The modern-day Renaissance Man; Tyler, The Creator acts as a writer, producer, video director, runway producer, fashion designer, musician, and finally artist. Tyler burst on the scene like a flash of lighting, becoming a major staple in hip-hop music, the TV screens, and a spotlight for his bold movements that caused both a wave of controversy, but also a wave of fans. The man with the most loyal fans, the ones that will cherish what he makes till the end, the ones that sell his creations out in less than an hour, the ones that think he is the second coming, the ones that devote their life to him, Tyler, The Creator is a genius in his craft and a true treasure in self-expression.
His newest record, Flower Boy is a leap from his sound both: five, three, and even last year. Tyler is instead opting to make Flower Boy have some resemblance to his 2015 release, Cherry Bomb, but does not have the same brash lyrical style or themes. Flower Boy is about his growth and where his personal thoughts leak into what he believes will happen with the future. His opening track “Foreword” is explanatory of his ability to stick as the individual and how he begins to question what is in store for him in the incoming days of his fame. Tyler asks, “How many cars can I buy ‘til I run out of drive, how much drive can I have ‘til I run out of road, how much road can they pave ‘til I run out of land, how much land can there be until I run in the ocean?”. Tyler does not question his ideas or the way he reached this superstardom, but he does start to question what is in store next. Tyler has done incredible things through his career and he still has so much time to still create and display his artistic reach, with Flower Boy he changes the formula and displays a swerving motion toward making sheer beauty through his string sections and personal ideas.
Tyler, The Creator has been able to create approachable and relatable stories without sacrificing his level of monetary wealth, or his level of fame. Flower Boy is no different and lets the personal flood gates open even more, letting the audience gain peeks into the truth behind what Tyler sees himself as. Even on his opening track “Foreword” with Rex Orange County, Rex explains, “And if I down and don’t come back, who’s gonna know? And if I crash and don’t come back, who’s gonna know? And if I fall and don’t come back, who’s gonna know? I’m wondering if I don’t come back, maybe then I’ll know”. Rex Orange County includes this level of self-questioning, but also a level of beauty behind the visions as well. His voice is like a guiding motion of the inner conscious that we all share, the voice in the head that questions what would happen if we just fell off the Earth tomorrow. This is the forward questioning that is present through most of Flower Boy and while the overall method that Flower Boy is presented in is gorgeous, Flower Boy is actually slightly paranoid, schizophrenic, and angered. Even when buried underneath all that beauty, there is still demons that Tyler brings to the table.
The following track, “See You Again” is one where Tyler calls on the use of Kali Uchis once again to create these dreamscapes of vivid angelic voices to create a sense of hope behind Tyler’s original message on his previous tracks. “See You Again” was one of the tracks that stood out for the way that it rises in emotion from the string sections of a loving embrace to the then booming 808’s when Tyler finally takes up the rhyming mantle. The opening of the track is something that is simple, but incredibly catchy as well, “20/20 20/20 vision, Cupid hit me, Cupid hit me with precision, eye, wonder if you look both ways when you cross my mind. I’m sick of chasing, you’re the one that’s always running through my day dreams, I can only see your face when I close my eyes”. This is then the segue for Kali Uchis to come in and beg, “Can I get a kiss and can you make it last forever”. There is an unbelievable contrast between “See You Again” and the following track, “Who Dat Boy” which was one of the singles featured that accompanied a visual as well.
From the beauty to the dirty, Tyler moves quickly into the following tracks of Flower Boy with the three other singles that he released, “Boredom”, “I Ain’t Got Time”, and “911 / Mr. Lonely” where Tyler, The Creator continues to switch his style from the calm and collected to the rapid and sporadic style that he adapted from earlier in his career. But the track that comes much later, “November” is one of the tracks that standout for showing Tyler’s insecurities and what he thinks about himself. “November” acts as a mirror where Tyler can analyze his life, choices, and the decisions that those made around him, Tyler begins “What if Clancy fuckin’ me over? What if ‘Who Dat Boy’ is rhetorical and this shit is over? What if I’m hustling backwards?”. But Tyler also uses “November” as a way to illustrate how November stands for a great moment in your life, or a time where everything fell into place. He uses his friends on the interlude of fragmented voices to display a time where they explain, “My November was those Odd Future Sundays, where we used to skate all day” or “My November was seeing Erykah Badu perform”.
“November” is otherwise quite beautiful, but Tyler then explains, “Take me back, take me back, I ain’t doing fine, lost my mothafuckin’ mind. Time travel back and help me find, take me back, take me back to November, this I know… ‘My November is right now’”. Tyler then leads into one of the final tracks of Flower Boy, “Glitter” which is a firework explosion of a track that sends Flower Boy onto its final departure. The soft funk style and the dreamy guitar is simply gorgeous, as well as the tempo changes that take “Glitter” into slow motion, almost showing the slowing motion of Flower Boy and how it has reached its final moments. Tyler explains on the final verse, “We can track 10 skip trace, I’m caught in your quicksand, wait, please don’t save me”.
Flower Boy is a step away from what Tyler was doing two years ago, four years, ago, and even last year. He moves so well and produces himself in a way that is approachable to any listener that has seen his older releases to his newest. Tyler, The Creator makes beautiful music, and his final moments on Flower Boy are just the icing that carries him into the next adventure like the wind and seeds. Flower Boy is hopefully not an end for the artist, but a short blooming that can grow into a long-term relationship with himself and his own ideas.