02 April 2013

REVIEW: Tyler, The Creator - Wolf


"Wolf," the finale in the trilogy from rapper/producer and chief of Odd Future, Tyler, The Creator has been a long time coming. He had been talking the album up for the past three years, and after suffering countless delays Tyler releases the most cohesive solo album in his young career. From the hilarious, yet somber intro, you can hear a marked improvement on the production side of things. And as you witness this trend continue through songs like "Answer," the Pharrell-assisted "Ifhy," and the triple-threat-in-one "PartyIsntOver / Campfire / Bimmer," you notice a significant amount of  growth.

The Eminem-esque content and impressive lyricism that he has come to be known for is apparent in spades, but one song in particular is almost a direct "Stan" ripoff. The song "Colossus" illustrates an encounter Tyler has with a crazed fan with mild homosexual tendecies. It's more comedic than depressing, which I think was good choice on his part. Despite all of the comparisons to the dark tone of Eminem's music, Tyler always finds a way to keep the mood light with off the wall lines and ad-libs that will have you cracking up.

But this album isn't about flexing any lyrical muscle, nor is it anywhere near as dark and loner-friendly as his previous efforts. The real star on "Wolf" is the near-masterful production (by Tyler, himself) throughout most of the album. He crafted several smooth Frank Ocean inspired beats that should be enough to at least catch the ear of skeptics. He had similar songs sprinkled across "Bastard," but these marijuana-induced tracks take center stage on "Wolf." No longer do we have to trudge through over an hour of ear-wrenching music about chopping bodies up. It's evident Tyler realizes people respect his talent now. What better opportunity for him to put his versatility on full display?

His previous two albums weren't easy listening for those who weren't prepared for the onslaught of verses about murder, drugs, and rape, but if you were to dig deeper and simply pay attention to the way he strung words together and delivered them, you would have seen glimpses of the artist that is (almost) in full bloom on "Wolf." Tyler is a misunderstood genius, and while many simply can't force themselves to give his music an honest shot, a true music lover should be able to at least appreciate the calculated risks the young boy takes. He was definitely reaching much further on "Goblin," and even more so on "Bastard," but as a rapper/producer in your late teens/early 20s, it's difficult to have your voice heard amidst the endless sea of watered-down nonsense in hip-hop. The man works his ass off and his brand of music has spawned an entirely new sub-genre. When it's all said and done, he will be credited as one of the few for pioneering an entire genre-shift and movement that looks to have some longevity without giving in to label norms. If "Bastard" and "Goblin" seemed like demonic cries for attention, then "Wolf," by comparison, is his humble display of gratitude to those who finally give him the respect he deserves as an artist.

Twitter: @BestInTheMix @TwonJonson

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