‘The youth of today’ is a phrase used by many inept politicians and naive adults when they talk about the ‘doomed’ generation, and ‘lack’ of culture in the life of teenagers. ‘The youth of today aren’t angry anymore’. ‘The youth of today aren’t creative anymore’. ‘The youth of today are lazy and slaves to technology.’ I’m not going to lie, this phrase actually really pisses me off. If there are two artists that are a representation of our generation, expressing our innovation, eclectic nature and intelligence, it isTyler and Rocky. Now coming together for a collaborative project called ‘Wang$ap’, the artists released a track called ‘Potato Salad’ last night as part of ‘AWGE Volume 3’; the third of Rocky’s video series. Rapping over Monica’s 2003 hit ‘Knock Knock’, co-produced by Missy Elliot and Kanye West, the friends are on fine form and ready to conquer on their collaborative project.
But how have Tyler and Rocky defined the world as we know it today? How could two men inspire a generation in their teens, and continue to do so in their late twenties?
‘Oh, you’re wearing Vans and Supreme this season? Stop lying to yourself N***a, me the reason’ raps Tyler in his remix of ‘What The Fuck Right Now’. The evolution of Supreme has been breathtaking over the past 5/10 years and, truthfully, they have Tyler to thank. Originally Odd Future was endorsed by the brand; when they were getting big, so was Supreme. Any photos of Tyler and the rest of OFWGKTA, in their teens, will feature a logo or two. Now though, Wolf Haley is reinventing the converse one stars, stamping his hyped Golf Le Fleur brand all over the silhouette, whilst releasing some of the most colourful graphics and prints under his brand ‘GolfWang’.
As for Lord Pretty Flacko, he has been constantly breaking down the boundaries between ‘male’ and ‘female’ clothing, making vibrance in men’s fashion the norm. Described as a fashion chameleon, you wouldn’t discredit this comparison in his variety of fits. A collaboration with under armour is on its way, and his frequent guess jeans reworks have become a staple piece of streetwear fashion. At least one of the items of clothing you are wearing right now is cool because of A$AP: vintage, high end and high street - he has it covered.
A$AP’s ‘AWGE’ collective are pioneers of the trap music video aesthetic we have seen develop over the past few years. Choppy transitions, colour and speed manipulation are all the craze in these vids, which construct a contrast between psychedelia and urban imagery. These videos are at the centre of the A$AP movement, which is becoming a lifestyle for many of their fans. They are only going to get more and more impressive.
Tyler, the Creator is a self-confessed film nerd and his music videos are well known across the hip-hop scene. Often combining two songs, and merging them into one narrative, Tyler’s visuals create worlds way more colourful and interesting than the one we live in. Not only this, whilst part of Odd Future, he made the hit adult swim series ‘Loiter Squad’, which he himself directed. Taking on inspiration from Jack Ass, the sketches are some of the rawest and humorous of the past decade. If the video below doesn’t make you laugh uncontrollably, then you aren’t human.
Hip Hop wouldn’t be in the diverse and versatile position it is today without these two. Their latest albums, although one more successful than the other, shows the degree of power they have in the game and how they can innovate it by the flick of a switch. ‘Scum Fuck Flower Boy’ is Tyler’s first Grammy-nominated album and draws on influences of indie pop, jazz, soul and rock to give it a sound like no other rap album. This was Tyler’s most ambitious project, but one that has reinvented his image, and proved a new level of maturity that we haven’t seen from him before. A$AP’s ‘Testing’ wasn’t my favourite record in the world. However, the inspiration he drew on for the project is undeniable, fusing UK grime and drill sounds with American psychedelia. He is the bridge between England and the US, constantly uniting Skepta with the likes of Playboi Carti and other American outfits. The exposure Skepta has got from Rocky is unquestionable, he is also a fan of UK Trip Hop pioneers Portishead if he needed anymore justifying.
SOCIETY AS WE KNOW IT TODAY
Both Tyler, the Creator and A$AP are strong advocates for peace and equality. Constantly demolishing the stereotype of masculinity, with Tyler even creating conspiracies suggesting he is gay, the rappers do not conform to the norm. Whether Tyler is a homosexual or not, it doesn’t matter of course, but it shows he can rap acceptably about it, without worrying about the whole hip-hop scene being on his back. They are the most important figureheads in the game right now, teenage culture would not be in the position it is if it wasn’t for them. Boys wearing flamboyant garms, girls openly listening to hip-hop; a genre that was once associated with gang violence and hyper-masculinity.
Enough said about these two, they are both dons in the game and will continue to be in their eclectic careers as musicians, designers and personalities. Keep checking back here for the latest news on them both.