Tyler the Creator. We’re talking about a guy that ate a cockroach to get famous. A dude that drops the “F-bomb” frequent and willingly to show his obvious hate for people and the world itself (Haley Williams/Bruno Mars/B.O.B/Republicans). He throws carnivals and likes pink doughnuts. Mentions rape and masturbation in verse. All because it is fun for him to swear and act like a kid. HE TWEETS IN ALL CAPS ABOUT MAKING SANDWICHES. His Instagram name is felciathegoat. He hates the radio and ratings that see him as being a failure. Better run MTV.
Tyler leads Odd Future, a random assortment of crew members (Domo Genesis, Hodgy Beats, Earl Sweatshirt, Taco etc) that have a destructive demeanor, but yet a colorful vocabulary in their aggressive rhymes and beats that make for an uncomfortable listen to a normal person. Such as this…
I’m a f*cking walking paradox, no I’m not
Threesomes with a f*cking triceratops, Reptar
Rapping as I’m mocking deaf rock stars
Somewhere between talent and psychotic. Clever with word play for sure, but the imagery goes a little too far. But yo, that is Tyler and he doesn’t care what you think about him. He knows he is different and that’s just how he has fun. YDG?
He is a rebel and hearing his different outlook on life is exciting to witness as a listener and especially as a fan that enjoys his creativity and production capabilities.
Just like how a viewer sympathizes for a gangster in a movie, we can do the same for Tyler who in essence has the same desires that we have in life. Whether it be getting to know and be with a girl that seems impossible to move in on, to being stable in his own mind because a lot of people out their battle depression and anxiety.
Tyler’s latest album “Wolf” is one of my favorite concept albums in recent years mostly for the fact that every song can stand alone. Through all the schemes, as a viewer I feel so attached to the story and the alter-egos that Tyler represents showing his true feelings and emotions on touchy subjects matters such as the absence of his dad in his life, or cancer “that ate his Grammy up”. It’s a part of a greater story and getting lost in Tyler’s references and messed up mindset is well worth the journey. It can get confusing even after two years of listening, so let’s get funky with it.
I. Wolf starts off introducing us to two main characters that are a part of Tyler’s self-conscience. Samuel, a member of Camp Flognaw kicks off the album singing “F*ck you” to everything and everyone over a piano based angelic tune. Professor TC, the camp director, applauds Samuel for his performance and introduces him to Wolf who is a new member of the camp. The camp serves as an escape to the outdoors (which Tyler actually appreciates in real life) for each character as they suffer from mental problems and social issues. Samuel disregards Wolf’s conversation about Jazz music and just like the song in the beginning of the album says he does not mess with him and wants him to stay out of his way. The album continually switches perspectives between Wolf and Samuel.
II. “Cowboy” shows the the lonely side of Samuel flirting with the imagery of shadows and smoking at the dock to portray somebody that is on their own quest and no matter how much it seems they have, they still believe it isn’t enough to make them whole mostly because of self-awareness and lack of belonging. This shows the side of Tyler that speaks to his line “I’m as lonely as the crackers that super models eats.” The story sparks Wolf to ask Samuel about a girl that passed by. Samuel angrily responds that it is Salem, his girlfriend and to stay away from her.
Wolf ignores his threats and pursues his girlfriend in “Awkward” as it was his first official date. This track which shows a side of Wolf who lacks confidence and is insecure in his abilities to talk to Salem, who has him going crazy in his head. Her name is his password. His feelings are locked up in a zip lock bag and he is claustrophobic in his attempts trying to find the courage to break open the seal and make his relationship with her normal. They still hold no title after the date and it causes Wolf to search more desperately in his internal struggle. The track hints at young love and how everything is awkward at first when it comes to liking each other. Also, how we get caught up in feelings for girls so easily and fall so hard because we never tasted the actual physical presence of love before.
Samuel continues his cowboy thrill ride on his bicycle “Slater” without his girlfriend which I think this illusion is created in his mind. The story is told through the success of Tyler the Creator which is the opposite of what Samuel has, nothing. Tyler lives a life of a star “kickin it in the burbs” and going crazy at shows because he holds a title. This is a false perception that Samuel has of himself as his conscience gets hazy. Frank Ocean says to Samuel “I guess you’re a cool guy, you’re talking to a f*cking bike, loser.” Samuel must have tried to persuade him about the lavish lifestyle he lives, but in the end he was talking to an object that wasn’t living.
This all leads to “48” which portrays Samuel as a drug dealer selling crack and deepening his wounds and his life in general. The Nas interview talks about how crack messed up the streets, the individuals that took the drugs and the sellers. Samuel gets caught up in this lifestyle because he has nothing and ends up doing more damage to himself and the people he sells to. He supports his family, but in reality he is lost at sea and “nobody wins” as Nas says when it is all said and done. His conscience is fading away and he hates it because he knows what’s right, but he has to survive somehow. Also, this song pokes at the struggles in the black community of drug trading in less privileged communities because it isn’t fair how they ended up because of racial inequality, but somehow they had to get by.
A breath of fresh air at night in the great outdoors. Wolf comes out of his shell and approaches Salem with a new acceptance of how different he is compared to everyone else. For this reason, she should take a chance with him. He’s excited to be at camp and embraces his struggles in “Campfire” with a new outlook on life and appreciation the little things like marshmallows, chocolate and just being outside. An upbeat transition to “Bimmer” reveals Wolf and his new found life of sex. The awesome car is a metaphor for how special Salem is to her. Bimmers are amazing looking cars inside and out. “The perfect two seater”. Tyler is so exuberant in his word play with sex and the different parts of the car comparing the ignition and the key to the act as well as the drive of the car in motion to Salem and Wolf’s sex drive.
III. Tensions start flaring after the three part song. In the next skit, a fellow camper and drug user tells Samuel that Wolf has been seeing Salem and they went to the lake. Samuel is furious not only because he told Wolf to stay out of his way, but his only love is with somebody else (as demonstrated in IFHY)
What a perfect song. Not only the various instruments and beats, but the conception that Samuel is stuck in the middle of love and hate. He is pissed because Salem left him for Wolf. Salem is an addiction for Sam and she has more highs and lows for him compared to the drugs he substitutes in place of her.
Cause when I hear your name I can not stop cheesing
I love you so much that my heart stops beating when you’re leaving
And I’m grieving and my heart starts bleeding
Life without you has no god damn meaning
Sorry I’m passive aggressive for no god damn reason
It’s that my mood change like these god damn seasons
I’ll fall for you, but I love you
Don’t let the skateboards fool you,
Know n*ggas that pull triggers
“A year ago I was broke, now how can I afford this
I started off with disposables now I have an assortment
And I’m using these negatives to develop a portrait
Now the frame is a pain in the ass to get it in
Without a scratch or stain on the glass
But that’s not important, just as long as it’s printed”