Last Saturday night, Camp Flog Gnaw took over Los Angeles’ Exposition Park. Four years in existence, the festival has transformed from Odd Future fan appreciation to something that may remind rap heads of Rock The Bells. Almost every aspect of Hip Hop found representation in some capacity. Watching Mac Miller, Vince Staples, Danny Brown, YG, Atmosphere, A$AP Rocky, Snoop Dogg alongside the Tyler, The Creator and the gang presented just enough variety. However, I was there to witness Hodgy Beats essentially give probably one of the most subversive update on Odd Future since this tweet in May:
although its no more, those 7 letters are forever.
— Tyler, The Creator (@fucktyler) May 28, 2015
Of course, Hodgy had already announced the end of MellowHype earlier this year. The news essentially made Syd the Kyd and Matt Martians’ soul outlet The Internet the last surviving offshoot related to OF. And just to think, the West Coast collective seemed unstoppable several years back following the breakout release of The Odd Future Tape in 2008. This was around the time Casey Veggies was considered an original member along with Hodgy, Left Brain and several others. Every year between 2008 and 2011, the collective’s upper rankings turned into a three-headed beast once Earl Sweatshirt and Frank Ocean joined. By then, those Wu-Tang comparisons started to emerge. Nearly every member really started to come into their own as a solo artist. For most loyal fans of OFWGKTA, Bastard, Earl and Nostalgia Ultra were real, pivotal moments. While Tyler held ground as the group’s de-facto-leader, Sweatshirt’s mother shipped Earl overseas to a behavioral rehabilitation camp is Samoa and Ocean grew into R&B’s reluctant hero. All felt right with the world.
The first sign of trouble in paradise came in 2014 when Ocean fired both his publicist and management over his short-lived beef with Chipotle. Meanwhile, Tyler essentially revealed that he hadn’t worked with Sweatshirt in over a year and the two weren’t “as close.” Fast forward to this year and both emcee/producers released individual projects. Cherry Bomb and I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside: An Album by Earl Sweatshirt were nice individual flourishes, but lacked the camaraderie of each other’s voices. Compared to their previous albums, neither made appearances outside of Sweatshirt’s effort featuring background vocals from Tyler on “Off Top.” Once a seemingly strong unit, OF really seemed to be on their own private islands. Interestingly enough, Tyler made an appearance on The Internet’s third full-length album Ego Death. For a group whose individual projects always featured at least one other member from the collective, not seeing that currently is almost troubling.
Besides Tyler, The Internet were the only initial OF group hitting the main Camp stage. Everyone from Hodgy to Mike G were at the smaller Flog stage opening up for A$AP Rocky and Jhene Aiko. Their placement in the line-up nearly felt like afterthoughts simply to appease day-one fans. As Camp Flog Gnaw transitioned into a serious contender for the best music festival Los Angeles can offer, its stance as The Odd Future Carnival is only in unofficial name only. Fans hoping for a full-on reunion may have to hope for the future. Right now, Odd Future isn’t the same punk inspired group of kids who set a blueprint for DIY mentality in Hip Hop. Their youthful energy kept everything including their production, visual aesthetic, merchandise and creative direction all in-house. Their online presence was something to behold as well. The entire music industry wanted a piece of OF and their middle finger toward the establishment made them even more appealing. Most importantly, they added another dynamic to West Coast Hip Hop which was then fairly stagnant as everyone from TDE and YG were still in their infancy stages. These individuals are grown adults who’ve had a better run than artists twice their age.