I’m sure Tyler, the Creator doesn’t need much of an introduction since his quick rise to fame happened nearly 2 years ago. Tyler carved himself a niche with his overly aggressive songs and most importantly, his music video “Yonkers”. What made the music video particularly eye catching was a few controversial things done in the video, such as eating a cockroach and actually “hanging” himself in the video. It’s this video and song altogether that I would say got him the most attention. He was labeled as an artist in the Horrorcore, where artists don’t usually rap about the normal “bi***s and H**s” but about gruesome murder and raping. Along with that video, his album “Goblin” was also released which I did in fact give a listen. To be quite honest, when Tyler first hit the scene, I was not impressed. I thought his music was very odd with his “Psychiatrist” speaking in the back ground of his songs. His music made me feel incredibly uncomfortable with awkward beats, flow, and the very uncomfortable subject matter that was within his music. My music taste has grown since then. Flash forward to today and now we have Tyler’s new album “Wolf”. I wasn’t anticipating this album at all. Kid Cudi’s “Indicud”, Chance the Rapper’s “Acid Raps”, and Big Krit’s “King Remembered in Time” were all bogging up my mind in anticipation instead. Once the album was released though, I thought I might as well give it a go. Let me tell you guys something, I have never been this caught off guard since Logic’s “Young Sinatra” album! This album has been in constant replay on my playlists. Tyler, the Creator has completely sucked me in with this album. This piece of work is a smart, well produced, engrossing, and most importantly a complete and cohesive project.
To start off, the production on this album is absolutely beautiful. At first, I wasn’t sure who produced this album. I was amazed to find out it was Tyler who had produced it. Just to go to show that I’m not the only one who was surprised, on his first Track of the album “Wolf” , the deep pitched Camp Leaders voice acts surprised and comments on how good the intro. “Sam the music sounds good man, you’ve been practicing” is what the Camp leader says. What makes this laughable is that the intro actually does sound good, if you disregard the F you’s in the back ground of course. Going in to the rest of the project, some reviewers have commented about the production being a bit too all the same. Although there are some similarities, I think there is actually quite a large variety of songs on this project. From the high pitched “tamale tamale tamale” sample track to the very slow paced track “Answer”. The variety doesn’t stop there either, you have your bangers: Jamba, Trash Wang, Pigs. To your more slow paced music:, Lone, Awkward. You also have quite possibly the best song ever heard to mankind in: “Tamale” which deserves to be in its own right in my opinion……Just Kidding. Although I do really like that song….a lot. Also Tyler is very clever when it comes to some of the production he does for some of his tracks. For example “Awkward” could have not had a better name. The way it was slow paced with the really immature emotional lyrics about “locking lips” just made that song really fit with its track name. Just listening to the song was awkward and that is what he was trying to do, which is brilliant. I really enjoy when track names actually fit with the song, even more so when they connect on a level as Tyler does with tracks on this album. Tyler didn’t stop there either, the last track on this album called “Lone” had what seemed to be a hospital sounding sample running in the back ground of his lyrics. The song happened to be about the time he spent at the hospital during his grandmother’s illness. Other noteworthy produced songs for me were: the banger that is known as “Domo 23”, the buildup in the song “Colossus”, and again the G.O.A.T track “Tamale”. Production on this album was on point for me and played a huge role as to why I really liked this album but of course the album would be nothing if it weren’t for the stories Tyler painted for us with his lyrics which leads me to :
Tyler’s album , as a whole package , has a striking resemblance to Kendrick’s Good Kid, Mad City. What I mean by that is both have a running story throughout the album, both have song transitions that progress the story, and both are very successful at it. In my opinion, the fact that this project was one cohesive story line made me enjoy this album that much more. At first listen, I wasn’t quite sure who was who and what was what within the albums story. Once I began listening to it more and more, I started to realize who people like Sam, Salem, and Wolf were. Both Characters Wolf and Sam, appeared to be alter egos of Tyler. Wolf being the more calm side of Tyler and Sam being the more aggressive side of Tyler. The main concept of this album is that Sam and Wolf both like the same girl at a Camp, which then leads to Sam trying to kill wolf at the end. That is really the main recurring story line through this entire album. Though as simple as it seems, the story is weaved together by nearly all the songs put together on this album. Tyler masterfully had songs that weren’t connected to the story, compliment the story rather than lead the story. As some of these tracks subject matter don’t really add to the story, they compliment it and set the tone well. For example I’m not quite sure how Jamba, Tamale, Answer and Domo 23 fit in the scheme of things but they are great songs that I personally like. If there is one drawback that I see with this album is that to fully understand this album and to really follow along with the story, you really have to pay attention to small details. There are plenty of small subtleties that one can easily miss. You have to listen to who is speaking before the song, or who is introduced or you can miss who’s perspective the song is trying to show. Right after Jamba finishes, “Weak ass nigga Samuel” is introduced and that is how you know that Samuel’s perspective is being shown on the track “Cowboy”. Also, you can easily miss that “Slater” is not a person at all. It is actually his bike! Small things like that can really lead you astray.
It’s also important to point out that Tyler really did dig deep with a whole lot of emotional and introspective tracks. He confronts emotional losses in the previous mentioned “Lone” about his grandmother passing away as well as on the track “Answer”. This track was really interesting to me. Tyler talks about how much pain his father has put on to him and how much he hates him, yet if he were to call his father, he’d wish that his father would still answer. This track really shows Tyler’s emotional side and is a real intimate song that Tyler wouldn’t normally do. To continue his real up close and personal songs, he also has the track “Colossus”. This track is about how he is approached by fans at six flags that are all about” Goblin” and “Yonkers” implying that they are band wagons and not true fans. The interesting aspect is when he gets an actual fan that had his life changed by Tyler’s music. The fan then proceeds to propose his love for Tyler. This song feels like Tyler’s view on his quick rise to stardom makes him uncomfortable. Another song about his fans is “Rusty”, where Tyler actually turns to his fans and asks them why they complain so much. “”Analog” fans are getting sick of the rape/ All the “Tron Cat” fans are getting sick of the lakes/ But what about me, bitch? I’m getting sick of complaints.” All of these tracks are real and introspective and give the listener a view into Tyler’s world.
To conclude, this album is great. Stellar even. The album really does show it’s maturity over the past two projects that have been put out by Tyler. To think he is only 22 years old and putting out this type of project is insane. Although this album is great, it does come with its draw backs. First, following the story in this album is very difficult and requires many listens to actually follow the story. If an artist wants to capture and captivate a new listener within the first 2-3 listens, the story needs to be a bit clearer. Also, if this is going to be a concept album and one cohesive project as I felt it was, then the amount songs that just don’t fit have to be trimmed down. In order for a concept album to work, the songs have to be a smooth transition from one song to another. Besides my nitpicking, again the album was stellar and will have me listening for many more listens to come. And let’s not forget about dat tamale doe.