opting rap and packaging it as safe pop like MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice. So for about a decade the whole street cred aspect was a big deal, and if you rapped about dealing drugs and shooting people, the expectation was that you actually did it in real life. I think what allowed Eminem to become popular during that era, aside from growing up in Detroit, was that he used a persona to stay violent and edgy without trying to directly pose as the usual gansta rap figure.

Music and performing on stage is inherently silly and harmless. Any musical act that tries to make it anything other than that has to do some work to frame it differently. In Tyler's case it's being purposely offensive and dark. In my opinion it's not being offensive for the sake of being offensive but rather as part of an overall narrative device, although obviously it's understandable that a lot of people don't like it. But really there is nothing special about rap in this aspect, there are entire genres of music that have adopted things like Satanism to have the same sort of effect.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:06 AM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, maybe don’t paint everyone who likes what you don’t like, or at least doesn’t hate what you hate, as racist cultural appropriators. That’s all.

If you would stop beating your wife for a second, you'd realize that's not at all what I was doing. I'm sorry I besmirched a rapper you like, but it's not simply "people who like things I don't are racist".

Since you didn't actually read what I posted, let me try again: I hadn't even heard of this guy before this was posted, and what I discovered upon watching the linked tracks and others is that OF/Tyler/whomever else, is an unremarkable rapper who sounds kind of like Chali 2na, only overtly homophobic and violent towards women, but it's ok because "he's playing a character" and "he's really exploring his feelings as a teenager" or whatever, and I think that's utter bullshit.

Further, from what my cursory glance around the web (the afforementioned context that this post failed to provide) it appears the people who are defending this guy the loudest aren't avid hip-hop fans who would make comparisons to Ghostface and the like, compare him to other rappers who played characters (Kool Keith, Bushwick Bill, etc), or discuss how hip-hop as a whole is "playing a character". This conceit wasn't quite so prevalent when the "No Homo" discussion came up.

If you do not fall into this category, more power to you. But as a [fellow] fan of hip hop, I hate ironic attachment by hipsters to specific rap songs and artists based on a gimmick. That's all.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:11 AM on May 17, 2011


Man, I just think it's really interesting that UB is reading racist motivations into OF's listeners, and going out of his way to preemptively be pissed off that people are going to say that he's a racist for not liking them (even though no one has said anything like that in this thread), and is also calling it a minstrel show even though, really, race is just barely a thing when people talk about Odd Future, and has just about nothing to do with what ostensibly bothers people about their lyrics.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:15 AM on May 17, 2011


Beating my wife? Er... Anyway, I did read what you said before, and it was nothing like what you just said just now. You should have said that second thing first because that makes way more sense and would have saved me the trouble of correcting you.
But, hip hop, yay.
posted by Wroksie at 8:16 AM on May 17, 2011


So, maybe don’t paint everyone who likes what you don’t like, or at least doesn’t hate what you hate, as racist cultural appropriators. That’s all.

This is what I was responding to, kittens.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:17 AM on May 17, 2011


I felt my initial response was pretty clear. Maybe you should have googled it? ;)
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:18 AM on May 17, 2011


This is what I was responding to, kittens.

Yeah, but what I was responding to was what you were saying upthread. I agree with Wroksie that what you said there is both much more reasonable and fairly far removed from what you said originally.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:20 AM on May 17, 2011


Well how about this: I stand by the idea behind what I said initially, but it appears that I have a. phrased it poorly and b. it doesn't belong here, so let's roll with my second, better comment and next round's on me.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:23 AM on May 17, 2011


Sounds like Insane Clown Posse. Or Korn. Or Limp Bizkit.

or Korn-holing Insane Clown Posse with a Limp Bizkit.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 8:24 AM on May 17, 2011


Wroksie: “But it does bring me to a completely genuine question – why is it OK for someone to “play a character” that’s immoral and detestable (Johnny Cash in Folsom Prison Blues, The Rolling Stones in Under My Thumb, any murder ballad from the beginning of music until today) in song, but it’s not OK for a musician to express his actual character (and who knows if everything about him is an act, really) if it’s not decent or likable?”

