Whether viewed as a modern genius or a shock tactician, both the musical and public antics of LA’s 22 year old rhymer/producer Tyler The Creator have divided opinion amongst many. Whilst outlandish music videos and controversial song topics have drawn criticism, his aptitude for constructing grimy, underground beats and penning creative narratives has been heralded for standing head and shoulders above the sea of mediocrity in Hip Hop. With the studio album, Goblin, rounding off a fairly successful 2011, 2013 finds Tyler back behind the mic and boards, with the aim of catching lightning in a bottle twice with his new LP, Wolf.
Wolf steps into familiar territory with regards of running themes throughout the album. Tyler’s inner psychiatrist, “Dr TC,” once again makes its presence felt in all of the rapper’s thoughts and decisions, this time being aided by an accomplice – “Sam.” [His alter-ego] Wolf Haley’s fondness for synths and dirty drones once again resurfaces on Wolf, handling all production [alongside a few co-producers].
First cut “Jamba” sees fellow Odd Future affiliate Hodgy Beats providing additional verses to aid Tyler’s monotonous, tongue-in-cheek rambles. At times refusing to bow down to any formulaic structure, Tyler the Creator’s verses are peppered with dark humour, short barbs and flow almost without a clear message within. Regardless, the subtle cleverness within most lines exhibit skill and, from twisting the usual take on love stories on “Awkward” to childishly spoofing hood anthems on “Trashwang,” Tyler’s dark humoured matter patents every track.
What impresses on Wolf are two factors. Firstly, amidst all the anarchy and senseless humour, Tyler the Creator successfully pens songs which delve beyond the adolescent nature often associated with him. Addressing the absent father in his life on “Answer,” the bottled up frustrations are expressed with minimal immaturity and instead transcribed with more feeling than expletives and abuse.
“Colossus” paints an encounter between rapper and fanatic, where both the thoughts of both are played out by Tyler [similar to Slick Rick's familiarised role-playing traits]. Odd Future’s talisman even goes beyond his own experiences and gets into the character of a local drug dealer on “48.” With segments of a Nas interview breaking up the track, TTC’s monologue explains the reasons for pursuing such actions and the consequences, his raspy tones having a sense of sincerity within.
The second element to be praised is the score which is crafted all by Tyler. Capturing the essence of the ’90s hardcore-meets-jazz arrangements, the mellow head nodding beats allow the Creator’s fiendish raps to echo loudly; notably on cuts “Cowboy,” “Rusty” (alongside brother Earl Sweatshirt and Casey Veggies) and the three part “Partyisntover/Campfire/Bimmer” featuring Frank Ocean and Stereolab singer Laetitia Sadier. Tyler the Creator’s arrangements also bear resemblance to the eclectic creations of super producers The Neptunes, with the most obvious tribute coming on the Pharrell-featuring “IFHY,” which the legendary beatmaker helped produce.
Tyler the Creator’s third offering could be viewed as the effort which finally bottles up the youthful rage which ran rampant on his prior works. The Erykah Badu-featuring “Treehome95″ inspires a sensitive, intimate affair whilst the closing track “Loner” revisits the events of his grandmother’s passing; his growing up is evidential. But with tracks such as “Domo23″ still following the familiar OFWGKTA formula, there still remains some elements of the wildchild which caught the attention of many some time ago.
Wolf favourably highlights the musical transition which Tyler the Creator has taken since Bastard first offended ears in 2009. With productions sounding crisper and the offensive lyricism toned down significantly, Wolf puts the spotlight on Tyler’s creativity as an artist instead of a moral panic, resulting in the 22 year old conjuring up numerous solid offerings. Bearing both the old and new artist equally, although his transition still bears some hiccups, Wolf demonstrates the merits of Tyler the Creator’s musicianship.
Courtesy Of SoulCulture