Tag Archives: odd future


I love contemporary hip-hop. I love the tweet alerted, spur-of-the-moment instant fix that eliminated your boy in the States having the hookup. If you’re a late-to-bed European, you’re pretty much privy to the next thing at exactly the same time as your brothers across the Atlantic. Rap got globalised. Of course, some would criticise the fast food nature of projects as the boundaries between mixtape and album (do people even make “street albums” any more?) blur and touring makes the money. To stay on top of what’s dropping is a challenge, but in 2011, its been amusing to see the same rap download blogs that once delighted in goading the lumbering major labels stumbling when it comes to the next wave.

Odd Future made the majority (Hypetrak, Madbury and Street Etiquette aside) look pretty vacant when it came to their work and team A$AP were another crew that caught them sleeping. Where next? Is Chicago’s King Louie the next to instigate a mass late pass hand out? Now Tyler’s only got to Run His Mouth On Twitter in jest and it’s a multiple blog headline in the lust for greasy talk and its consequences. How relevant is the hip-hop blog if these guys can handle their own tweet, WordPress and Tumblr mouthpieces for people who like to call themselves cultural curators (I prefer the term press release regurgitator) to reassemble?

The only regret for me is the lack of joy in a brand name check nowadays. I blame Lupe Fiasco. Once, to see an item beyond the usual high-end boast brand, oversized Avirex, XXXL Source ad fodder (word to Maurice Malone) or utilitarian military or re-appropriated logger yard surplus was a startling moment that was genuinely memorable. Kanye in Supreme in ‘Vibe’ circa 2003 (posted on this blog a while back) was unexpected. Retro killed the interesting shoe mentions (Nore’s “Yo, I loved the Bo Jackson’s, the orange and blue…” Air Trainer SC reference on ‘I Love My Life’ was one of the last truly great sneaker namedrops, but Wale mentioning as many Jordan retros as possible doesn’t count, because that’s just a tactic to keep him on seeding lists) and streetwear lines on a rapper’s back have gone far beyond Nas’s Crooks & Castles namecheck and ALIFE’s excellent patio party projects to become ubiquitous.

Now, every Sendspace MC and his crew are Supreme down, but it’s more humorous that Supreme gear might be at the core of the OFWGKTA/A$AP static. Long before Mac Miller could cover ‘Billboard’ without a major label, we spent money on big plastic discs that usually consisted of the following — white MCs self-consciously trying to out psycho each other (the fathers of today’s breed of white rappers who pull lots of funny faces and act self-consciously jokey on WSHH interviews or rap about goblins and secret caves to nobody but the disparate band of characters who still frequent UGHH) or some Tribe-lite jazz rap that aged horribly.

The majority of my 1996-1998 indy rap purchases are gathering dust, unless I encounter a sudden urge to spend an hour listening to wearying Mike Zoot twelves, but there’s exceptions. The goonier, Premier-endorsed no-label dudes who never got round to a full length album, anything Mike Heron affiliated and the works of Non Phixion, who made conscious ignorance an artform and tore out the backpack bracket through sheer aggression. ‘The Future Is Now’ was an obsession of mine from the moment I got an internet connection at home.

Company Flow fit in here somewhere, but I have to concede that their Norris McWhirter with a stopwatch, syllable and simile-cramming hasn’t aged quite as well with me beyond ‘8 Steps To Perfection.’ Despite that, supported by ‘Ego Trip’s glorious mix of metal and hardcore, tunnel bangers and grimy obscure label support plus frequent plugs for a certain 274 Lafayette Street institution, Company Flow’s Bigg Jus wore the Supreme box logo back in 1997 for that middle-fingered ‘Independent as fuck’ press shot (though, with Murdoch money at Rawkus, I’m still waiting for Kool G Rap to testify at the Leveson inquiry) and it made an impression on me as I harassed Bond and Dr Jives by phone in the quest for a tee.

Ill Bill’s Supreme 1999 box cap with the Swedish-looking camo mixed with hood basics like Timbs and vast Iceberg denim for a Ricky Powell shoot (circa 2001?) that appears in ‘The Future Is Now’ (the “goons at Supreme” even get a thank-you) captured Supreme’s hood/skate/top-tier straddling appeal. It’s a notable moment in the union of rappers and skatewear (though almost a decade earlier, Y’all So Stupid, who’d later crop up for the indie boom as Mass Influence in Vans and FUCT on the Pharcyde’s art direction represented a strong left coast aesthetic). I wonder how some of the now-forgotten old JanSport guard would have fared with current DIY infrastructures in place — would they thrive in the MP3 market, or cave under the relentless mixtape workload expectations?

On the subject of backpack-rap, there’s more backpack talk in the second part of the piece I wrote for the homie Frank. There’s something similar on Forums coming too for those who care about that kind of thing and understand the power of that shoe.

Big up the Germans too. Because I have the sense of direction of a post thunderstorm feline, I couldn’t make it to the Arc’teryx press meetup this morning, but I did wander the Gerhard Richter exhibition at the Tate Modern listening to Juicy J and the new Vado before heading to a meeting with some German associates. I’m large on the Straße. On that subject, shouts to the circular knit types at Merz b. Schwanen who are creating loopwheeled cotton treats in Germany as part of a brand founded exactly 100 years ago but recently revived and whose style 221 button border shirts come Cabourn approved.