This doesn't answer your question, but I want to say: it's always funny to me that people bring up these two songs, and a few others, when they start talking about how we should allow for some misogyny and violence in music, and not get bothered, that we should keep some kind of distance or whatever from it; it's as though these songs are supposed to be cultural norms, old enough to be 'acceptable,' and we're supposed to take it on face value that there isn't anything wholly objectionable about them. But it's perfectly possible to find "Folsom Prison Blues" or "Cocaine Blues" or (well, particularly) "Under My Thumb" offensive, and to feel as though they are not good art and as though they detract direly from the bodies of work of the artists who created them. And it's at least arguably that songs like these are not acceptable discourse, and should not be played in all times and all places; and, if there isn't censorship, we should at least be careful throwing them around.

I know Johnny Cash is something of a saint to a lot of people; I like him a bit myself, I have a number of his records. (I guess the Rolling Stones are like that for some people, too, although I would've hoped we'd all accepted by now that "Under My Thumb" is sexist nonsense that doesn't deserve two shits.) But there's nothing wrong with having some distance from your saints and enough detachment and perspective to say when they're crossing a line.
posted by koeselitz at 8:25 AM on May 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Uther Bentrazor: “If you would stop beating your wife for a second...”

Wroksie: “Beating my wife? Er...”

Uther Bentrazor is referring to the classical example of a loaded question, which is: "when did you stop beating your wife?" The question assumes guilt as a premise, so there's no way to answer it directly without an admission.

His implication was that you were assuming that he's accusing you of being a "racist cultural appropriators," whereas (he claims) he was accusing you of no such thing.

I admit that sticking the question into a discussion like this without explaining it is usually a bad idea, for the precise reason that it causes misunderstanding and elevates the argument where no elevation is really necessary. However, I'm pretty sure that's what Uther Bentrazor meant.
posted by koeselitz at 8:38 AM on May 17, 2011


But it's perfectly possible to find "Folsom Prison Blues" or "Cocaine Blues" or (well, particularly) "Under My Thumb" offensive, and to feel as though they are not good art and as though they detract direly from the bodies of work of the artists who created them.

Dude, you can feel that "Folsom Prison Blues" is bad art all you want, but if you do, I wanna know about it. It might come in handy later, like when you're telling me something is bad art.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:39 AM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


from last night's odd future show:
Tyler warned the crowd if another bottle was thrown they'd be forced to leave the stage, and another bottle was tossed on stage almost immediately.
posted by ofthestrait at 8:56 AM on May 17, 2011


What goes through the head of someone who pitches bottles at an act that they presumably like? Other than "not very much" or "a constant whistling sound."
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:58 AM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


kittens for breakfast: “Dude, you can feel that "Folsom Prison Blues" is bad art all you want, but if you do, I wanna know about it. It might come in handy later, like when you're telling me something is bad art.”

Well, okay. I guess I should say at this point, kittens, that when I say "bad art," I'm not talking about anything but ethical implications. I have a hard time buying into the notion of artistic quality. Punk happened, none of us can deny it, and that means (I think) that we have to admit that beauty sometimes has strange provenance that can't be dictated by taste.

So when I say "bad art," I never mean it in the "this guy is a hack!" sense. For example: Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen is most definitely "bad art;" but not because it's really poorly executed; it's "bad art" because it's ridiculously misogynist, and even (one could argue) broadly misanthropist.

Johnny Cash is most definitely not a hack; far from it. But he, like everybody else, is clearly capable of making "art" (art being, in my definition, anything made by a human being) that is "bad" (as in, bad for society). This isn't to say that all his art is "bad" – but, for the record, I don't know that "Folsom Prison Blues" is, but I think Red Arnall's "Cocaine Blues" almost certainly is, as popular as it was even in 1947.

