It’s been 16 years since he first drew that doughnut.
Like several of his peers in the Odd Future collective he cofounded, Tyler, the Creator is now an A-list star, a multi-hyphenate, a key figure in understanding popular music’s evolution from 2010 to present. But from roughly 2007—the year after Tyler sketched out that soon-to-be-iconic doughnut logo—to 2012, he and his loose constellation of rapper, singer, producer, actor, skater, and visual-artist collaborators were best known as a rabble-rousing clique whose prolific musical catalog made them the most blog-famous act of the early 2010s. If you were forced to pinpoint the exact moment when OF began to feel less like a single chaotic entity and more like a launching pad for the drastically different careers of its various members, it would be March 20, 2012, 10 years ago this weekend.
That day, the crew released their final collaborative project, The OF Tape Vol. 2, its cover bearing that same doughnut. It sold well, peaking at no. 5 on the Billboard Hot 200, and received mostly positive reviews from music critics, including a respectable 7.5 from Pitchfork. But the album’s greatest impact and legacy came courtesy of its closing track, the 10-plus-minute-long posse cut “Oldie.” Much of the initial hubbub stemmed from the fact that prodigious OF member Earl Sweatshirt had a verse on the track—his first in almost two years, coming after he “disappeared” and later was discovered to have been attending a school for at-risk boys in Samoa. But the main reason “Oldie” has remained comfortably lodged in the public consciousness is its spur-of-the-moment video. On the surface it’s nothing more than an impromptu lip sync, but its portrayal of the camaraderie and juvenile brilliance of a group with such strong personalities is unparalleled.
“I went third person for a second, and I was like, ‘Yo, just film this, get it,’” Tyler remembers. “It became such a cult classic.”
Two days before the album release, there were no plans to shoot an “Oldie” video. Honestly, 10 minutes after the sizable OF posse walked into Milk Studios in Chelsea on March 19, there were no plans to shoot an “Oldie” video. The day before a tour stop at Hammerstein Ballroom, the plan was for famed—and later disgraced—photographer Terry Richardson to shoot the group for an XXL cover. Thanks to a number of factors, that didn’t exactly work out. What we got instead was, in the exact words of eight people who were there, who were all interviewed separately for this oral history, “a moment.”
Part 1: “Let’s Do an Eight-Minute Posse Cut”
By spring 2012, Odd Future had been in the public eye for a couple of years. A spree of mixtapes released between late 2009 and 2010—including Tyler’s Bastard, Earl’s Earl, Hodgy Beats and Left Brain’s first two projects under the name MellowHype, Mike G’s Ali, Domo Genesis’s Rolling Papers, and the crew’s collaborative Radical—had the prevailing blogs of the day in a tizzy. Their raucous early concerts (which resulted in more than a few broken limbs among the group) as well as some members’ violent, offensive lyrics made their reputation as pariahs an even bigger story than their music. But OF’s star-making enterprise was in full swing by 2012. Tyler had a solo deal with XL Recordings and a debut album that sacrificed none of his self-produced chaos, Frank Ocean’s debut tape launched him onto Kanye and Jay-Z’s Watch the Throne, and Syd and Matt Martians’s band the Internet was taking form. With everyone in the group seemingly peeling off into their own endeavors, it was time for one last collaborative effort. Before The OF Tape Vol. 2’s release, with most of the album finished, Tyler got an idea for its closing track.
Tyler, the Creator (Odd Future rapper and producer): “Oldie” was just a random beat I made when I was trying to perfect my [air quotes] “hip-hop” beats. The shit I would make for Earl was different from what I would make for Domo, which was different from what I would make for myself. But with Earl it was always these super hip-hop beats that were kinda off and gross. With “Oldie,” I was just trying to perfect that. Super simple: chords, a bassline, maybe one little synth here and there, but just an ill drum break, whether I sampled it or looped it or whatever. I had that and I was like, “Yo, I just want n----s to rap on this. Let’s do an eight-minute posse cut.”
