Tyler, The Creator has opened up about the inspiration behind Odd Future, naming Eminem, JAY-Z and Nas as guiding lights for his former group.

The Grammy-winner appeared on the latest episode of De La Soul‘s Apple Music 1 show Art Official Intelligence Radio this week to celebrate the 35th anniversary of their classic album, 3 Feet High and Rising

During the conversation, Tyler reflected on coming of age in the early 2000s and how Roc-A-Fella and Shady Records subconsciously laid the blueprint for his own future rap crew.

“Man, I grew up in the year 2000, I was eight turning nine,” he began. “So I’m looking at like eight, turning nine. So let’s say it’s 2002, 10 turning 11.

You’ve got Jay with the whole Roc-A-Fella, you’ve got Shady, Aftermath, you have all these different crews that felt like family. Nas was bringing Queensbridge group like Jungle and them out. N-ggas had this thing. So in my formative years, I’m just watching these crews.”

He added: “And I’m from Los Angeles, so gang culture is already a prevalent thing, but I feel like just the main layer of that is a family-knitted thing like, ‘No, these are my boys, you come with me.’”

Tyler, The Creator went on describe Odd Future — which also counted Earl Sweatshirt, Frank Ocean and Domo Genesis among its ranks, as well as side groups like The Internet — as a collective of “outcasts” who were the “black sheep” of their respective families.

“So when I was making Odd Future, outside of the magazine thing, it just actually felt like family for a bunch of outcasts,” he said. “Everyone in Odd Future was the black sheep of their family. So us coming together and just like, ‘Nah, fuck y’all.’

Who’s getting the opportunity first? It’s the person right next to me. It’s the family right next to me. And I was really on that for a while, and a lot of that is just because of growing up with the idea of rap crews.

“I was too young for the Native Tongues, all of that stuff in real time. I had to learn about that as I got older. So seeing people get Roc-A-Fella chains was like, ‘Oh, you’re part of the family.’ So I think just subconsciously emulating the sentiment that they held was easy.”

Tyler, The Creator also touched on De La Soul’s impact on his creative sensibilities, describing himself as a part of their musical family tree.

“I’m happy to be a branch of the tree that y’all helped grow because you guys are the soil of the shit, actually,” he said. “I’m just a branch off of the tree that’s grown from the soil that you guys have laid down.”

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