Sticherbeast: “What goes through the head of someone who pitches bottles at an act that they presumably like? Other than 'not very much' or 'a constant whistling sound.'”

I imagine something like "WOLF GANG! WOOOO!"
posted by koeselitz at 9:05 AM on May 17, 2011


I imagine something like "WOLF GANG! WOOOO!"

I get that, but even through layers of alcohol and stupidity, what's the thought process going on when they say "stop throwing bottles at us otherwise we leave" and you throw a bottle. And then they leave. And then you boo.

I don't know why this is bugging me so much. This is my tumid, engorged superego talking. Carry on, everyone.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:11 AM on May 17, 2011


I get that, but even through layers of alcohol and stupidity, what's the thought process going on when they say "stop throwing bottles at us otherwise we leave" and you throw a bottle. And then they leave. And then you boo.

The people booing probably hated the bottle throwers as much as the performers did. In my experience the bottle throwers are generally completely falling down drunk, and when they inevitably get booted by security the rest of the crowd cheers.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:20 AM on May 17, 2011


secondhand pho:
I don't know a single person who enjoys finding new modern music who would claim that Pitchfork sucks.


Hey, nice to meet you. On the rare occasions when Pitchfork decides to like something I like they give me cause to re-examine that album person or group. They're like if Vice Magazine ground up and freebased itself for a whole weekend and then decided to tell me about music.

The only thing worse than the current state of rock music is the current state of rap music reporting.
posted by paisley henosis at 10:34 AM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I listened to some Odd Future tracks on YouTube. I already have loads of Kool Keith and Gravediggaz, so I'm not sure exactly what gap these tracks are filling for me. Seems more like a novelty act re the age of the kids than anything else.

As for misogyny, I don't know. Nothing really leapt out of the track and slapped me in the face. But I'm a huge Ol Dirty Bastard fan, so I might not be the MetaFilter litmus for that.
posted by paisley henosis at 10:39 AM on May 17, 2011


why is it OK for someone to “play a character” that’s immoral and detestable (Johnny Cash in Folsom Prison Blues, The Rolling Stones in Under My Thumb, any murder ballad from the beginning of music until today) in song

Oh god, I hate this old saw. Most of the murder ballads and Johnny Cash songs that people love to defend violent rap music with ends with the perpetrator paying for his crimes-- or at very least regretting them.

Folsom Prison Blues: Stuck in prison, hangin' his head and crying.
Delia: Stuck in a cell, haunted by the patter of Delia's feet.
Lilli Schull: On the gallows, about to die.
Cocaine Blues: Stuck in prison.
Knoxville Girl: Stuck in prison.

That's just off the top of my head.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:34 AM on May 17, 2011


The amount of fighting on the internet about Odd Future is just overwhelming. I guess this is where I'll admit that I am a lesbian and a rape victim, and that Tyler's rape-themed songs such as "She" and "VCR" are the best things that have ever happened to me, recovery-wise. "She" contains this horrible line "I just wanna drag your lifeless body to the forest/And fornicate with it but that's because I'm in love with you, cunt" that has been singled out by a lot of folks who haven't listened to it in context.

The song starts from the perspective of Frank Ocean (Tyler's collaborator), the boyfriend, who is rudely interrupted one night during sex with his girl by this incredibly lame and creepy guy, a "real ninja" with "gold ninja stars and red Supreme nunchuks" who slashes at the pair with his sword. Frank assumes the ninja is his girl's jealous ex. Then the song shifts to Tyler or the ninja's perspective. At first he's this cheeseball cliché who doesn't want his friends to know how much he loves his girl: "Don't wanna seem like a punk pussy that sips on the punk pussy/See when I'm with my friends I just put on a front/But in the back of my top I'm writing songs about we." He invites the girl to go skinny-dipping, saying "I wanna be Finn from Adventure in Time." But then things suddenly take a turn for a worse as "Eight is the bullets if you say no after all this" and then we get to the lifeless body line.

