Tyler, The Creator’s Best Rap Album Contender Sounds Even Better Live (Video)
Two weeks ago, Tyler, The Creator’s Flower Boy album was nominated in the Grammy category for “Best Rap Album.” The nod marks a first for the 26-year-old MC/producer. In 2013, Tyler was part of Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange cast that received an “Album Of The Year” nomination. Looking into next month, it’s about his solo music. The Creator’s fourth album (and first as part of Columbia Records’ system) is a bright point in a colorful year for music.
The de facto front-man of Odd Future used Flower Boy to comes across at his most sincere, without deviating from the oddball that made him an instant star in 2011. Tyler’s shortest of the four albums effectively presents the visionary that had everybody from The Game to Pusha T clamoring to work with him upon his breakthrough. It is less shock and much more awe.
Hitting NPR’s Washington, D.C. offices, Tyler, The Creator and his band’s 25-minute concert shows why Flower Boy is such a captivating listen. “I’ve only worked with one band [previously], and I f*ckin’ hated it. I’ve always hated Rap music—I don’t want to put it in a box, but I always hated Rap music with bands, ’cause it’s like, ‘Ni**a, I wanna hear 808’s and sh*t, not an Incubus kick-drum,'” says the artist who appeared during N*E*R*D’s set at this summer’s Roots Picnic in Philadelphia. “So I was always skeptical with—especially some of the drum sounds I use—how to use a band to my full potential. Like the chords and the musical aspect of my music, you may think it would work, but sometimes it just doesn’t get the full thought across. I’ve always been hesitant to even approach it. But I found these guys, and they’re really, really talented and we just mesh together. It actually just sounded really cool.” For the first time, Tyler and his band play these songs out, before an evening Tiny Desk crowd.
The Los Angelino is joined by two female vocalists, a keyboardist, an upright bass, and a drummer. Often known for a frantic, Punk Rock stage presence, the MC sits down with his band, not in front of them. He plays a second keyboard as he sings and raps. However, in delivering his words, the charismatic performer shows his charms. In between the trio of cuts, the persona is what Heads may expect, from a little crude to earnestly self-deprecating.
The song elections include “Boredom,” “See You Again,” and “Glitter.” These are some of the more intimate songs from the ’17 album. The songs confront angst, longing, and love. The complementary vibe is smooth and soulful. Tyler, The Creator helped organize a movement that affected the sound of Hip-Hop and R&B. With his new band, he shows that same kind of precise orchestration.
Flower Boy features Frank Ocean, A$AP Rocky, Lil Wayne, and Jaden Smith, among others.