Domo Genesis (OF rapper): I didn’t record my verse the same day everybody else recorded theirs. I kinda knew there was a posse-cut situation going on, but I didn’t think it was gonna develop into what it became.
Tyler: I added my verse first. “Yo Hodgy, just gimme a 12, Jasper, gimme a 12—n----, I don’t rap! I know, that’s the beauty of it. Yo Frank, I need this.” Like, everyone. Taco wasn’t gon’ put a verse, but I was like, “Just talk at the beginning, I need your voice on this.” Syd didn’t do a verse and Matt Martians didn’t, but the spirit was there.
Frank Ocean (OF singer and rapper): At the time I was learning how to put together rap verses. That song is one of the first couple verses I ever recorded.
Jasper Dolphin (OF rapper): I’mma be real with you: I don’t remember recording my verse. That was 11 years ago, I done been through so much, but it was probably just some normalness. I’d been on other songs randomly, so it was natural, normal. I’m guessing that’s how it was.
Mike G: We knew it was gonna be everybody except Earl—well, I wasn’t aware, so probably it was only Tyler and Earl who had known, maybe Taco also. They were collecting the verses, and I went to the studio by myself one day, recorded my verse.
Tyler: I was like, lemme cap this last verse off with what all this means. How it all came about. Not the song, but like, us. And that was it. It was bittersweet.
The final cut clocked in at 10:36 and featured appearances from (in chronological order) Taco, Tyler, Hodgy Beats, Left Brain, Mike, Domo, Frank Ocean, Jasper, Earl, and Tyler again.
Part 2: The Promo Tour, a.k.a “The Rapper Rite of Passage”
On March 9, 2012, Odd Future embarked on a 17-date tour of the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. Traveling with them was famed music video director/documentarian/Jackass cinematographer Lance Bangs, who had met Tyler and Earl on Fairfax Avenue in L.A. a few years prior. They hit it off instantly, and Bangs soon became OF’s unofficial cameraman.
Lance Bangs (director): I was traveling with [Odd Future] and [Vol. 2] had not officially been released yet. In March 2012 we were doing a run of shows, always kind of worrying about whether the album would leak or not. Hearing “Oldie” in the context of a van with all of them excited about what they made for the record was a great way to get to know the song.
That morning, we started at like nine in the morning. They went to Hot 97 to do a radio interview, and then from there we rode in a van to MTV at 11 a.m. where they got interviewed by Sway, and then at 3 p.m. they were going to do this photo shoot at Milk Studios with Terry Richardson.
Domo: That day was funny. I remember waking up and having a ton of stuff to do. There was so many things we had scheduled.
Mike G: That New York trip was a blur. Just doing the promo tour, ’cause that’s the rapper rite of passage. So goin’ up to Hot 97, it was a major moment. Just being there, in the mix, in the Sprinter, riding around the city—that was pretty wild.
Jasper: We was all in New York. It was like a lil’ takeover, it was tight.
Tyler: Everyone was there. Like, the whole squad. Not just the musicians, all our buddies just came from L.A. It was super warm, Thebe [Editor’s note: Earl’s birth name is Thebe Kgositsile] was back, it was such a moment.
Earl Sweatshirt (Odd Future rapper): It was kinda like sensory overload. I had gotten out of where I’d been for the past couple years, like not too long before. We were running around New York; it was an eventful day. A lot was goin’ on then.
After releasing his breakthrough mixtape in March 2010, Earl, then 16, abruptly stopped appearing on Odd Future material. For close to a year, the general public had no clue as to his whereabouts. Then in April 2011, Complex published an investigative article entitled “We Found Earl Sweatshirt,” which revealed that the teenaged rapper’s mother had sent him to a school for at-risk youth in Samoa. Fans reacted by popularizing the slogan “Free Earl” (and, in some cases, “Fuck Earl’s Mom”). Earl wasn’t pleased.
