WGRE Review: The maturing of Tyler, the Creator

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Tyler, the Creator is facing a turning point in his career.

Over the past couple of years, the once vilified rapper has shown considerable growth and maturit,y which has been felt in the film, music and fashion worlds. It is clear he is aware of this change in perception as he recently declared himself “borderline genius” in an interview with PBS host, Tavis Smiley. While we may have laughed at this bold claim a couple years ago, it is hard to ignore today.

Tyler, along with the other members of the hip-hop collective, Odd Future, initially got noticed for their youth, violent, demonic imagery and unique production featuring Pharrell-esque jazz chords over ear-shattering, fuzzed out snare hits. Releasing free albums through Tumblr, the group created a social media buzz that was impossible to ignore. As members achieved large commercial success between 2012-2013, they began focusing on their careers as solo endeavors. Odd Future slowly crumbled to the point where today they are no longer even featured on each others albums. Although he created the crew, Tyler was no exception.

We first saw a change in the rapper with the release of his third album, "Wolf." While the LP still featured enough expletives to send your grandmother to her grave, the subject matter was easier to stomach. Tyler showed us his emotional side by confronting his disdain for fame, the frustrations of young love and drug problems in his community. His production varied and while he still created bangers that make you question the quality of your sound system like “Domo23” and “Jamba,” it was clear he spent a lot of time on the audio aesthetics of tracks like “Treehome95” and “Answer.”

Shortly after it’s release, he shared a trailer for "Wolf: The Movie," a full-length film written, directed, starring and scored by the creator himself. After directing several music videos of his own, he’s shown that he’s serious about the craft and announced that he wants to turn his attention to film and away from rapping.

This past month, the rapper released his fourth album, "Cherry Bomb," and unveiled his newest, most impressive music video for singles “F***ing Young” and “Deathcamp.” Here we watch Tyler lay in a giant imaginary sunflower forest and battle movie theater attendants in a Wes Anderson style visual masterpiece that only raises excitement for his upcoming feature film.

The album itself is Tyler’s shortest and most uplifting project to date. The chorus of his song, “Find Your Wings” appears throughout the LP to inspire his listeners to follow their dreams and find their talents. This mantra certainly worked for Tyler and has taken him into a world of stardom where he trades verses with Kanye and Lil Wayne on “Smuckers” and multiple collaborations with his hero, Pharrell Williams. While this album, like most Tyler creations, consists of moments of brilliance sitting on a mountain of chaos, it displays his most versatile collection and makes us excited to see what direction he heads next.

His image in the media is shifting to adapt to his new musically mature persona. Instead of yelling about his favorite cartoon characters or insulting the interviewer, he’s been having in depth conversations with Larry King and Arsenio Hall about the state of music and the lack of emotional depth due to a selfie culture. Sure, his ego is continuing to grow with his success, but Tyler has gone from the kid we were all scared of to a man living his dreams and that’s certainly something to be proud of.

Is Tyler, the Creator a genius? Only time will tell, but we’ll have to enjoy watching him in order to find out.