But then! Tyler starts lisping very quietly and finishes the song with, "I just wanna talk, and conversate/Cause I usually just stalk you and masturbate/And I finally got the courage to ask you on a date/So just say yes, let the future fall into place, cunt." So Tyler isn't the girl's ex, he's just a super-lame stalker (he fantasizes about not wanting to admit to his boys that he's in love!!!) whose unrequited love is so pale and false that it easily spills over into fantasies of violence. With Frank's incredulous (and Glock-toting) presence, the entire song is a hilarious take-down of a deliciously dickless, would-be rapist.

"VCR" is very similar as it portrays a rapey dude as a guy so desensitized that he has to watch porn during sex just to get off. Tell me, what other rape songs depict the rapists as such pitiable, fully-formed losers? Personally, they're laugh-out-loud songs of empowerment. Which isn't to say that the OF fandom is for me or that their shows would be an enjoyable experience. They are homophobic and misogynistic, as others have pointed out, because their word choices exclude many would-be fans from possibly enjoying their music. But I don't think their intent is truly homophobic or misogynistic.

The real question though, is whether Earl/Thebe is now regretting his previous words and message, and how his return will change OF as a whole. Definitely recommend reading the New Yorker article especially the last page, as well as the Awl piece linked above.
posted by acidic at 12:50 PM on May 17, 2011 [11 favorites]


Most of the murder ballads and Johnny Cash songs that people love to defend violent rap music with ends with the perpetrator paying for his crimes-- or at very least regretting them.

About 85% of "Delia's Gone" is about the pleasures of woman killing, including the last verse. A lot of the regret in these songs is like the doctor in one of those old "medical" skin flicks: the wink and nod some people need to enjoy some dirt.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:57 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Most of the murder ballads and Johnny Cash songs that people love to defend violent rap music with ends with the perpetrator paying for his crimes-- or at very least regretting them.

I don't think that the problem with violent rap music is that it's insufficiently like a morality play. Sometimes in life evil isn't punished, and I'd like to think that society can reflect on the meaning of that in the arts without too much concern that the youth is being corrupted.
posted by Copronymus at 1:11 PM on May 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


So a thing cant be brilliant and possess youthful energy and be exclusionary and divisive?

So how long are you going to be making excuses for this guy?


apparently you haven't witnessed the sidestepping acrobatics of a metafilter insane clown posse thread.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 6:31 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


To the people who are saying that OFWKTA isn't doing anything new: look at the response.

Hip-Hop (for as much as I love it) does this every day. Even if the artist doesn't really hate homosexuals or women, using 'faggot' and 'bitch' is often short-hand for other, more complicated concepts. That's not ideal. Tyler, Earl and company get rid of the pretense. They don't talk about pimping or emasculation in an abstract sense, they rap about the grotesque realities. I think that this is intentional (although I don't believe authorial intent is a good way to measure art) because of their music videos and packaging, which are obviously grotesque and ugly. The video for EARL is like the next level of a Jackass snuff-film, with the crew hurting themselves, dripping blood. Tyler fucking eats a cockroach, throws up, and then hangs himself as he raps in Yonkers. Odd Future is a deliberate response to the hand-wavey shit that Pitchfork types do about Gucci Mane because it's "authentic". Authenticity has its price.

I like acidic's reading of the album as well. It shows the violence and hatred of rapists and homophobes and mocks them, rather than some weird, gothic, macabre celebration like that joke of a minstrel show (and former Pitchfork darlings) Salem.
posted by codacorolla at 6:52 PM on May 17, 2011


acidic, your reading of those two songs does more to interest me in Odd Future than anything else. I still wouldn't want to spend money on it, but the narratives do seem more complex than they sound at first.
posted by harriet vane at 10:24 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


but the narratives do seem more complex than they sound at first.


