Ten Rap Songs You Need To Hear – Number Seven

7. Tyler The Creator – Bastard

Who – Tyler The Creator is the ridiculously talented youth that is part of (I believe he is the founder of…) the Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (OFWGKTA) collective. OFWGKTA are a collective of hip-hop acts out of LA. Notably, the group is quite young, with the age range being something like 16-21.

Tyler The Creator released one of the groups first records – Bastard.  He produces, raps, creates videos and even does album artwork.

Why –  Well I will start off by warning you – this music isn’t for the faint of heart.  The subject matter ,while tongue in cheek ,does still touch on subjects like rape, killing and drugs.  They have been labeled “horrorcore” in the past, but I don’t personally think that does their music justice.  This seems much more comedically subversive than meant to horrify.

There is also a Wu-Tang like feel from these guys.  I am not comparing them to Wu Tang who is a personal favorite, but there are some parallels.  The whole idea of the collective to begin with.  OFWGKTA also has a similar lo-fi sound and they handle everything in house.  They produce, rap and even do the album artwork themselves.

This music is not the most accessible on my list. If you can handle the lo-fi slightly abstract production and the subject matter doesn’t turn you off then I suggest checking it out.  There is a LOT of buzz about these kids right now, and for that they deserve a spot on this list.  So much buzz in fact, that their recent show in New York was apparently full of a who’s who of a&r’s. I expect we will be hearing a lot about these guys in the future.

The Song –   This is the opening and title track to Tyler’s full length debut.  It starts off with Tyler giving a “shout out” to some popular hip-hop bloggers.  Apparently he isn’t a big  “Nah Right” fan,  The song doesn’t really kick in until about the 40 second mark.

Some pretty ominous piano strings drop, with a gravelly voiced Tyler dropping his opening bars:

This is what the Devil plays before he goes to sleep/
Some food for thought, this food for death, go ‘head and fucking eat/
My Fathers dead, why I don’t know, well never fucking meet/

You can get an idea of what the subject matter of this song is.  There is actually a kind of early Eminem feel to the song.  It is dark, maybe overly so for some and it is meant to shock.

Another interesting part of this whole collective of MCs is that they are quite self aware and are almost an anti-hero for the current rap generation.  Again much like Wu-Tang was kind of an answer to shiny suit rap, these kids are the antithesis of what is popular right now.  I think this stray line from the song touches on that:

I created OF because I feel we are more talented than 40 year old rappers talking about Gucci

The beat is very lo-fi, and minimalistic.  The piano keys are paired with some synths and organ sounds.  Not much else on the beat, and that kind of adds to the dark feel of the song.

This is probably the least accessible song on my list, but it belongs here.  OFWGKTA is getting a lot of buzz right now. Considering everything they have accomplished at such an early age, they are likely going to be much talked about in the following year.

Extras:

This is a song by Tyler’s brother Earl Sweatshirt. Once again, I am have nothing to do with their message or lyrics, but maybe don’t play this at work or in front of your kids 🙂



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