Odd Future is scheduled to play at Pitchfork this weekend to the delight of fans and the dismay of local domestic violence groups. Their performance is sure to alight mixed emotions in Chicago; critics and fans are hailing the band as the “next big thing of their generation” while domestic violence groups have voiced concern over the group’s violent lyrics towards women.
Over the past year, Odd Future has made a name for itself with its intense hip hop beat, shock-value lyrics, and strong underground following. The group rejects any attempts at critics to define their music and they don’t bother to try to defend their hateful lyrics towards women. In typical 19-year-old fashion they “do what they want.”
Yet domestic violence groups in Chicago are quick to point out that Odd Futures fantasy raps are a reality for many women in Chicago. In order to remind festival goers of these realities, the d.v. group Between Friends will be handing out over 5,000 fans over the weekend with a list of resources for women who have experience violence. The group raised $1,700 in two weeks for the campaign and will now have a booth inside Pitchfork.
“We do respect the fact that they [Pitchfork producers] have the right to have the music that they feel people are interested in at their fest,” says Between Friends Programs Director Yesenia Maldonado. “But we’d like to make sure that they have the resources available while they’re there. This is a huge venue and we really want for people who haven’t heard these shocking lyrics—maybe they’re coming for another band and this is the first time they’ll be hearing [Odd Future]—we want to make sure that we let them know that this is something that we’re taking notice of, and we really want to get the other view out there as much as possible.”
There is something about blaringly different Odd Future that makes critics rush to proclaim them the next big thing, each critic trying to up the anty with hyperbolic predictions of Odd Future becoming the voice of a generation (obviously ignoring half of the future generation that would not like to be violently raped). They praise the harsh lyrics of rape and violence as an expression of naïve youth and assume because people can’t understand it, it must be new and good.
Even those critics who are critical of the band, always seem to end on an apology, as if it is their fault they don’t love the narrative of repeated violence against women. Although most will agree Odd Future has the right to exist and be produced, it is also important that the group be honestly critiqued and reviewed, glorified AND condemned.
Personally although I accept Odd Future’s right to make music, I think their music sucks and I have no desire to listen to a 20-year-olds fucked up fantasy about rape that is all too imaginative for him and all too real for many women. I think it is unhealthy for this to be proclaimed the voice of a generation when it is clearly only the fantasy of a few.
Odd Future gives one voice of a generation and groups like Between Friends are thankfully giving the other, to show the realities of domestic violence in our world. I for one am happy at least someone is willing to stand up and say this music is crap.
Check out an interview with Pitchfork founders here: http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-05-02/pitchfork-odd-future-endorsing-rape-or-showcasing-art-85888