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Sunday 9th of December 2018
Matt Sachs 1305 29th of April 2013 by editor 29th of April 2013
Tyler the Creator - Wolf

Matt Sachs reviews Tyler the Creator´s latest album, released on the Columbia label

Whatever you think of Tyler the Creator, the leader and co-founder of the LA-based rap collective Odd Future, there is no denying his unusual path to success, which started with a pair of viral YouTube videos in 2011. The first and most memorable, for the song Yonkers, portrays Tyler eating a cockroach, vomiting, and subsequently hanging himself, and his mix of menace and adolescent playfulness brought the young rapper to the public eye. Two years later, Tyler the Creator is releasing Wolf, his third self-produced album, which, like his videos, features shocking and disturbing lyrics and blends the bravado and aggression of hip-hop with the angst and vigour of heavy metal. There are serious themes—“Answer” is directed at his father, whom he has never met, and it describes the conflicting emotions of his hatred for him yet desire to call him. Tyler’s music has never really had much place for melody or hooks; the intense, demonic beats serve only to support his dizzying, lyrical flow and characteristic growl. Wolf, however, contains a little less rapping and a little more musical refrain. “Treehome95”, for example, is a completely vocalised duet with Erykah Badu and is sung over a jazzy keyboard and soft strings. On “48”, which features Odd Future member and recent Grammy-winner, Frank Ocean, horns, bouncing piano fills, and a plucked electric guitar create a laidback feel and slows down Tyler’s pace to highlight the internal rhythm of his words. With its numerous pop culture references, clever wordplay, and interwoven storyline, Wolf is nothing if not entertaining. But entertaining does not necessarily mean good, and pure entertainment is not always what is desired from an album. Crudeness and cheekiness, however clever and earnest, can only carry so far and without a more diverse and intriguing sonic landscape to support it, it’s hard for Wolf to be continually captivating.

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