Tyler, The Creator has long been the subject of both scrutiny and adoration in the rap world. For the most part, he comes off as a joke, and he knows it. He portrays himself and his music as a work of satire. But deep down, underneath all the pseudo-racism, homophobia, and near-mindless profanity is a talented rapper with legitimate ideas waiting to come out.
Tyler’s newest album “Flower Boy,” which has an alternate title that can’t be used here, is the biggest departure from anything The Creator has done up to this point. Four albums ago, Tyler’s music could be taken anything but seriously. With each release, his work became progressively better, until it was something you could actually listen to unironically. Tyler’s potential for quality shone through on both “Wolf” and “Cherry Bomb,” but he wasn’t quite there yet. “Flower Boy” finally opens the floodgates for his latent talent to pour through.
Not only is “Flower Boy” Tyler’s best album to date, consisting of 14 tracks with a total of ten features including Frank Ocean, Lil Wayne, Jaden Smith and Estelle, it’s also his most controversial. In a few of the songs, including but not limited to “Who Dat Boy,”“911/Mr. Lonely”and “Garden Shed,” Tyler seems to be hinting at coming out of the closet.
The lyrics, which I won’t get into here, imply that Tyler is gay and has been hiding it for a long time, but has been trying to come out for almost as long. There’s no confirmation that Tyler is or is not gay, since the rapper won’t confirm it himself, but it’s driving discussion that goes beyond the album itself and into Tyler’s personal life.
Sticking on the album, though, the tracks on this release are far more innovative and exploratory than Tyler’s previous albums.
The production on the single “Who Dat Boy” is almost cinematic, and the track is definitely deserving of the title “banger.” The other single from the album, the dual track “911/Mr. Lonely,” is far more upbeat and semi-dreamy. It takes a jazzy shoegaze turn, which is way different from the aggressive bass boosted instrumental of “Who Dat Boy.”
Overall, this album says great things about Tyler, The Creator’s future. With this new direction Tyler’s taking his music, I can’t wait to see what else he does.