Jacob Moore, founder and GM of the blog Pigeons & Planes, rapturously covered Odd Future’s every move in the early 2010s. “Back then, it was like anything’s worth a post, even if they just posted on Tumblr and it looked like they were making a music video,” he says. “Like, that’s a news post.” Moore also coauthored the Complex investigation, which he now says he has “mixed feelings” about. “I know it was a big story and it felt important, but it was also not something that I was super sure about, because it’s complicated and we didn’t know how Earl would feel about it.”
Whether the story was ethical or not, the response was indicative of how ravenous OF’s fans were. “Seeing how people reacted to Earl going missing and then coming back put it into perspective for me, because that just felt like such a huge thing that so many people cared about,” Moore says.
In March 2012, Earl was one of more than a dozen people mobbing around New York in the Odd Future entourage, which included OF Tape Vol. 2 cover star Lucas Vercetti, pro skater Na-Kel Smith, and Lionel Boyce, costar of the group’s Adult Swim sketch comedy series, Loiter Squad, which was co-executive produced by Bangs.
Bangs: Tyler went out of his way to bring all of the friends. Like, people that weren’t necessarily gonna be musically performing. He just wanted to have them there in New York. He was covering flights and hotels and having their assistants put everyone in vans to have the large collective there for everything in New York. That generosity and enthusiasm was something that really meant a lot to me and impressed me, that they were going out of their way to do that, rather than just, “OK, here’s the six people that we need to have microphones and that’s all.”
My memory is that we got [to Milk Studios] and Terry Richardson wasn’t there. It was an XXL cover shoot, but the photographer wasn’t there when we started. We were just having fun, I was shooting 16mm film as well as HD video stuff, and taking photos on my own. We were waiting for a while, and we were there before the people were really ready for us.
Domo: I remember getting to that studio and we were supposed to just do a photo shoot with Terry Richardson, but we were all foolin’ around and going crazy. It was just funny, we was doin’ a bunch of random shit.
Earl: It was all very surreal. I didn’t even know what was goin’ on. I remember we was at the XXL cover shoot and then literally at some point, n----s was just like, “Yo, we don’t want to do this. We just ‘bout to shoot this video.” It just felt like a cartoon, in the sense that n----s just was doin’ whatever they wanted to do.
Christian Clancy (OF manager): It was a little more hectic back then. I didn’t have any gray hair at that time. [Laughs.] But it was really cool, that was just a really fun day. I mean, there was some shit going on with XXL, but again, it was [Odd Future], so there was shit going on with wherever we were at that time.
Tyler: We did this XXL cover and that shit was a bust, bro. Like, not everyone could be on the cover ’cause not everyone was 21, but I had just turned 21. I was like, “Nah fuck that, that shit is weak.” That’s when I was super—I wasn’t a dick, but I was super vocal about things. I was like, “Either we all on it or we not! OK, fuck it, we’ll do this”—we couldn’t figure it out. We kept getting into it with [XXL editor-in-chief Vanessa Satten]—but it’s all good now, we just shot with her 10 years later. [Editor’s note: Satten did not respond to requests for an interview for this piece.]
Mike G: They were understandably trying to contain a group of rowdy kids, but we weren’t having it.
Tyler: Do you think I let someone else give me direction?
Part 3: “You Keep Filming! Fuck What They’re Saying!”
With things spiraling out of control, Odd Future members raided the studio’s prop closet, pulling out Super Soakers, monster masks, Thor’s hammer, and lightsabers. Richardson had arrived, but his plans for a traditional photo shoot were quickly upended.
Bangs: At some point, someone connected their iPhone with an aux cord to a built-in speaker and just started playing “Oldie.”
Domo: Lance just had his camera out, ’cause he was documenting that entire experience. I remember the camera being out and Terry Richardson trying to shoot these photos and get good looks. Someone puts the song on, and just super spur of the moment, everybody started rapping their verse, like from top to bottom, just performing to the camera, literally just for fun.
