Joshua Roach, better known as Wes Blak, is a 17-year old Houston rapper. You've probably never heard of Wes Blak, but you've definitely heard of Tyler, The Creator and his Odd Future crew.
That might explain why Wes has spent the last ten days posting and promoting YouTube clips that bear an uncanny resemblance to Odd Future's aesthetic.
His song "Yukmouth," for instance, is patterned in the same sonic styling and rhyme cadence as Tyler, The Creator's "Seven." His artwork is typically grainy and dysmorphic, a style that's becoming increasingly synonymous with the L.A. crew. The dark themes of his music also hearken to the dystopic sound of Tyler and Earl.
Clearly, Wes Blak has a degree in OF-ology. Right? Maybe he even knows where Earl is hiding.
"I first heard of Odd Future about a month ago," he tells Rocks Off over the phone.
Oh. Never mind.
"I first started on my album two months ago," says Wes. "I heard about Tyler when 'Yonkers' first dropped. And I've only heard... maybe four of their songs total."
Wes was, however, surprised when YouTube posters started referencing Odd Future songs he's never even heard of. He says he spoke with someone who claimed to be a member of the Odd Future camp who asked Wes if he'd like to join Odd Future.
"Man, I would be so flattered," he tells us. But why would Tyler want to sign someone who sounds exactly like him?
Wes contends that "Yukmouth" and "Nytemare" don't fully encapsulate his sound or the theme of his upcoming album, Land of the Lost. He also points out that the warped aesthetic Tyler espouses has been around for decades.
As Hip Hop Is Read points out, Wes may be the first in a wave of Odd Future-inspired MCs. But Tyler doesn't exactly share this enthusiasm for his so-called impostors.
Amid rumors that Wes Blak is on OF's radar, someone posed the question on Tyler's formspring page:
Question: "Do you mind elaborating on the whole Wes Blak situation? Ive heard a lotta different stuff, but i figure i should stop listening to rumors and just ask you."
Tyler: "WTF is a wes blak?"
Another formspring question about Wes Blak prompted this outburst: "We dont fuck with anyone else, gotta look this nigga up now. i dont like people thats not from OF being associated with it in anyway [sic]."
If all attention disappeared from Odd Future and they had absolutely no buzz, it's highly unlikely that they would spawn imitators. Hype is powerful like that.
In response to one YouTube commenter who charged him with biting, Wes conceded that he tags his videos with OF names like "earl" and "tyler" in order to draw attention to his music. Now that he's met his primary objective, his career could sink or soar depending on what he does from here on out.
Wes Blak's music definitely has potential. Odd Future influence or not, he has a lot going for him musically. What a tragedy if he lets the shock-rap gimmick define his style.
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The sooner he realizes his strengths, the better for his rap career. Wes says there are other songs on his album that might surprise people. We'll keep our fingers crossed.