ODD FUTURE

From VMAN’s Winter 2011/12 issue, VMAN 24 The Decades Issue

THE BEST OF MUSIC 2011: TYLER THE CREATOR AND ODD FUTURE

FROM A NEW CULT IDOL TO A PHILOSOPHER OF POP, TO AN ALBUM ABOUT ALIENS, TO HIP HOP’S GOLDEN ANTIHERO—THIS YEAR’S SOUNDTRACK WAS WINSOME, WEIRD, OTHERWORLDLY, AND WHATEVER

Text Patrik Sandberg
Photography Terry Richardson

There is perhaps no artist this year for whom fame and notoriety came more quickly and more prodigiously—short of Rebecca Black—than Tyler the Creator. But he doesn’t really give a shit. When asked how he felt upon winning this year’s MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist, Tyler placidly states, “It was one of the worst days of my life. It sucked. It was a whatever day.” After an uncomfortable pause fills a space of several seconds over the phone, during which one can’t help but wonder if he’s referring to the award or the epic fall he took from the stage upon his celebratory exit, he offers, “I don’t really care about that kind of thing. I wasn’t, like, excited.” So what was the most exciting thing that happened to Tyler in 2011? “The craziest thing that happened,” he says, “was every ‘thing’ that happened.”

His refusal to smile and issue canned anecdotes with the usual manufactured enthusiasm is quite possibly what helped earn him his aforementioned award, which he won for his song “Yonkers” (from his breakout album Goblin). The clip ends with an arresting scene in which he kills himself via hanging.

In fact, his marked disregard for political correctness (GLAAD all but demands his head on a stick) and meta-Cobain disaffection toward his own success add up to one of the most refreshing public displays of behavior by a celebrity in ages. He seems puzzled at the fact that he has a publicist at all. When Jeff Tremaine, the producer of Loiter Squad—the forthcoming Adult Swim TV series centered on Tyler and his hip hop collective, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (or OFWGKTA, for short)—mentions how weird it is that they have “all these hipster fans,” Tyler reasons, “People like music.” So what has Tyler been listening to? “Gloria Estefan.” How did Odd Future land this new series on Adult Swim? “I don’t remember.” How was shooting with Terry Richardson? “Fun.”

Tyler’s voice grows more animated than it’s been through the entire conversation when he asks, “Is this interview done yet? I want to go upstairs and hang out with my friends.”

PHOTO ASSISTANT MARK CHAMPION
RETOUCHING BRIAN ZIEGLER
LOCATION MILK STUDIOS LOS ANGELES
SPECIAL THANKS HEATHCLIFF BERRU, DANIELLE RAFANAN, ALY CAYER