Every year thousands of Odd Future fanatics flock to Dodger Stadium for Tyler, The Creator’s annual, self-curated festival ‘Camp Flog Gnaw’. Since its origins 7 years ago, where attendees watched OF in the parking lot of LA’s Nokia Theatre, the event has snowballed into one of the most eclectic weekends of R&B, Indie and HipHop. In many ways, it is a musical microcosm of what Tyler is all about, and for those who idolise him, it is the perfect escape from the comparatively dull realities of life.
Although it was widely claimed that 2019’s Camp Flog Gnaw was the best yet, it didn’t come without controversy. In the months prior to the event, hysteria whirred in the air of every Odd Future forum and reddit thread. Why? Well, the line up poster advertised a ‘special guest headliner’, and fans began to speculate that it could only possibly be one artist. If you hadn’t heard already, the name in question is Frank Ocean. Odd Future’s most illusive member hadn’t played at Flog Gnaw since 2013, and with his recent string of spontaneously released singles, everyone had their money on it being the Long Beach native.
Phones clenched between the palms of fans, who all stood synchronously on the tip of their golf le fleurs, craning their necks from Tyler’s IGOR merch, as they all eagerly watched the lights simmer down on the Camp Stage. Seconds later 45,000 Frank fans were left disheartened, as the opening hook of Drake’s legendary ‘Started From The Bottom’ erupted from the speakers. 6 God bounded on, expecting the crowd to explode in the same fashion as all his shows, but both the thousands watching on and Drizzy were left in an awkward state of disappointment.
After only 9 songs, the OVO founder paused to ask: “I’m hear for you tonight, if you wanna keep going, I will keep going tonight. What’s up? If you wanna keep going, I will keep going tonight”, which warranted a sea of boos from many of the spectators, who were expecting a booking slightly more original than the biggest star on the planet. With such anticipation, arguably anyone other than Ocean would have lead to moans and groans.
(Real Name) Tyler Okonma has constantly reinvented himself throughout his musical career. Accusations of homophobia vilified his previous projects, but now the Californian seems like an artist aiming to transcend labels - especially in the LGBTQ community. Drake himself is an outsider. Before his existence, who had heard of a black, Jewish and Canadian rap star? This is why the heckling of his headline set seems all too premature, especially as the event so effortlessly embraces people who see themselves on the fringes of social ‘normalities’.
No bad blood was left between Drizzy and Okonma though; both took to social media afterwards, with Drake announcing a fictional “ten year residency at Camp Flog Gnaw”, whilst Tyler updated his Twitter bio to: “embarrassed by my fans right now”. Even those who didn’t attend the festival saw the funny side, with one Champagne Papi follower writing the, potential, opening few bars to the Canadian’s diss-track on the entire event…
“Once Frank left the ocean they was riding my tidal wave, now that Franks back in the ocean my title fades, I told them it was all love I go by Drake. I now know how Squirdward felt when the tomatoes hit his face. Damn”.
All photos courtesy of HypeBeast