Album Review: Tyler the Creator, ‘WOLF’

matt agosta is loitering …

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Regardless if someone is a fan or not, almost everyone has noticed Odd Future front man Tyler, The Creator. Whether it is his wacky in-your-face tweets, his [adult swim] show Loiter Squad, or the music Tyler and his fellow Odd Future members constantly dish out, Tyler clearly has his spot in pop culture. With Tyler’s last release, Goblin, and breakout song “Yonkers”, he grew a large fan base that will support him and his team no matter what, but some people believe his music tries too hard to get people’s attention with his intense and gruesome lyricism. With his newest release WOLF, Tyler wishes to change that and be taken more seriously as an artist.

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WOLF continues the story of him and his therapist that was introduced in his first albums Bastard and Goblin, but this time his introduces two other sides of his personality. Wolf is the side of him that loves jazz, riding on his bike Slater, and hanging out with girls by the lake. Sam is the other side that is angry and pissed off at his surroundings, and just wants to fuck around with his friends. Each of the songs on the album switch between Wolf and Sam and explores how Tyler struggles between these different sides of him.

As far as the music goes, Odd Future fans have nothing to worry about. This is still a Tyler, The Creator album and he keeps up with his love of the words “fuck” and “fag”, offensive and controversial lyricism, and all the things that got the media and fans attention at the start. But with WOLF, Tyler has not only grown as a rapper and a producer, but also as a songwriter. Songs like “Awkward” and “IFHY” are love songs that go into situations like his first date and the trials and tribulations of being in a relationship. “Bimmer” compares his love for a girl while comparing her to his car. Tyler has much more personal tracks as well like “Answer” in which the first verse goes into him desperately wanting his absent father to answer his phone call, “Colossus” goes into his struggles with fame and obsessive fans, and “Lone” which explains his first experience with loss, the death of his grandmother.

Tyler also has those tracks that makes his fans want to go insane at his shows with the first single “Domo23”, “Tamale”, and “Trashwang.” This track is a posse cut featuring all the friends in his crew, some that don’t even rap. However, Tyler and his production will still get fans to wild out, even though the lyrics by his friends are pretty sub-par. “Jamaba”, which features Odd Future member Hodgy Beats, and “Cowboy” are songs that fans have come to expect and love from Tyler. “Pigs” is an angrier track by his personality Sam who is tired of getting picked on by the popular kids in school and just wants to rebel against anything and everything. These tracks continue where Tyler left off with his previous albums, but at the same time progressing his style as well.

Tyler has always been known for his production, but WOLF takes it to the next level. Each beat is much more melodic than his last efforts, and his love for jazz and N.E.R.D. are fully noticeable. “Treehome95” which has Tyler’s production speak for itself while Coco O. and Erykah Badu handle the vocals. The title track “WOLF” is an instrumental that is a wonderful introduction to what the feel of the rest of the album will be, and “Slater”, which is a track that has Wolf expressing the love for his bike, has recently Grammy award winning Frank Ocean adding some background vocals next to Tyler’s piano chords and guitars. Every track throughout the album makes it blatantly obvious that Tyler has been hard at work on the piano and his program of choice, Reason, to improve his skills on the boards. Drums, strings, horns, and guitars are beautifully used to express all the ideas and themes Tyler is trying to portray on this album.

If you know Tyler, you know he doesn’t care about the “rap game”; some can argue that is the reason why Tyler is so different than what is already out there. He doesn’t overload his albums with features of high profile artists, he doesn’t conform his beats and raps to get radio play, and he will never be under the control of a money driven major label. With WOLF, he is showing the world he is a true artist and his craft is truly what matters to him. Whether he’s rapping, making beats, directing videos, designing clothes, or even crafting every inch of the album artwork, Tyler is an artist. And whether you support him or not, you have to respect him.

Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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