14 Songs, 46 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

As its title suggests (albeit a little backhandedly), Flower Boy explores a softer side of Tyler, the Creator. Not that he wasn’t thoughtful before, or that he’s lost his edge now—if anything, the dark wit and internal conflict that made Goblin a lightning bolt in 2011 has only gotten richer and more resonant, offset by a sound that cherry-picks from early-'90s hip-hop and plush, Stevie-style soul (“Garden Shed,” the Frank Ocean-featuring “911 / Mr. Lonely”). “Tell these black kids they can be who they are,” he raps on “Where This Flower Blooms.” “Dye your hair blue, s**t, I’ll do it too.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

As its title suggests (albeit a little backhandedly), Flower Boy explores a softer side of Tyler, the Creator. Not that he wasn’t thoughtful before, or that he’s lost his edge now—if anything, the dark wit and internal conflict that made Goblin a lightning bolt in 2011 has only gotten richer and more resonant, offset by a sound that cherry-picks from early-'90s hip-hop and plush, Stevie-style soul (“Garden Shed,” the Frank Ocean-featuring “911 / Mr. Lonely”). “Tell these black kids they can be who they are,” he raps on “Where This Flower Blooms.” “Dye your hair blue, s**t, I’ll do it too.”

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About Tyler, The Creator

The RZA and maybe even GZA of Odd Future, Tyler, The Creator is the alternative rap crew's main rapper, producer, and source of inspiration. Tyler Okonma got his first taste of fame when The Los Angeles Times ran a "teen on the street"-type story on the then 16-year-old skateboarding enthusiast, who was also interested in music and fashion. In 2007 he began making music with Odd Future's core members -- Earl Sweatshirt, Left Brain, and Hodgy Beats -- and by the summer of 2010, their bizarre, surreal, and filthy material had earned them a loyal following. It was during that year that a video Tyler directed for the Odd Future track "French" took off, topping a million views by December and drawing attention to the slew of crew-related mixtapes that followed, including Tyler's own, Bastard. He was also signed to the XL label in 2010 for a one-album deal. When Tyler's XL album Goblin arrived in 2011, it became the first Odd Future-related product to be released through the usual music industry channels. Wolf followed on Odd Future in 2013, with Left Brain and Frank Ocean returning as guests. Like Earl Sweatshirt's album from the same year, Tyler's 2015 effort, Cherry Bomb, another Odd Future label offering, leaked to online streaming services before its official release date. The album, which nonetheless became Tyler's third consecutive Top Ten entry, featured uncredited guest appearances from Kanye West and Lil Wayne. Tyler's number of productions and guest appearances continued to increase through collaborations with Ocean, the Internet, Domo Genesis, and A$AP Mob. Flower Boy, his fourth proper album, was issued through Columbia in 2017. ~ David Jeffries

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