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Rap - Released July 21, 2017 | Columbia

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
Proclaiming himself as Flower Boy T with that gravelly voice and irascible disposition befitting a proprietor of a rust-belt collision shop, Tyler, The Creator thrives on his paradoxical character and daily life throughout his self-produced fourth solo album. Despite the coarseness of its alternate title, Scum Fuck Flower Boy, this is easily the least vulgar Tyler release. It's also the most radiant one, akin to a modern-day N.E.R.D. album -- marching-band drums, curlicue strings and synthesizers, candy-coated melodies galore -- filled with purpose, lacking in aimless frivolity. This is a major creative advancement, no slapdash repository of provocations and whims. Going by the preceding lead double A-side, the album's essence was impossible to forecast. There was little indication from the pairing of the bare-knuckled blast "Who Dat Boy" with "911/Mr. Lonely," where a longing Tyler, over a supreme dazed groove, sees adoring fans and fast cars -- the latter self-effacingly acknowledged elsewhere as a recurring album theme -- as inadequate fill-ins for one-on-one time. The album contains another hard-hitting track in the form of "I Ain't Got Time!," with the rhymes ranging from routine threats to singular declarations ("Next line will have 'em like 'Whoa'/I been kissing white boys since 2004"), but its makeup is typified more by "911" and the similarly lively "Find Your Wings," off the preceding Cherry Bomb. Even with combination bleacher-stomping/trunk-rattling drums and an F-bomb, "See You Again" is a positively kaleidoscopic love song, tricked out with laser zaps, xylophones, strings, horns, and sugary lines like "I'd give up my bakery to have a piece of your pie." On "Pothole," a low-profile standout, Tyler approaches driving as a metaphor for life, laments his solitude and vehicular escapism, but then proudly asserts his lone-wolf status over the sheep: "I'd rather drown in a pool by myself than fuck with they fleece." While most of these songs are rife with anxiety and isolation, the open-hearted lyricism and wide-scoped productions, put together by an artist in peak form, make them immensely engrossing. Frank Ocean, Pharrell Williams, Kali Uchis, Syd, and Estelle are among 11 supporting cast members, not one of whom is inessential to the whole. ~ Andy Kellman

Rap - Released April 1, 2013 | Odd Future

Beginning with a serene and grand intro/title track that's slowly F-bombed into oblivion -- and that's both F-bombs, the one that rhymes with "duck," and the one that rhymes with "stag" -- Tyler, The Creator's third solo effort Wolf is a frustrating jumble. On one hand, there are the old and now crusty elements where blogs get skewered, professional music review sites get called out by name, and that homophobic slur is dropped with abandon, something made all the more perplexing when Frank Ocean ("out" and Odd Future/Tyler-associated singer) takes time out from his rise to the top to sing with an old friend. Of course, the N-bomb also flies out the door like it was put on clearance, and while Tyler's great feedback loop (he offers a freak out; people freak out; he freaks out about people freaking out, etc.) doesn't reach its Zen breakthrough on Wolf (it's arguably spiraling downward), this album comes from one reinvigorated provocateur as his vocal delivery is sharp and his punch lines punchier. Then, there's the pre-release talk from the man himself, giving the throwback album an out by declaring it not the end of the Bastard, Goblin trilogy and also not a lyrics album but a production showcase, that latter bit being a return to when Tyler was the wild underground hip-hop crew's behind-the-boards-guy as much as their leader. The two worlds collide on the suite that goes "Partyisntover/Campfire/Bimmer" as parties, cabins, cars, and other teenage hangouts turn into goth hang-ups (draggy synths lie underneath "We could try to dance, but I ain't got no rhythm"), but what's new and "now" is that guest Ocean sounds like the Grammy-man he's become, and an appearance from former Stereolab singer Laetitia Sadier just wasn't possible in those early uploading days. "IFHY" is another throwback as an emo kid evolves into a serial killer during the course of a love letter, and yet superstar Pharrell is on the cut, million-dollar crooning over some drippy production that came from Tyler's stickered-up laptop. Later, there's majestic songstress Erykah Badu on the near novelty number "Treehome95" (neo-soul meets Jellystone Park where all pillow talk numbers will be sung by Boo-Boo Bear) while Odd Future crew members Domo Genesis and Earl Sweatshirt land on a number that's Tyler circa 2013, with "Mollys" and whatnot updating their lingo as the music grows into something well-funded and filled with twangy guitars from Tarantinoland. Hearing the old days with major-label money wouldn't be enough, so smart production tricks ("Jamba" is a jittery, cut-up joy and "Awkward" sounds like a teen nightmare on sizzurp), wacky lyrics that grab ("He hates women, but loves kittens" or "Sick and getting bigger like I sneezed on Adele"), and some rock-solid highlights ("Domo23" is an electro karate chop, "Trashwang" is the posse cut on a good trip, while "Cowboy" is an irresistible, sizzurpy singalong) help carry this one. It's a fun album for fanatics, but the willingness to shock feels too comfortable at this point, so those who found it tiresome before will likely find it devastating here. ~ David Jeffries

Rap - Released March 30, 2018 | Columbia


Rap - Released April 13, 2015 | Odd Future

It's hard not to link Tyler, The Creator's effort Cherry Bomb to Earl Sweatshirt's 2015 LP I Don't Like Shit, since these Odd Future-related albums were released less than a month apart; plus, they were both digitally leaked ahead of their official street date. Earl's leak got the wealth of attention, and being the more lean and purposeful machine, it was deserved, but Tyler's long-playing drop is still a joyful noise, kicking with plenty of kinetic energy and coming on strong with an unforgiving OCD attitude that just won't quit. The most beautiful, and meaningless, manifestation of this attitude is the way the smooth and jazzy "Find Your Wings" segues into the drill 'n' bass title track, as muted trumpets, xylophones, crunching guitars, and Atari Teenage Riot-styled compression all fly by like the creepy albums Bastard (2009) and Goblin (2011) never happened. Sillier still, "The Brown Stains of Darkeese Latifah Pts. 6-12 (Remix)" pops and locks with some added Ying Yang Twins flavor; then there's the wild experience of Kanye West ("Richer than white people with black kids") and Lil Wayne ("Son you need Jesus/But I hear he left Sunset, to go on tour with Yeezus") mixing with Tyler acting as unforgiving as ever ("Like a HIV victim, nobody F'n with me"). Lyrically, shock tactics and the rapper's returning paranoia mix with some positive vibes and '60s-flavored pop songs (check "Okaga, CA" for proof), and yet, this one could be seen as fractured to a fault. Returning customers who like Tyler the ringleader, or Tyler the producer, will find this to be too much of a good thing, and can embrace the free-form Cherry Bomb as another freaky trip worth taking. ~ David Jeffries

Rap - Released June 30, 2017 | Columbia


Rap - Released July 12, 2017 | Columbia


Pop - Released August 3, 2018 | 2018 Dj Moodz


Rap - Released July 19, 2017 | Columbia


Rap - Released February 15, 2013 | Odd Future