When you ask people about Tyler, The Creator one of two things usually comes to mind: Cockroaches or chords. It’s easy to tell how long they’ve kept up with him based on which one they think of. For many of us, we found Tyler in middle school and either were completely pulled in by his work or completely repulsed. Fast forward to 2019 and it’s obvious the days of the unforgettable “Radicals” hook are long behind us. This is because Tyler has blossomed (my only Flower Boy pun I promise) into the artist he has always truly wanted to be. Why won’t people accept this?
A talented artist evolves over time. There are some who have stayed in the same lanes for a majority of their career and sometimes this is not bad at all when they are excelling in these lanes. However, if an artist is changing for the better and you hear their passion for this change in the music as well as the interviews about the music…it’s a good thing. Hearing Tyler talk about chords, key changes and bridges is not only enlightening but fascinating as well. He’s has always been a unique rapper but he truly shines at production and arrangement and from WOLF forward this is extremely apparent. Vocal layering is something that is very difficult to do but Tyler has managed to layer his voice with Solange’s and Charlie Wilson’s – and yes it sounds beautiful. The days of his downptiched vocal effects are long behind us and the up pitch is here to stay. Cherry Bomb – esque moments happen on IGOR as do Flower Boy – esque moments and this shows how Tyler continues to evolve while remaining true to the sounds he has branded himself with. He can create distorted bass bangers, beautiful ballads or emotion filled auditory soundscapes of sonic bliss. I mean honestly “FIND YOUR WINGS” and “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?” sound like something Motown would have put out in their heyday. AND THAT’S A BEAUTIFUL THING. Artists love saying how versatile they are and how they make music for “everyone” but Tyler lets his music tell us that all on it’s own. We all know Tyler’s keys the moment we hear them and this has been the case his entire career. It’s just the keys are glittery now instead of eerie (usually)
Let’s be 100% realistic: If Tyler dropped Bastard and Goblin-esque music right now today (not a Flower Boy pun but a reference) he would get banned from Spotify and lose his Converse deal. Yes, he got backlash back when these projects released but as we all know the world is very different now. Tyler’s lyrics are his biggest claim to fame and he has never been one to use ghostwriters or anything like that obviously. Tyler now gives us a deeper look into his life and has been more vulnerable than ever. This could be a release of emotions like “Answer” a complicated yet factual story like “FUCKING YOUNG/PERFECT” or just bearing it all like “Garden Shed”. Like most artists we can piece together various time periods in his life through his lyrics and see how his worldview and mind state has changed for the better overtime. Most of his His loosie tracks and some album cuts discuss how he’s adjusted to fame by doing everything his way and telling us he’s got money in a way only he could. Some people may see he’s “becoming like everyone else” in this way but I’d rather hear Tyler tell us he’s rich in a creative way than hear someone say they “don’t mean to flex” than proceed to flex.
Those of you who miss “Old Tyler” need to move on. He’s still unapologetically himself just not in an abrasive way. He’s still making the music the way he wants, making clothes the way he wants and making videos the way he wants. He’s enjoying life and has told us that he is multiple times in multiple ways. He’s also told us about his struggles with life in ways that resonate with his supporters in one way or another. Tyler himself has voiced that he does not want to go back to the way he used to be. He’s not just a young teen saying things for fun anymore he’s a businessman…a renaissance man.
P.S. IGOR is AOTY.