Mike G: So the song played, Lance started filming, and [I] snapped into the mode and realized what could potentially come out of this. Everybody excluding the XXL staff, of course. They were still trying to contain us for the shoot, but Clancy convinced them to at least let us do our thing, and they could try to capture the magic. So that was interesting how both of those things played out, and you see how they both came out. [Editor’s note: Lil Wayne ended up on the cover of the May 2012 XXL issue featuring Richardson’s Odd Future photos.]
Jasper: I’m pretty sure XXL wanted us to stop filming and do a photo shoot, but we just kept saying, “Keep rolling.” It was just a moment, it was great.
Tyler: They were being weird with the footage that Lance was shooting, because they wanted to keep it. They was like, “Stop shooting.” And at the beginning of the video you can hear me saying, “No, fuck that, Lance, keep shooting this shit,” or something.
Domo: Right in the beginning, Terry Richardson’s like, “Yo, I’m doing a photo shoot, can you stop shooting that?” or some shit like that—and this is what made me realize it was a moment, when Tyler said, “No, fuck that, film this.”
Tyler: You can see it on my face, everyone was just on edge. We put [“Oldie”] on, and I was like, “Yo, we just gon’ shoot this right here.” And in my head I’m like, “If this comes out sick, we’ll just put it out.” Because this was really the first time everyone’s together, and in my head I’m like, I’ve seen music documentaries, this might be the last time everyone’s together so we need to document this.
Clancy: No one knew that it was gonna happen five minutes before it started. The song was just playing, and Tyler’s little light bulb was like, “All right, fuck it.”
Frank: I remember being blindsided entirely by the idea!
Earl: I didn’t even really register what we were doing, it was just another extension of doin’ what n----s wanted to do.
Bangs: I had a pretty good unspoken ability to know where [Tyler] was about to head next, and that really came alive over the course of the rest of that performance. I mean, he’s not stopping anybody to be like, “OK everybody, we’re going to officially shoot the music video for ‘Oldie’ now. I need you standing here, when I get to this part you’re gonna do this”—it’s all just unspoken.
Clancy: Lance was like family, the guys were so comfortable around him—that’s another part of this that was easy, ’cause you can’t just have some random dude shoot these guys. It would’ve been different. Every person who was involved in that, from the dude shooting it to them themselves, were just free from any bullshit.
Jasper: I don’t like the word vibes, but I guess it was all just good people in a room, in a space together.
Bangs: So I started filming, and Tyler’s opening verse is so strong and so compelling. It felt very comfortable and he played really well to the lens. And then I don’t think that Hodgy understood the moment, necessarily. Tyler sort of put him in front of the camera to do his verse, but he’s also drinking, and I don’t think he delivers every lyric. He does a few lines, but is also sipping his drink and looking around. And then Vyron [Left Brain] does his verse next, and then it’s after that the rest of the group start to realize like, “Oh, this is a moment. This is happening now.”
Tyler: The song was so new. Thebe had just finished his verse, and not everyone’s heard the thing, so some of us didn’t know our verses.
Domo: You can actually see it in the video, I didn’t actually realize what was happening until maybe like the second or third verse. And then I realized, “Oh wow, this is way more real than I thought.”
Mike G: I was one of the first to realize. Left Brain was around, Hodgy might’ve initiated it. Tyler was paying attention, but everybody was still running around. Everything around that time was realizing it could be something, but still being in the moment, you can’t see what it would grow to be.
Bangs: We go on through the verses, and [you can see] all the enthusiasm that the guys have for Mike G and for Domo. The camaraderie and the friendship was so fun to be a part of and to be traveling with them and filming that. We had Earl, who was freshly back from Samoa, and there was so much energy and excitement and curiosity from the fan base to see him. The buildup to when he was going to do that long set of bars that he does was something that I was very excited for.
Jacob Moore (founder/GM, Pigeons & Planes): That was the first time we saw Earl [post-Samoa] and I think a lot of people assumed that his verse was an old one that they just got. And then he appeared in the video.
