Lyrical hip-hop protest expected at Odd Future's NZ ban

Last updated 05:00 15/02/2014

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Homegrown could well ring to the sound of controversial lyrics by banned rap collective Odd Future today.

The Los Angeles group has been barred from New Zealand under legislation never before used to stop musicians entering the country.

Dominion Post music reviewer Simon Sweetman said yesterday that he imagined there would be "some reference" to the ban during Homegrown - most likely from within the tight-knit hip-hop community, which tended to be insulted by the idea of censorship.

"There's a sort-of mutual support. Sort of us-against-them."

He thought at least one of the hip-hop acts playing at Homegrown would acknowledge the ban, possibly by performing a cover of an Odd Future track.

He saw Odd Future member Earl Sweatshirt perform as part of a rap gig in Wellington last month. "There was nothing offensive about it, other than he was a bit underwhelming."

Odd Future was due to support Eminem in the Rapture event at Western Springs in Auckland tonight. The band was booked to replace one of the show's top attractions, Kendrick Lamar.

Immigration NZ has denied setting a precedent by banning the group, under legislation previously used to bar such people as Right-wing extremists.

Under the law, authorities can deny entry where there is reason to believe there is, or is likely to be, a threat or risk to public order or the public interest.

Immigration NZ border operations manager Karen Urwin said on radio the members of Odd Future had initially been granted permission to enter New Zealand, but on Thursday Immigration became aware of overseas incidents involving the band.

"That's when we decided to review that decision and we made a determination that they posed a threat to public order and we decided to cancel their visas."

She acknowledged the legislation had never been used against musicians before.

Odd Future manager Christian Clancy said members of the collective had changed over time and were not being given credit for growing up. "It's disappointing because it's coming from a place where the reasoning is based on lyrics and/or actions that happened when these guys were teenagers," he said. "And if that's a stance someone's going to take, then what are you implying? That you don't allow talented kids to grow and change?"

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- The Dominion Post

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