Tyler, the Creator has always gone against traditional ways of making a hip-hop record. He once again proves he’s one of the only artists to pull that off.
Tyler, the Creator has returned with his 4th studio album, and without a doubt his cleanest record to date, Flower Boy. Tyler has become quite the figure in recent years, going from an angsty teen starting a questionable rap group, to becoming a modern day renaissance man. He’s started Golf Media, become a fashion icon, is starting a new TV show “Nuts and Bolts,” which premiers in August, and has matured in his music over time. He also hasn’t lost that goofy asshole persona we’ve grown to love and accept. Keep in mind, he’s 26.
Just over two years since his previous album Cherry Bomb, nobody really knew what to expect from Tyler. The album came off as sophisticated because of his transition to a softer, more elegant sound, but it was straight up uncanny. It felt like Tyler was attempting to get to a bigger message, but he couldn’t find a way to clearly articulate it. It was clear he was starting to shed the anger induced teen image for a more mature sound, but it didn’t work that well. Luckily for him, he found it on Flower Boy.
The new album is confessing, metaphorically and literally speaking, relatable, and filled with raw emotion. “I wonder if you look both ways when you cross my mind,” he sings on “See You Again.” Followed by the line “can I get a kiss? And can you make it last forever?” Lovestruck moments and lines like this are littered throughout the album. Tyler aligned his thoughts with precision on Flower Boy. He successfully untwisted his complex thought processes, and put them to paper. Confessions, metaphors, and feelings. He accurately takes us inside the mind of an emotionally troubled, lovestruck young person. “Boredom got a new best friend,” Anna of the North says on single “Boredom”.
Listening to the album all the way through was smoother than any of his previous works. He transitions from track to track seamlessly. “Enjoy Right Now, Today” presents serene, groovy instrumentals that pulls the album together. Tyler didn’t drench any songs with unnecessary overproduction. He let the music take over here. As a result, it’s an easier, peaceful listen.
Tyler, who produced the whole album, stuck to his untraditional production methods here. At this point, it’s not something he should change. A large factor of what makes Tyler who he is, is in fact the unsettling yet experienced sounds he incorporates in his music. In a sense, it’s colorful. The one word that accurately describes Tyler in every facet. Any sense of him completely changing his approaches were thrown out the window as soon as “Who Dat Boy” was released as the album’s first single. It gave us a taste of a the days of his mixtape Bastard.
Tyler’s features were full of people that certainly compliment him. Pharrell, A$AP Rocky, Frank Ocean, Steve Lacy, and an in form Lil Wayne, who gets another feature after he hit it out of the park on “Smuckers” from Cherry Bomb. Even Jaden Smith hopped on the album with a catchy, repetitive hook on “Pothole.”
Tyler acknowledged what has been, and what has become on Flower Boy. This is, in my opinion, Tyler’s best work to date. I was curious to see when an evolution in his music would take place, and we have the beginning of it here. Tyler’s album is mentally liberating for him, and his fans. The lyrics on this album can really speak to people, not something that’s evident enough in hip-hop. His production is a language in that of itself. Flower Boy is one of 2017’s biggest gems to date.
Favorite tracks: Boredom, Where This Flower Blooms, See You Again, Who Dat Boy, Enjoy Right Now, Today
Overall rating: 8.7/10
You can stream Tyler, the Creator’s new album Flower Boy above.