Surprisingly, my introduction to Tyler, the Creator was not when he ate the cockroach!
It was 2009. A simpler time, when I was just getting into this whole Wildebeest thing on a place no one remembers known as Tumblr. There, a bunch of kids kept raving about “OFWGKTA,” short for Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, a rowdy group of skater kids and self-described outcasts out of Los Angeles who were also a rap collective, known for their individual and group tracks which sounded like rap a bunch of teenagers would make. You know, edgy 15 year-old-type stuff. This group was led by a kid named Tyler, the Creator, who produced much of the group’s work, and whose 2008 debut Bastard had generated a lot of underground buzz. Everyone was saying it was a matter of time til Odd Future blew up.
And blew up they did. 2011 brought Tyler’s mainstream debut Goblin, an album which generated a lot of conversation over Tyler’s controversial lyrics, his never-giving-a-fuck attitude, and raw talent, especially seen in that infamous single, “Yonkers,” with it’s memorable black and white video where he ate the aforementioned cockroach and later hung himself. Some were calling him the future of hip-hop, but personally I saw him then as a new-age Eminem, in the same way that he had made music that got high school kids in a tizzy.
In the 6 years since that album, several Odd Future members have gone on to have major careers, like Frank Ocean, Earl Sweatshirt, Syd, and Domo Genesis. The crew had a TV show. They launched a music festival. And accomplished whole bunch of other stuff. During those years I was more interested in Tyler the person than his music (Seriously, he’s a smart, ambitious and affable dude)…that is, until I heard his latest release, Scum Fuck Flower Boy (or just Flower Boy).
Flower Boy is a far cry from Goblin. Believe it or not, Tyler has matured over the years, both in lyricism and production. The record is surprisingly thoughtful, as Tyler bares his soul on topics like love, loneliness, depression, his absent father, and his feelings on success…things he’s mentioned previously, but this time in full view and not hidden behind some half-joke or over-the-top line. There’s a seriousness and sincerity on this listen which is endearing and captivating. The production too is also very eclectic. Tyler is definitely gifted when it comes to crafting a sound, and he strives to keep everything interesting.
“I Ain’t Got Time!” is a fun one, right down to that sample in the beginning which harkens back to Deee-Lite‘s 1990 classic, “Groove is in the Heart,” and jumping off from there to be a spastic, energized listen where Tyler reflects on his achievements and pushes aside those he ain’t got time for. I like this one!