By Rachel Hwang
Many aspects of pop culture, for many different reasons, are completely terrifying.
The fact that the Kardashians earned $56 million last year for generating a bunch of scandals: terrifying. The prospect of Britney Spears having custody: terrifying. Heidi Montag’s plastic surgery: terrifying.
And then there’s the old-fashioned, please-don’t-hurt-me, bump-in-the-night kind of scary. And what do you know, the music industry is selling it. More specifically, the hip-hop/rap world is selling it. I mean, there’s Lady Gaga terrifying (blood and semen scented perfume, “dying on stage”), but I’m pretty sure she’s in a category all her own.
And if you didn’t catch it, a great example of this phenomenon, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (OFWGKTA), made their TV debut last week on the Jimmy Fallon show. These skinny L.A. teenagers may be young, but boy do they know how to leave an impression. And like true avant-garde artists, I am completely confused as to whether that impression was a good one or a bad one. During their performance, they jerk violently and rap angrily on and off a stage adorned inexplicably with lawn gnomes and a costumed Samara. On their albums they sing about violent rape, grizzly murders and in one of their music videos their lead, Tyler, the Creator pantomimes eating and vomiting up a cockroach.
I certainly wouldn’t be the first one to point out that they look, sound and act completely, terrifyingly insane, but I also wouldn’t be the first to point out that they are making huge waves in the hip-hop world, despite their persistent (and characteristic) bashing of a few of the most popular rap blogs. They’re playing Coachella for goodness sake.
I suppose I also shouldn’t be that surprised that they’re making a career out of being objectively scary. I mean, Lil Wanye’s been doing it for ages.
Is it better to be feared or loved? Odd Future shows us the two are not mutual exclusive. I’m afraid we’re veering into S&M territory here. Then again, Odd Future would certainly approve.
Jimmy Fallon performance here.