Tyler, The Creator
Thanks to fans, “French” and Goblin, Odd Future’s head instigator Tyler, The Creator has finally been able to bottle his personality in the form of a record titled Wolf. The problem is: his growth as a songwriter is being overshadowed by opinions that state he shouldn’t continually drop “the other F-bomb” or act rebellious just to feed his reputation. To be honest, Wolf shouldn’t be characterized by either. The album is a self-produced, self-mixed effort that runs for an adventurous 71 minutes, and having already trademarked the appeal of a “new artist” to majors and sprinkled “rowdy” back into rap shows, Tyler’s making pretty chords pop with hints of his slightly-secretive music collection.
Front to back, Wolf is gorgeous and brilliant. It’s a multi-toned trip that leashes aggression so the shrapnel that flies can cut deep with textured sentiments (“Awkward”), smooth key-driven bumps (“Parking Lot”) and mobbin’ thrash rap (“Trashwang”). As “Her” and “She” were propelled by a glove box of feelings, it comes as no surprise that Tyler’s still neck deep in how melodies can intertwine with well-arranged layers. “Answer” boasts an influential hook hip hop icons wish they could adopt and the three-way “Partyisntover/Campfire/Bimmer” coos with clumsy admissions until it changes lanes with bravado and Frank Ocean’s thigh-shaking croon. Tyler’s gift to institute all of this, while sampling Nas excerpts (“48”), Wilson das Neves (“Lone”) and even past material (“Sam Is Dead” lends its OF Tape shrill to “Tamale”), has the public “smh” on Twitter. And like the 22-year-old he is, the album can’t sit still, forcing complex and earnest moments to jump straight to jarring numbers (“Jamba”, “Domo23”) that leave blisters.
The pacing on the album can be difficult to ingest but the story lining Wolf helps it go down. Tyler’s enigmas duel each other over a love interest named Salem – the introvert v.s. the hoodie’d punk, the kid with real issues v.s. “the fucking dick” – and all the while, hint at the material being a prequel to Bastard and Goblin. It’s easy to miss the fade-in and fade-out of “Sam” and “Wolf” because more so than ever, the lyricism on the record clips you repeatedly, with even the collective cuts, “Rusty” and “Jamba”, spotlighting Domo Genesis and Hodgy Beats who truthfully go hard. As a whole, Wolf has a deep end that could be called an abyss. It’s Looper-like, hinting at a much deeper story and painting true emotions out of songs like “IFHY”, and it’s hard to depict the true meaning to it all. But because of Tyler, it’s as creative as it is unusually accessible, and though he pokes at it frequently, “The Creator” suits him well.
Listen: “Answer”, “Cowboy”, “Rusty”, “Partyisntover/Campire/Bimmer” || Watch: “IFHY”