Odd Future's Domo Genesis on hip hop's ambiguity

Odd Future is a mischievous seven
Brick Stowell

If Eminem was sent from Detroit to start pissing the world off, Los Angeles rap collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All is here to finish the deed. So much of the success behind Odd Future's scurrilous hallway jokes has come from their ability to get a rise out of people. In a sense, they're hip hop's Black Flag.

Take the hype surrounding the bizarre spectacle that is the group's video for "Rella," the first single off their upcoming The Odd Future Tape Vol. 2, due March 20. It's a puzzling universe where centaurs snort coke, mascots make out with each other, and women change ethnicity when slapped. Like most zany OF projects, it leaves people at once offended, flabbergasted, and impressed.

Those inclined to feel those three emotions in a live setting can do so on Tuesday when these Odd folks perform at First Avenue. The group's sketch comedy show, Loiter Squad, debuts on Adult Swim later this month, as well.

Just before the kids left for tour, City Pages got on the phone with Domo Genesis, their resident pothead, to talk about hitting women, Katy Perry, and recording an MTV Unplugged. Yes, we asked him about the notorious return of Earl Sweatshirt, and no "he can't speak on that, man."

City Pages: Let's talk about the "Rella" video. There's a lot of surreal stuff going on there, some might say grotesque. Is this a conscious decision to make stuff to rankle the mainstream?

Domo Genesis: We just did stuff that we find funny and that we like. Yeah, it's controversial, but it's not a thing we sat and thought of, like, "Oh this is gonna make people mad." No, we didn't do that. We're not trolls. [Laughs]

CP: But you're the one who hits the girl in the video, right?

DG: Yeah, that's me.

CP: You had to know that that would piss some people off. You just thought it'd be funny?

DG: I thought it would be funny to smack a black girl and she turned Asian. [Laughs].

CP: Do you care if people are offended?

DG: I don't know if people really got offended by that, but if they did, I'm sorry. It was just a video. Don't take it that serious.

CP: Zooming out to the big picture, there have been protests and stuff like that. Does that bother you?

DG: Not really. There's always gonna be people that don't like your stuff. There's just as many people who don't like it as people who do, so it balances out. If we have something as controversial as that video, we're all gonna hear something about it. Someone's not gonna like it.

CP: So do you think that hip hop inherently should be that divisive?

DG: I don't know...I don't even know what hip hop is anymore. [Laughs] It just doesn't have a certain face or image anymore. There are so many new and different things and it's changed over the years. It used to be about gangsta raps and lyricism. But there's a lot of party raps now too. So it's different; it's changed. It's not all about lyricism anymore.

CP: For you is it still about lyricism?

DG: I think for me it's just making the music you wanna make, no matter what it is. One song you can have a super lyrical one, and you can have a party song on another one. But I don't really do party songs. I mean, if you're versatile enough to do it, I say why not. Make the type of music you want. That's what it's all about.

CP: What do you listen to that might be considered well outside the realm of hip hop?

DG: I listened to Katy Perry's album once. [Laughs] It was pretty cool, man; I'm not even gonna lie.

CP: A lot of the shenanigans you guys do seems to be rooted in being young. How long do you plan to keep this up? Or will you settle down and do an MTV Unplugged one day?

DG: I dunno, I think we could do an MTV Unplugged like this. I think it'd be cool. I kinda hate to think about the whole growin' up thing. It kinda sucks to think about. I wish you could stay young forever. But we're just enjoying it while it's here.

CP: So you're not even thinking about it now?

DG: No...I mean, yeah...but no. [Laughs] I don't wanna talk about getting older.

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701 1st Ave. N.
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