Bangs: There’s that great, subtle moment when Frank steps up and does his part, where he drops that recorded line from the song that the public had not heard yet—“I’m high and I’m bi / No wait, I’m straight” line—I caught Earl, his face lights up. I think he and Tyler knew at the time, I think Syd knew, but I don’t think the rest of the group knew. [Editor’s note: Frank Ocean publicly discussed his sexuality through a note posted to Tumblr just over three months later, in July 2012.] It’s a nice moment when that comes out of Frank. He doesn’t make a big deal about it.
Frank: I didn’t think anyone would blink at it, to be honest.
Tyler: You see everyone’s personality shine through when performing their verse. I have a broken arm, which shows how chaotic I used to be.
Bangs: I was with him when he broke his arm earlier in the tour, and he freaked out the person at the medical place by insisting on getting that bright pink fluorescent cast. They’re like, “People are gonna think you’re funny if you have this. You don’t want this.” And he’s like, “No no no, that’s the cast, that’s what I want.” So he’s got that, and he’d drawn the doughnut on that, so he knows to point at it all in perfect timing with the lyrics as he’s performing.
Tyler: You see Jasper do his verse and you see his little arms not know how to be a rapper, but he’s not a rapper so it just makes sense. When Frank comes on he’s clearly the older, mature one. You notice how we all look at him when he comes on, just that big brother figure that kept us grounded.
Frank: I was pretty bashful on camera back then. Even now, cameras can make me freeze up a little depending on my state of mind, or they can make it harder for me to spool up anything coherent in my brain. But I’m pretty clear-headed and not very shy at all in my day-to-day interactions.
Bangs: Then we get to this conclusion where Tyler looks for the people he needs and ropes in Clancy and Na-Kel, and he’s got them all within arm’s reach to grab them or embrace them or tap them at the moment that he’s referring to them in the lyrics. He even grabs the hat to show the box cutter logo. One take only, just a completely in-the-moment, shared dynamic that felt great.
Part 4: “Please Have That by Tomorrow”
Having cleared everyone else out of the frame, Tyler concludes his second verse: “So instead of critiquing and bitchin’, bein’ mad as fuck / Just admit, not only are we talented, we rad as fuck, bitches.” He forcibly pans Bangs’s camera to his right and leaps into a crowd of all of his friends.
Bangs: We knew right away this was something really special. In my work, I look for moments like that, where things come to life and there’s a connection with what you’re filming and a shared sense of expression and intuition, and it felt that way working with [Odd Future] in that particular moment. The video ends with Clancy turning to me, also in awe of what just happened, and he says to the camera, “Please have that by tomorrow.”
Clancy: It was pretty obvious that what happened was pretty sick. Thebe has a verse on it, we’re all in New York—no-brainer. The record came out the next day, so, sure. “Fuck yeah, get it done tonight. You don’t need to edit it.” [Tyler] knew what he was doing, so it didn’t need anything. If you edited it, it wouldn’t have been what it was.
Tyler: [Clancy] was watching from a real bird’s-eye, 30,000-feet-up, third-person view, since I was living in it. He saw the magic and was like, “No, put this shit out. ASAP.” So luckily it was more than one person on set who saw the magic in that, in context to the arguments and bullshit that went on that day.
Clancy: Tyler knows what the fuck he’s doing. I’m just here to sew up the loose ends.
Tyler: I’m like, “Lance, let’s watch that shit back. We don’t gotta edit shit! Just cut it, start it here, and end it here, and we uploading that shit tonight. N----, put that shit up.” And Lance was like, “Fuck it, OK!”
Bangs: I ran and jumped on a plane to Portland, Oregon, where I live, possibly even [directly] from that shoot. I was on a Delta flight from JFK to Portland with a P2 card reader, capturing the footage of what I’d shot and cutting it to the unreleased track of the song that hadn’t leaked out yet.