And big up Criterion and Janus for restoring Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1973 sci-fi flick ‘World On a Wire.’ The DVD and Blu-ray, with Sam Smyth (who also drums for Ben Folds) — the man behind some outstanding Criterion cover and poster design — responsible for the artwork. It drops in February 2012.


If you’ve ever watched Mitsuo Yanagimachi’s awesome 1976 documentary ‘God Speed You! Black Emperor,’ depicting one of the least scary biker gangs ever committed to documentary (I didn’t spot any drug use at all and there’s little more than verbal conflict), you may have marveled at the soundtrack. The Bōsōzoku evidently knew a good tune. Shinsuke Takizawa and team Neighborhood were evidently taking notes (note the swastikas in the film too, probably worn as a throwback to US bikers trying to piss everyone else off rather than a sign of outright Nazism).

I’d recommend it as a double bill with the bleak early BBC ’80s Brit gang documentary depiction. ‘The Outcasts’ or full effect — both are available online at time-of-blogging. I’ve been trying to work out what the track is when our young rebel picks up his bike and goes riding with a friend is — it’s an infectious fuzzy stomping record with an almost traditional vocal performance between choruses.

There’s no soundtrack to the film and even arch unearthers of oddities like Andy Votel had to resort to taping the songs from the VHS. The language barrier doesn’t make the quest any easier, especially when I’ve used Google Translator to discover that even Japanese fans are having problems identifying songs. It doesn’t sound like a Flower Travellin’ Band record and the vocals don’t seem to fit with the Anzen Band either. I’ve revisited Julien Cope’s ‘Japanrocksampler’ numerous times for a solution, but I’m still stuck. Anyway, the audio of the mystery record’s below and it’s here because I’ve been humming it all day and it’s somehow familiar yet utterly otherworldy at the same time.

I doubt I’ll revisit the majority of my 1993 tapes or CDs, just because most of them were filler-tastic, they replaced too many an “s” with a “z” and because they were — in the perceived era of orginality — very, very generic. Rasps and iggety-wiggety wordplay-aplenty. I still break out Yall So Stupid’s ‘Van Full of Pakistans’ — an album we had to whisper about at school, lest we were misinterpreted and beaten to a pulp from time to time — because it was a pretty consistent record and because the crew sounded dusted without being New Kingdom or Justin Warfield. Dallas Austin made some strange signings. These guys? Illegal? Da King & I? Fair play Mr. Austin, fair play. Well, maybe not on Da King & I.

These Atlanta residents wore Vans and early ’90s skatewear, plus they had Glen E. Friedman doing their photography. By all rights, today’s hipsters should have had a seizure over this one. Except they hadn’t been born yet. And there weren’t blogs yet. My tape had these idiots on the A-side of the tape until I bought the real deal, making it a pretty schizophrenic TDK. Merge Yall So Stupid with Gangsta Nip and you’ve got Odd Future. Kind of. After getting dropped, the group made some noise (Massinfluence were interesting) but Wikipedia claims a follow up to ‘Van Full of Pakistans’ is coming. Really? After 18 years? I imagine they could fill a stadium in Japan or some such madness.

Once upon a time, only the Pharcyde and Yall So Stupid seemed to wear Vans. Then Lil B and his Pack buddies turned up and swagged it out.

Speaking to the homie Sofarok the other day, we both seemed to find ourselves gawping at the same website on the same weekend – Mystery Ranch. Dana Gleason’s backpack brand was born in 2000, but he’s got 30 years in the game, and his site’s excellent. US-made (they’re based in Bozeman, MT), rigorously tested and guaranteed for life, the range is extensive, there’s enough optional extras to keep equipment geeks happy and military and fire personnel safe. I love well-designed, functional, aesthetically pleasing gear like this. It’s far from rustic or folksy. Now THIS is what a fucking video lookbook should look like

My respect for BNTL (Better Never Than Late) is substantial. They do the socialising so I don’t have to. Who would have thought it? Bloggers that actually have lives beyond the monitor. In terms of content creation and plenty of opinion, they bring it. They’ve been putting it down for a while too.

I was skeptical when I heard about the Silas store opening in London yesterday. I loved Holmes and Silas. They hark back to a time when Zoo York, Supreme, Silas and Shorty’s seemed to be on the same level in terms of my obsession. Silas did great graphics, non-tokenistic womenswear and focused on shirting and knitwear before every fucker was a self-proclaimed expert. Then Silas pissed off to Japan. Tonite, Slam City, Pointer and latterly, Palace kept the old school Silas feel alive. Slam and Palace even seemed to be using the same tee and sweat suppliers that they used to.

I was concerned that the relaunch would be estranged from the Slam family origins, but this image (FROM BNTL’S COVERAGE OF THE OPENING) shows a nifty little collaboration trade on the Slam City and Silas logos. Looking forward to seeing it in the flesh…