Out the gate, I like Tyler the Creator’s “Wolf”, a lot. “Wolf” is Tyler’s 3rd studio album, and my favorite. It accomplishes all of the things a solid hip hop album should: 1) Have very few songs that I want to skip when I listen to it in full. 2) Have some sort of cohesive theme or concept that progresses through the project. 3) Contains vulnerable truths about the artist. 4) Gives us elements we love about the artist, and things we haven’t heard before on previous joints.
The entire record is produced by Tyler himself, which helps accomplish cohesiveness and flow. The over all tone is less dark and more mellow than the previous Goblin and Bastard, and is appropriate in listening environments that you might not expect from a Tyler project, like date night in the car, or after dinner on a patio with your friends who blow trees and play Cranium.
One vital element a modern hiphop album must contain, is value. Fans are looking for true LP’s that serve an array of listening purposes. We need it to bang on the way to the club, mellow us out after the club, uplift us on the way to work, and calm the nerves coming home from work. People want to fight, fuck, and dream to an album again. This tape is 18 songs long, and it’s diverse yet very focused.
It definitely touches all the most important bases. The only critique one could really have for the tape would be based on preference and not being a fan of the OFWGKTA sound.
Or the fan who hates it because it doesn’t sound like the previous albums. These are fans of albums, not an artist.
I think listeners will enjoy the album if they appreciate Tyler the Creator for what he is: A young guy from LA, who raps really well, makes well executed and very unique albums, and brilliantly, hilariously and viciously expresses aggression, while displaying the classic and always relevant teenage angst and style.
And if his music still isn’t your thing, you gotta respect him for these reasons.
Tyler’s content is inspired of the same things as his previous endeavors, but obviously through an older perspective and eyes.
Stuff I liked:
“Colossus” is about the reality of Tyler the Creator’s celebrity. It’s about going from being the kid no one wants to fuck with because you’re weird, to everyone wanting to be your friend and at least shake your hand and sign your Supreme hat, and tell you how much they love Yonkers; a song you weren’t even really bonkers over.
We want artists to give us intimate views of their mind and life, which means when they get famous, we’re going to get these sorts of images. Tyler describes trying to enjoy a day at Magic Mountain, while being hassled with well wishes, requests for autographs and pics, and praise for Yonkers. I found it interesting that he talks about Yonkers like he really didn’t love the song. He even jokes about the roach eating gimmick in the video. I recall similar stories of how the songs the fans end up liking the most, are often the ones the artist never really took too seriously, like “M.E.T.H.O.D. Man”.
After Tyler expresses frustration for fan boys crowding his space while he’s just trying to ride “Colossus”, he redeems himself and speaks on the reasons why he still gives time to return the love of fans. The song is way more about the love he has for fans even though sometimes it’s a pain in the ass to show love when he just wants to ride Colossus, than it is the rant of a male diva. Word to Kanye.
I like this style of Tyler. It’s a minimalistic beat; muffled live kick drum and snare, no high hats, some isolated bluesy guitar notes and jazzy piano keys. Tylers production tends to have empty space, which lends itself to an emcee with a very dense style of writing. In other words, the beat gives him room to rap, and doesn’t overshadow him. This often happens when an emcee makes beats.
“Knock knock motherfucks it’s me Mr. Clusterfuck
What, when, where, how, like who gives a fuck
Golf Wang M-O-B, mopping niggas ante up
Ain’t been this fucking sick since brain cancer ate my Granny up”
“Do you know how weird it is knowing I make a bunch of cheese
While my friends can’t afford little pizzas from Little Caesars
And their whole goal is to roll up and smoke bowls
So I don’t feel bad when they not eating
(But you still treating us, you punk bitch)”
Raw styles and boombap sounds.
Emotional vulnerability is something Tyler’s whole catalogue exhibits, and this album has more mushy songs than the previous; “Answer” being the best one. I dig when people articulate common painful experiences well. Everyone knows what it’s like to crave talking to someone we used to love but parted ways with, or spent too little time with before they passed away in death. The build of the track is nice, and the song’s really focused. The organs and surf guitars lend themselves to the nostalgic vibe.
What I felt it missed:
I really wanted a super aggressive posse cut like “Rella”, or at least a beat with that sort of turnt energy, and it seems like the song Domo23 meant to accomplish that, but it falls short. Not that the song is bad, it’s just a watered down solo version of “Rella”.
The video is funny, but not as funny as Rella. The song feels like Rella Lite.
Will you like it?
I think you should if you like good hip hop music. But you’ll like this if you already like the rapper, and don’t mind a more mature Tyler. I dig it, and I actually find this Tyler less gimmicky and more genuine. This is my favorite of his 3 records. You might even like this if you’ve never been a Tyler fan, but dig his treatments on Frank Ocean’s music.
You won’t like this if you already don’t like Tyler, or you want the exact same Tyler you got on his first 2 albums. To you people I say, “buy his old albums”. Word to Hov. I’m glad that he seems to be evolving into a more mature artist and his music seems to be able to grow with him, without becoming dated, forced, or corny. Word to LL.
Words by: Devon “Ironchef” Ward