Tyler: That shit went up like, instantly. I think we put it out the next morning. We couldn’t get it out that night for some reason—it might’ve been YouTube clearance. That morning it went up and people were into it, just seeing us fuck around, unedited, just there.
Moore: That video feels spontaneous and DIY and not like they planned it all out and said, “This is part of a marketing rollout.” It was more just like, “We wanna do this, it’s cool, it’s creative, let’s do it.” It’s so different. I mean like, who’s doing 10-minute posse cuts? It felt like something that everybody had to watch when it came out. And once you watch through the whole thing and you feel them having fun, you feel like you’re a part of it. People have an emotional attachment to it.
Domo: That video is full of good-ass feelings. I think you can see how much fun that shit was on camera. The smiles and the laughs were contagious—you can feel that through the screen—just ’cause of how real that moment was. You can’t not smile watching that.
Bangs: It just felt alive and transcendent, and we were all floating three inches off the ground in this shared energy or moment.
Frank: It was a nice moment, this video, because we were all motivating each other. The atmosphere reminds me of how it feels to be in a room full of musicians where everyone is improvising and for a brief period it’s pure magic. It’s the same rush.
Earl: I don’t know if I ever really registered that [video] as what it might be for other people.
Clancy: That’s one of them rare, sick, magical moments that happens in the best way, because it just happens. Sometimes you plan shit too damn much. Tyler’s not the biggest planner, but the spontaneous shit, that was just them being them. It worked for me because they didn’t have time to think of what they would do or how they would look or get in their fuckin’ heads about shit—not that they would’ve, ’cause a lot of people say they don’t give a shit, but they actually didn’t give a shit. Literally just fun, no expectation, no nothing, not even knowing what the fuck was going on. That’s rare, especially in that genre where it’s so image [conscious]. That was the best representation of them as individuals to date, to me.
Moore: I remember that feeling like a big moment that confirmed that people really care about these kids. Like, they’re gonna be stars and they’re still doing it on their own terms.
Tyler: The record came out that day, and we did a show that night [at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York]. And man, that stage. Earl came out onstage, n----s didn’t know. Everyone was there, it was so awesome. The night before, we was just all skating through the city, everyone—Sage [Elsesser, a.k.a. Navy Blue], [skater] Sean Pablo, Na-Kel was there, me, Hodgy, Left Brain, Thebe, Jasper, Lucas—like we was mobbin’ through the city till 3 a.m., Lego[Head, OF affiliate] was there, Lee [Spielman], all of Trash Talk. It was such a fuckin’ moment, dude.
Earl: I feel like my experience is markedly different from everyone [else’s], ‘cause those were some of my first moments. That was my first show, later on that night, whereas everyone had been touring for the past three years. They were more exposed and had the privilege of even being jaded. Know what I mean? N----s was like, “Ugh, we gotta tour.” But the whole time I’m like, “Yoooo, this is the craziest shit ever.”
Part 5: “A Fuckin’ Balloon Popped That Night”
The “Oldie” video currently sits at just over 50 million views on YouTube, just over a third of the count for the OF channel’s all-time leader, Tyler’s shocking, star-making “Yonkers” clip. But for a marathon-length, zero-budget shoot, it’s done well for itself, outperforming many of the group’s more lavish music videos.
Befitting their mercurial nature, Odd Future never technically “broke up.” But aside from a few sporadic concerts in the following years, summer 2013 would be the last time they toured as a unit. Even those shows didn’t have the full “Oldie” video squad present. But as the past decade has shown, OF alumni’s success never hinged on the group staying together. The personalities on full display in the “Oldie” video have grown even more vibrant as each member has matured. Tyler’s solo work has made him a perennial Grammy fixture, his one win—a Best Rap Album trophy for 2019’s Igor—even sparking debates within the industry about the award show’s genre categorization. Despite how infrequently he releases music, Frank Ocean became one of the most critically adored acts of the 2010s thanks to his albums Channel Orange and Blonde. Earl has burrowed further into art-damaged boom-bap and remains a cult hero. Taco—now better known by his birth name, Travis Bennett—stars in the FX comedy Dave. Na-Kel’s now better known for his acting and rapping than his skating. Jasper, Travis, Tyler, and Lionel have continued to work with Bangs, both on Loiter Squad and, most recently, Jackass Forever. If anything, the Odd Future story illustrates how to succeed on your own terms while still lifting up those around you.
