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KahBang Music Festival Turns Five

Our friends at Maine’s KahBang Festival, which features film and local arts in addition to local and national music, are celebrating their fifth year. This year’s lineup is their biggest yet, featuring Dr. Dog, Earl Sweatshirt, 12th Planet, Paper Diamond, Lights, Lucius, and The Weeks, plus OurStage members/favorites Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, The Bynars, Gentlemen Hall, Mean Creek, Biscuits & Gravy, and Late Cambrian, who first won the opportunity to be at the 2011 edition of KahBang here on OurStage.

The festival will be held, as usual, in Bangor, Maine, and will run from August 8th to the 11th. Check out KahBang.com for more information.

Earl Sweatshirt Releases “Hive” Video

A day after confirming the release information for his forthcoming debut album Odd Future member Earl Sweatshirt has blessed the Internet with a brand new music video.

Teaming up with fellow rising-stars Vince Staples and Casey Veggies, “Hive” finds Earl Sweatshirt returning to the lo-fi beats that helped him find acclaim in the first place. The video features Sweatshirt walking through a haunted house and empty streets filled with monsters on bikes and plenty of awkward performance shots. You can view the video below.

Doris hits stores August 20. Comment below and let us know your thoughts on Sweatshirt’s latest. Continue reading ‘Earl Sweatshirt Releases “Hive” Video’

Earl Sweatshirt Reveals ‘Doris’ Album Details

Odd Future member Earl Sweatshirt has finally unveiled details surrounding the forthcoming release of his debut album.

Hitting shelves August 20th and featuring 15 tracks, Doris is a debut album many years in the making. Ever since Earl emerged as a solo presence at the end of 2011, people have been chomping at the bit for material that has as yet gone unreleased. We’ve heard a few singles, one of which is below, but overall it’s going to be brand new material. In 2013, that’s a rare treat.

Earl Sweatshirt recently canceled all of his European tour dates due to illness, and reports are that he is still under the weather. He is scheduled to perform his North American dates, including a performance at the Rock the Bells 10th anniversary show. We wish him a full recovery soon. Continue reading ‘Earl Sweatshirt Reveals ‘Doris’ Album Details’

Earl Sweatshirt Performs New Song Featuring RZA at MayFest 2013

Odd Future member Earl Sweatshirt has been building hype for his forthcoming album since November, and in recent weeks things have been hitting peak levels. Now video has surfaced online showing the young rapper debuting new material featuring a hip-hop legend, and we have the footage to share with you.

While performing at MayFest 2013 over the weekend, Earl Sweatshirt surprised audience members by debuting a new song featuring Wu-Tang member the RZA. The live cut featured RZA on the hook, but it’s hard to believe that he won’t have a full verse on Doris when it arrives in stores later this year. Click here to view the performance.

Unfortunately, Earl Sweatshirt has yet to give any indication of when Doris will arrive in stores. Our hope is before the end of summer, but it could really be anytime between now and whenever the lab monkeys break out and begin taking over the planet. Hopefully it happens before then, of course, and we’ll let you know as soon as a date is set. Continue reading ‘Earl Sweatshirt Performs New Song Featuring RZA at MayFest 2013′

Tyler, The Creator Performs “Rusty” On Letterman

Just two days after the release of his third album Wolf, Tyler The Creator appeared on Letterman last night to perform “Rusty.”

Joined by Odd Future members Earl Sweatshirt and Domo Genesis, Tyler’s latest late night appearance was one for the history books. Not only did the ODWGKTA members behave themselves while on set, they actually unveiled a bit of choreography for “Rusty.” You can view the performance at the end of this post.

Compared to his previous efforts, Wolf is unquestionably Tyler The Creator’s strongest effort to date. The focus of his lyricism has turned to extreme introversion, and the results is one of the most engaging releases in recent memory. It’s like the musical equivalent to Trainspotting, only written by someone who never touches drugs. Continue reading ‘Tyler, The Creator Performs “Rusty” On Letterman’

Tyler, The Creator’s “Domo 23″ Video

Odd Future‘s Tyler, the Creator has a future in character-based comedy, when this rap fad finally ends. He was pretty hilarious as 53-year-old golf fanatic Thurnis Haley in promos for his album Goblin. And now you can see him as a semi-pro wrestler in his new video for “Domo 23,” the first single from his upcoming album Wolf (April 23). Look for Earl Sweatshirt and Domo Genesis amidst the chaos. And don’t worry, Tyler hasn’t forgotten about golf. You have to admit the dude is pretty brilliant, even if you think is genius is a bit evil. It might surprise you to learn that this clip is NSFW.

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Frank Ocean’s Bisexual Reveal And Reactions From The Hip-Hop World

OFWGKTA R&B singer Frank Ocean has made headlines after opening up about his sexuality and revealing his attraction to both men and women. Rumors regarding the crooner’s sexuality began to fly after a media listening party for his yet to be released debut LP, Channel Orange. Blogger This Is Max was the first to note intriguging word choices in the R&B crooners lyrics, reporting that, “On the songs ‘Bad Religion’ ‘Pink Matter and ‘Forrest Gump’ you can hear him sing about being in love and there are quite obvious words used like ‘him’ and not ‘her’.” After two days of media spectulation, Ocean posted a excerpt from the liner notes of  Channel Orange to address the issue. “4 summers ago I met somebody,” Ocean wrote. “I was 19 years old. He was too… By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant.”

