Of the mega rap group, Odd Future’s leader, Tyler Okonma AKA Tyler, the Creator is jailed until likely bailed out for $3,500, for inviting a riot while performing on a third scheduled occasion at this year’s SXSW (South by Southwest). The annual Austin, TX music fest and conference brings in over 10,000 year to year, a number that has seriously grown since 1987. Police officers report he motioned twice for the crowd to force their way forward. A misdemeanor in Texas, the fracas did not go without a woman having to be protected by a bartender in order to prevent injury.
Radio.com’s Jeremy D. Larson reports he saw the same Tyler, the Creator-invited riot at SXSW in 2012. Whether or not the venue had learned from the previous happening, Odd Future‘s music represents clashing of cultures as is. Via his debut non-self released blowout 2011 single which as of today holds over 66 million YouTube views, “Yonkers,” on XL’s Goblin, Okonma claims the song is a conversation between himself and his alter ego, Wolf Haley.
With “The Creator’s” success from Goblin, came a lot of publicity and a push for zanier music. Okonma’s initial album was embraced by music fans and critics alike, earning eight out of ten ratings by top music reviewers like Spin, PopMatter’s and Pitchfork Media. Goblin peaked at number five on the Billboard 200 and landed first on Billboard’s Independent Albums and Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums. For over three months, XL celebrated chart time. The follow-up 2013 album, Wolf, this time by Odd Future Records charted on the Billboard 200 as high as number three.
With precision, a stigma has been fostered by music written, produced and performed by Tyler, the Creator and mates like Earl Sweatshirt, Hodgy Beats (who Larson also noted as an instigator, starting a verbal brawl with a woman on the street non-ironically at this year’s SXSW). Tyler, the Creator opposer, Hopsin, a rapper who carries the same minor note, is maybe one the few stars in this realm testing a different direction, called out the rap industry the year after Okonma’s rise to fame in a postlude single to the song in which he dissed Tyler the Creator, “Ill Mind of Hopsin 5,”
“They only in it for cheese . . . they only making the innocent weak . . . Yo, we need to make a change while there’s still time. It is hard, and sometimes I struggle trying to reveal mine.”
Artists like Hopsin and Tyler, the Creator continue to create characters who fanatics respond to. Add further visual content (they both direct music videos), lyrics, live performance, collaborators and dandy-dirty beats, the results are a guarantee. Pump up the jams with for a crowd and one witnesses Odd Future de facto poster son, Tyler, the Creator issuing a riot at a packed music fest like South by Southwest.
Although SXSW, like any mega-festival, sees its unfortunate allowance of misdemeanor-plus activity year to year, the event is not meant to promote this kind of behavior, nor is it this way by nature. Via SXSW’s history section on their main website, their mantra goes as followed,
“SXSW’s original goal was to create an event that would act as a tool for creative people and the companies they work with to develop their careers, to bring together people from a wide area to meet and share ideas. That continues to be the goal today whether it is music, film or interactive technologies.”
Faithful contributors and attendees of South by Southwest this year have endured troubles. Okonma’s actions are not in the same light as the awful drunk car crash on Thursday where two were killed and 23 injured. For SXSW to experience a riot embraced by Odd Future’s Tyler, the Creator, this is not a sign of where the music scene is headed, but merely a moment in history to reflect and step back on an objective level. The growth and success Austin has seen annually from the music and other creative ventures of SXSW Cares, Eco, Film and Interactive alike should demonstrate a culture that fosters endless positive possibilities in the arts.
By Luke B. Osicka