Is it just me or is it crazy to think that it has already been 10 years since Tyler The Creator released his debut project Bastard? Well believe it or not, it is true. In that 10 year period, Tyler has become one of the most polarizing and controversial hip hop artists ever. From my experience, you either hate him or love him and there really isn’t an in-between. But no matter what your opinion of Tyler is, you have to admit that he is one hell of an artist that completely finessed the music industry.

Beginnings

Tyler The Creator, born Tyler Okonma, has loved music since he was a kid. He co-founded the creative collective Odd Future in 2007 and began releasing music in 2008 with The Odd Future Tape. A year later, he released his debut project Bastard. The project was met with critical acclaim by fans and critics. Meanwhile it was disliked by older audiences due to some vulgar and disturbing themes that it contained.

Following Bastard, Tyler released his first studio album Goblin in 2011. This album continued the concept of Tyler talking to his fictional therapist Dr. TC. The therapy sessions can be found on many tracks on the album. Goblin was another project that was loved by fans and critics for the most part, but disliked by older audiences. The project was considered horrorcore by many listeners, which made Tyler quite upset as he didn’t see it that way.      

Artistic progression

After releasing Goblin, it seemed like Wolf Haley was ready to make a change for the better in his career. A few years after releasing his debut album Goblin, Tyler released Wolf. Many saw this album as a great step up in maturity, cohesiveness, and subject matter compared to his previous releases. The project still had an interesting narrative concept like his previous releases and showed tinges of the type of horrorcore-esque vibes that made him popular in the first place, but it was something new entirely. He stepped up both is producing abilities and his rapping that made for a great project. It was met with generally positive reviews from critics and sold the most albums of his career thus far.

2015’s Cherry Bomb was another step in a new direction for Tyler. The album was his most varied and experimental work yet due to the many different genres it incorporates. Critics praised the album for the layered production it had as well as the increased maturity displayed by Tyler. Common knocks on the project include subpar rapping on some tracks as well as the feeling that a bit of the project was simply thrown together. The album didn’t have as much commercial success as his previous efforts simply due to it being a surprise release.

If you are a fan of Tyler The Creator, 2017 was almost certainly a great year for you. That year we received perhaps his best project yet in Flower Boy. The project was universally praised by critics upon release. It was given an average of 84/100 based on 18 reviews that were written. The project was highly praised because of how vulnerable Tyler was, how cohesive the project was, and how beautifully composed each track was.. It is widely agreed upon that this is his best album yet and even received a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album for it.

What’s next?

2019 is looking like another great year for Tyler and his fans. He recently announced the follow-up to Flower Boy in the form of his new album IGOR. Not much is known about the project at this point other than the title, cover art, and snippets of two songs. The album will release on May 17th, 2019 so check it out on streaming services and come back to kuteradio.org for an IGOR album review!        

What’s your point?

To put it frankly, Tyler The Creator wasn’t supposed to make it this far. He was one of the notorious bad guys in hip hop at a young age. Some of his critics even went as far as to say that Eminem already did what he was trying to do and did it way better than Tyler could ever think of doing it.

In response to the harsh criticism, Tyler showed maturity on each subsequent release in his career and proved everybody wrong. He is now considered by many as one of hip hop’s brightest stars at the ripe old age of 28. Tyler The Creator absolutely finessed the rap game and proved that no matter how you start something, there is always a way to get to where you want to be. He is the shining example of doing it your own way and creating a legacy that inspires people to truly be themselves.  

K-UTE Radio/University of Utah does not own any of the images in this piece.

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