Which is why it's so dangerous to tread the "OMG DID HE SAY FAGGOT?! EVERYONE STOP LISTENING NAOW!" route.

Perhaps I give people too much credit or perhaps I'm too culturally libertarian, but I personally can handle hearing someone say "fag" without contracting Homophobia. I would expect that others can do the same.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:34 PM on May 17, 2011


True, but I'm not going to listen carefully to every arsehole who shouts 'fag', just in case it turns out they're different from the rest. There's only so much time in the day (she says realising it's time for dinner...)
posted by harriet vane at 4:17 AM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


...and for those of us that have a history of being violently attacked with words like 'fag', we're often not going to stick around and see just how clever the random straight person is being with the word.

Again, regardless of how much depth we can read into it all, there's really not much groundbreaking about angry straight kids toying with ideas of homophobia and misogyny.
Unless Tyler comes out some time soon, this is mostly just juvenile rage posturing with some bachelor-level cleverness.
And no hiding behind the DJ.
posted by Theta States at 5:54 AM on May 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I saw OF when they first came out but never bothered to really listen. I would read their blog, and only randomly listen. Then funny enough I half listened through Goblin but the stuff that is sticking is the guys that are in the same style, but coming after them, like Avion Adramida, and Frankenstein. The former is worth a listen or two but fades. Frankenstein, however, has gems in "The Village" and the title track. The lyrics are bananas. He twists words into lyrical pretzels. - "Now this is something/ A Slick Rick mix, Mc-Lovin'/ a Rik Smits dunkin....
posted by cashman at 12:25 PM on May 18, 2011


About 85% of "Delia's Gone" is about the pleasures of woman killing, including the last verse. A lot of the regret in these songs is like the doctor in one of those old "medical" skin flicks: the wink and nod some people need to enjoy some dirt.

I won't continue the derail past this, but "Delia's Gone" is about an actual event, so no, it's not. Many murder ballads were about actual events-- the CNN of their day, you will: Omie Wise, Poor Ellen Smith, Stagger Lee,
posted by entropicamericana at 12:48 PM on May 18, 2011


About 85% of "Delia's Gone" is about the pleasures of woman killing, including the last verse. A lot of the regret in these songs is like the doctor in one of those old "medical" skin flicks: the wink and nod some people need to enjoy some dirt.

I won't continue the derail past this, but "Delia's Gone" is about an actual event, so no, it's not.


Actually the "documentary based on actual events" trope was, along with the "this film is for educational purposes", a major method of the exploitation films that Bookhouse is talking about. That's why films like Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS are about Nazis torturing people, so that the filmmakers can claim that it has some sort of historical quality rather than simply functioning as pornography. There's a long history in all media of dressing up taboo material with more socially-acceptable trappings to make them seem more legitimate.
posted by burnmp3s at 1:17 PM on May 18, 2011


I won't continue the derail past this, but "Delia's Gone" is about an actual event, so no, it's not.

That doesn't make any sense to me. Source material is irrelevant to the structure of the actual song. Murder ballads being based on actual events has nothing to do with it. One just has to look at the many different versions of "Stagger Lee." The historical antecedents (or even the fact that he takes 90% of the lyrics from a book of African-American folklore) doesn't make Nick Cave's wonderful version of "Stagger Lee" less trashy or offensive (or awesome).
posted by Bookhouse at 1:35 PM on May 18, 2011


I dunno, but he's right fucking awful.

Awesome use of the tuba, though.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:43 PM on May 18, 2011


Sady Doyle weighs in
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:44 PM on May 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've just read this entire thread, and I am sure of only one thing
no one on metafilter understands rap at all
posted by Michael Pemulis at 9:43 AM on May 20, 2011


no one on metafilter understands rap at all

which would explain the multiple posts about odd future

HI-YO
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:49 AM on May 20, 2011


no one on metafilter understands rap at all

hahahaha. awesome.
posted by Theta States at 10:31 AM on May 20, 2011


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