Tyler: The night after [the video shoot] when we all performed was like the peak of us. That was like it. Like, a fuckin’ balloon popped that night, and we all went in our own directions. That was the last time we was all together like that. Still.
Frank: I can recall it all pretty easily in my memory or in yours or in Tyler’s. He remembers all this stuff even better than me.
Clancy: I don’t wanna sound old, but I’ve been around a few things. Having everyone together in one place—as you get older that happens less, right? It’s kind of inevitable, growing up, personalities, you know. People got wives and kids, they’re doing shit, whatever. So I feel [Tyler] on that. That was one of the last moments of pure freedom amongst friends, in retrospect.
Domo: It had a certain feeling where this was, not the peak, but the epitome of what the whole [Odd Future] thing was, with everyone included. If I had to explain to somebody who everyone was, and what everyone’s role was, and what they did, and the sound that they brought to the table at its full strength, I believe that was the best example of it. At the time, I didn’t feel any closure or anything like that. I was just so into the moment. It does feel that way looking back, though.
Earl: We did some more OF stuff after that, I distinctly remember. There was a Texas tour, there was Europe dates we did and shit.
Mike G: I can’t say [it felt like the end of OF], ’cause we had the Odd Future tour overseas after that. If we’re getting to that moment, it would really be opening for Eminem at Wembley Stadium [in July 2014]. That makes the most sense to me as the moment when everyone started moving towards their own trajectories.
Bangs: From early on, Tyler was such a charismatic person that made things come together. His energy brought people to him, and then he amplified other people around him. He was generous with sharing attention and trying to put light on all these other people that he had bonded with over internet message boards or in person in California. That generosity was something that was really evident to me, but it also felt like a volatile combination of people who were in different places in their lives. It was rare for these moments where we had Frank and Syd and Mellowhype and everyone all in one place to do something together. I was aware in the moment that this wasn’t something that was gonna be recurring 10 more times in the future, that this might be the peak moment of everyone being in the same room with me filming and making a moment happen.
Tyler: That’s just what being a fuckin’ kid is, just being young, your teenage years, your super early 20s, it’s more spontaneous and fun. We wasn’t trying to be cool. We wasn’t trying to be like, “Nah, we too cool for that,” and stand with a hand on our wrist for the posed photo. That’s not what we was about. We was just us. And I think that’s what everyone gravitated to, and you can fully see that in the video, it’s the end result of all of that.
Jasper: I actually watched it with my girlfriend recently and it was pretty funny ’cause we all look so young in there, and now we all old farts in our 30s. I was on YouTube, and then somehow I got into a loophole of Odd Future stuff, and somehow we just ran it all the way up, from just random videos, to the videos of me getting attacked on Snapchat, just everything that was happening back then.
Tyler: [It was a] cultural moment that I didn’t realize at the time, because we felt so outcast and misunderstood and didn’t think about how important we’re gonna be in shaping what rap music is going to slowly turn into for the years to come. Since day one, I’ve always had a—I don’t wanna sound like a fuckin’ Twitter—but I’ve always had a vision of things, especially from that era. Even the stupid Lucas hoodie, just all of it. I’ve always had this bigger picture. And that was one of the moments where, in real time, I got to zoom out and say, “Oh shit, no this is great. Film this, Lance! You keep fuckin’ filmin’!”
Quotes were lightly edited for length and clarity.
Patrick Lyons is a writer whose work has appeared in Stereogum, Pitchfork, GQ, and elsewhere.