The response to Ocean’s self-outing has been nearly universally positive from the hip-hop community at large, both fans and artists alike. In a statement posted on GlobalGrind, media mogul Russell Simmons called Ocean “courageous,” saying, “Frank, we thank you. We support you. We love you.”

Many rappers took to twitter to express support and for the R&B singer. Solange Knowles wrote “I salute you, brave soul. Independence Day. @frank_ocean” Mac Miller also chimed in as well, tweeting, “frank ocean is very important for the growth of humanity.” Fellow members of Odd Future also commented on the matter. Earl Sweatshirt posted that he was simply, “Proud of Frank.” And OF mastermind Tyler, The Creator had a predictably light hearted and absurd reaction to the news regarding Ocean, saying,”My Big Brother Finally Fucking Did That. Proud Of That Nigga Cause I Know That Shit Is Difficult Or Whatever. Anyway. Im A Toilet.” The outpouring of support is all the more notable considering the historic and ongoing associations between hip-hop and homophobia.

Listen to the first single from Channel Orange, “Pyramids,” below.

Tyler, The Bizarre, Talented, Offensive, Genius, Divisive Creator

He’s been attacked by gay and women’s rights groups, defended by music bloggers, edited by writers who would presume to tell an artist how to create their work. He’s incited riots on rooftops and been arrested for disturbing the peace. He’s been described as a visionary, an obnoxious teen, a genius and a sexist homophobe. Only one thing is certain—Tyler, the Creator is a phenomenon. Still, we find ourselves wondering what exactly is it about this guy and the rest of the Odd Future collective that gets everyone so riled up. Isn’t he using the same schtick that catapulted Wu Tang Clan into stardom in the nineties? Aren’t his rape fantasies oddly reminiscent of Eminem’s murder fantasies circa 2000? What’s going on here?

The most important element of Tyler’s popularity is undoubtedly his charisma, and he has it in spades. His devil-may-care attitude towards what he says is oddly endearing, and he can get away with being completely ridiculous and spontaneous because he knows that the critics will love him no matter what. After all, when you can use the line, “Rape a pregnant b***h and tell my friends I had a threesome/You got a f*****g death wish, I’m a genie it’ll get done,” you can pretty much get away with anything. He’s also clever when it comes to marketing—actually running his Thurnis Haley Golf Wang spoof on the Golf Channel. In spite of ourselves, we find that we’re amused more and more by each Odd Future meme and video clip that pops up. (Have you seen “Grandma Reads Tyler, The Creator’s Tweets”? Gold.)

Tyler is also highly offensive, and that’s historically been a great way to drum up some chatter. (We’d include some more of his lyrics here, but we’d rather not repulse you and there’s only a certain amount of asterisks a person can use in a blog post without looking stupid.) Sara Quin of the indie folk duo Tegan and Sara was the first person of note to call him out on this last week. “The more I think about it, the more I think people don’t actually want to go up against this particular bully because he’s popular,” she writes. “Who sticks up for women and gay people now? It seems entirely uncool to do so in the indie rock world, and I’ll argue that point with ANYONE.” You can read her full letter here; it’s wordy but incredibly well-written—much more so than Tyler’s Twitter response: “If Tegan And Sara Need Some Hard Dick, Hit Me Up!” Wow. Homophobic and sexist in less than 140 characters.

Sara has a point when she writes that critics don’t take on Tyler because he’s well-liked. And we agree that it kind of sucks that he rose to fame thanks to sexism and homophobia. But to be clear, his act is just that: an act. He’s not the first artist to write horrorcore songs, and he won’t be the last. It may seem like a lame defense, but it’s an important distinction. Tyler is—or at least claims to be—straight edge, so even his raps about drug use are just part of the fantasy. Plus he’s only twenty, and last time we checked twenty-year-olds are notorious for disregarding consequences and speaking without thinking.

And putting out this kind of letter less than a week after the release of Goblin? That’s only going to help the album surpass the 50,000 mark it reached in its first seven days. Because there’s one other reason Tyler is blowing up right now: he’s talented. Very talented. Like, we’ll find ourselves unabashedly putting “Yonkers” on repeat. The album-spanning conversation with his therapist packs a punch despite their lack of fanfare, laid over beats that are simple, often almost barren. We’d argue that he isn’t on par with most of the members of Wu Tang Clan; in fact, he may not even be the most talented rapper in Odd Future. But Tyler is the group’s obvious leader, and with Earl Sweatshirt hidden away at boarding school, he’s stepped into the role with more than enough swag. Despite a few similarities to those rappers who paved the way for his collective, he maintains that aura of being an original, something fresh, something we haven’t quite seen before.

So what’s the consensus here? It’s tough to wade through all the B.S. since every blogger with a keyboard and a set of speakers has an opinion—often a very strong one—regarding Tyler and the rest of the Odd Future gang. But whether he’s just a flash in the pan or busy carving out a permanent role in the scene, we guarantee you’ll be hearing a lot about him for a while. For now, we’re content to sit back and enjoy the chaos that surrounds these Californians and their crazy music. And we’ll continue to justify Odd Future’s place on our iPods with the NPR feature “Why You Should Listen to the Rap Group Odd Future, Even Though It’s Hard.”

 


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