Tyler, the Creator keeps it odd with Wolf

Odd Future’s front man offends and entertains with new album

Odd Future shook up the music scene upon arrival. Before them, eccentricity was limited to Outkast’s André 3000, who would wear flamboyant colors in contrast to bandmate Big Boi’s masculine image.

Never in hip hop history would an act rapping about dancing in women’s clothing for fun or committing suicide have succeeded past one-hit-wonder status.

That was before the Odd Future movement invaded the hip hop community, starting with a steady cult following, which has now been absorbed in the mainstream.

Odd Future seems like those kids in high school who huffed paint in the washrooms and would get kicks from pulling the fire alarm. Now those kids are running the music industry, branching out with other artists and making appearances at the Grammys.

Odd Future has made it cool to be weird.

No one is more forthcoming with their weirdness than Tyler, the Creator himself. Tyler has stepped back over the last year, as his label mate Frank Ocean created waves with his debut album “Channel Orange,” which is as close to R&B perfection as anything we’ve seen in the last few years, as well as being the first mainstream R&B artist to come out as bisexual.

[pullquote]”Odd Future has made it cool to be weird.”[/pullquote]

It was intriguing to see if Ocean coming out would impact Tyler’s music; in the past both Tyler and Odd Future have thrown out the F-word that rhymes with maggot more than they make fun of Earl Sweatshirt’s lips.

Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment

Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment

Fear not, Odd Future fans, commercial success hasn’t changed Tyler’s creative style. His music contains substance but it’s interplayed with offensive lyrics and jokey rhymes.

No one is safe from Tyler’s wrath: he goes after the music industry, negative blogs and fake industry friends on the album. Tyler even pokes fun at industry goddess Adele on “Rusty” with the lyrics “sick and getting bigger/ like I sneezed on Adele.”

In between his audacious lyrics, you realize that Tyler is brave; he isn’t afraid to show his raw wounds to the world.

The most authentic track is “Lone” in which he paints a real portrayal of his shift from class clown of OFWTGA to an artist backed by a major label. Most rappers touch on the subject but don’t often go past saying that the industry isn’t “all it’s cracked out to be.” Tyler takes it a step further and scripts an image so vivid that it makes you understand why an entire generation sees him as a visionary.

Indeed, it’s startling to realize that at twenty-two, Tyler is at the helm of an entire crew of rappers, and heavily promotes all of the artists in the group. Many of these artists make an appearance on the album — Earl Sweatshirt is on the aforementioned “Rusty” and Frank Ocean makes an appearance on two songs, singing sweetly on “Slater”.

Listening to Wolf is freedom from the symphonic similarity that is often churned out by major labels.  Tyler seems to have no filter, no inhibitions — he tells it like it is whether he knows what it is or not.

It’s an attitude that is infectious and it can be especially intriguing for the type-A set.

 

Songs to listen to: “Treehome 95“, “48”, “Colossus”

OVERALL GRADE: A-

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