Tyler the Creator may not be to everyones taste and he is certainly not a stranger to breaking the law, but his creation of a riot at SXSW has landed him in trouble with the law. Again. Tyler, real name Tyler Gregory Okonwa, is co-founder of the “alternative” hip hop collective known as Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All or OFWGKTA or Odd Future and he is the acknowledged leader.
The 23 year-old rapper and record producer has also had his fair share of controversy. With charges of racism and being misogynistic, one criticism of the Goblin states that rape is the primary theme of Goblin and another points out that the word b*tch is used over 68 times on the track Tyler certainly does not follow the “straight and narrow.”
Charges of homophobia have also dogged the entertainer despite his coming to the defence of Odd Future performer, and songwriter, Frank Ocean when it was revealed that Ocean had a relationship with another man. On top of these long running issues, in 2013 Tyler had a commercial for Mountain Dew pulled from television by PepsiCo because of complaints of racism.
Tyler the Creator may have created a riot at the SXSW festival in Austin, which resulted in his arrest, but he has been in legal trouble at least once before. In 2011, the rapper was arrested in West Hollywood during a show at the Roxy Theater. On December 22, he was charged with vandalizing sound equipment that belonged to the venue.
At the time of his arrest at the Sunset Strip club, there was almost a riot when fans in the crowd outside the Roxy Theater rushed the arresting deputies. Backup was called for and the crowd was eventually dispersed, although Sunset Boulevard was closed down for the duration of the incident.
As for the South by Southwest festival disturbance, witnesses say that the Odd Future leader shouted to a crowd of people to push past venue employees who were keeping them out of an overcrowded performance. One bartender at the venue said that he had to rescue a woman who was nearly trampled by the rushing crowd.
According to the arrest warrant for Tyler the creator he actually incited the crowd twice. An official police video shows the unruly group bursting through a gate at the Austin Scoot Inn. The performer was arrested later at the Austin-Bergstrom Airport and law enforcement officials said that Tyler did not cause any problems.
The Austin Police Department released a statement saying that this type of “unruly and unlawful” behaviour would not be tolerated and that it was against the law, as Tyler found out. The illegal act is a misdemeanor and if he is convicted the performer could face up to a year in jail and a fine of $4,000. After his arrest, the entertainer’s bond was set at $3,500.
Tyler the Creator may have created a riot at Austin’s SXSW festival, but his publicist has not commented on the charge that the entertainer faces. Odd Future, and its leader, has had negative publicity affect them in the past. The collective were refused travel visas to New Zealand in February this year because of the 2011 arrest in West Hollywood. It is pretty likely that this latest incident will not result in the country rethinking their position on Tyler and the collective visiting anytime soon.
By Michael Smith