by R. Asmerom
Odd Future has been riding a publicity wave since the end of 2010 and there are no signs that the the 10 member crew is losing any momentum. I hadn’t heard about Odd Future until earlier this year, but once I did learn about the eclectic collective, it seemed that I was hearing something about Frank Ocean, Tyler the Creator and the whole clan everyday. They’ve been described as a fresh, new, alternative version of Wu-Tang. The reference alone not only sparked a desire to learn more about how this group of individual artists came together but also led me to contemplate why few artists, or record labels for that matter, have thought to utilize this approach to marketing.
The Los Angeles based crew (full name: Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All) have embraced a rarely-utilized marketing strategy to strengthen their individual chance at music success. Unlike rap families like Cash Money or G-Unit, which grew from an established foundation of success, Odd Future is an affiliation of all new artists who both do their own thing (several have put out their own albums and mixtapes) and reap the benefits of being part of a larger brand.
Would two of its bigger stars, Tyler the Creator or Frank Ocean, have been able to as effectively market their talents if not for the backdrop of the collective dynamic? The same question could be asked of individual Wu Tang members – would Raekwon, GZA or Ghostface Killah been as popular without the mystique of being part of the Wu Tang Clan?
“There is definitely strength in numbers and it’s always been the standard in urban music,” said Joie Manda, head of Urban Music for Warner Bros. “If you look at everybody from the Wu Tang Clan to Young Money/Cash Money and as far back as the Juice Crew you can see it. I would say it’s easier because you are marketing a movement.”