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April 27, 2011  | by: Kerri O'Malley

Tyler the Creator & Odd Future Welcome the Industry

The new kids on the block, Odd Future, have been receiving an unending stream of hype from every source, but now the fresh-faced, foul-mouthed rappers have reached a new level of legitimacy (if not power) with the creation of their own record label, Odd Future Records.

Pitchfork reports that Odd Future will be pairing with RED Distribution/Sony to make this magic happen and cites Odd Future’s manager Chris Clancy as saying:

“They will have 100% creative control of all aspects of their music, art, and release schedule with no 3rd party participation in outside business…RED and Sony know that it’s in everyone’s best interest to maintain the group’s authenticity and control. They built it, they deserve it. There’s no cheesy hooks or fluorescent liquor product placements in the works.. It’s about to be fun…and different.”

In this new deal, all of Odd Future’s members and their different projects will be included, from Tyler the Creator to Frank Ocean to Hodgy Beats to the possible re-emergence of Earl Sweatshirt.  Where it seemed before that different acts under the Odd Future umbrella might be auctioned off to a variety of labels, this step would keep the crew together.

Odd Future at the Woodie Awards

The really amazing part of this whole story is the fact that Sony is willing to grant Odd Future that kind of creative freedom so quickly.  These boys haven’t been on the scene that long.  It seems like Odd Future is doing to music what the similarly muddled (yet brilliant) minds of the New Hollywood movement did to movies.  Not only does it look like a revolution is on its way, something even more significant is happening: the big wigs are running scared.

We already know that the music industry is helpless in the face of the Internet.  Study after study reveals that music’s top dogs are terrified about the recent drop in revenue and have no idea where to turn.  Suddenly, Odd Future has emerged with a huge following based entirely off of Internet promotion.  It seems they are not afraid.  Clueless as to why these barely-legal skate-punk hip-hoppers have made such waves, the industry has relented, giving them everything they could ever want.  It’s Dennis Hopper and Easy Rider all over again.  But where is it headed?

No doubt, fears of “selling out” will abound among the too-hip-to-do-anything-but-quit crowd.  But for Tyler and the rest of Odd Future, I got a feeling minting some money out of this isn’t going to be a moral dilemma: it’s going to be awesome.

And while it may seem impossible to imagine these hip-hop juvenile delinquents running a label, it really will be business as usual.  The group so far has self-promoted, self-produced, and self-distributed the majority of their products, mostly available via their blog.  Anything less than their own label would leave these kids hungry for more involvement.  They may be the bad boys of rap, but their antics can’t hide the group’s savvy.

Besides, Tyler the Creator already does a really great impression of an adult, right?

Tyler’s new album, Goblin, drops on May 10 through a one-time deal with XL.  No news yet on what Odd Future Records’ first release will be, but with Odd Future in charge, it’s bound to be unbelievable.

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