Tyler, the Creator
Today’s review is on Tyler, the Creator’s mixtape Bastard on which he and some members of his crew, Odd Future, have made a name for themselves among hipsters and which led to Tyler getting signed to XL records to record his debut album Goblin. Tyler, the Creator is a rapper from L.A. who paints vivid pictures of some pretty fucked up shit in his rhymes. In that sense he’s not unlike Eminem. (Although for the time being I would say I don’t see Tyler writing something as brilliantly disturbing as Em’s Just the Two of Us) However Tyler doesn’t ever sound as agitated as Marshall Mather does when he goes horrorcore. He sounds more calm and amused, not unlike Curtis Jackson does whenever he calls out whoever he doesn’t like this month. But unlike 50 Cent he isn’t locked in an everlasting tough guy pose. (Although he is locked in an everlasting crazy fuck pose. Like most rapper who aren’t Will Smith Tyler cannot possibly have done most of the shit he raps about because he’d be dead or in jail if he had. Although allegedly he did break a leg while stage-diving from the balcony of my hometown Amsterdam’s best concert joint Paradiso, so what do I know? Maybe he is as crazy as he portrays himself to be) His perpetual strangeness makes him similar to Kool Keith, ODB and/or Lil’ Wayne while not actually sounding like any of those people and finally his hipster sensibilities make his self-presentation a bit similar to that of Kanye and Pharrell while his “Dude, did ya hear that shit I said? xD”-attitude is a bit Eazy-E-ish. In other words he has a variety of musical influences but because they are so various and none of them dominates, so he comes off as a rather original sounding fella. The first song of his I got to hear was off course Yonkers with it’s lame ass, strictly-for-the-shock-value video and ditto lyrics which did off course inform me that he is in fact a decent rapper but didn’t necessarily make me want to check out more of his music. After that I was shown his guest appearance on the Neptunes-produced Pusha-T single Trouble on my Mind. Now that was some shit. While Pusha sticks to his usual Mafioso coke rapping on that song Tyler’schooses to completely ignore his host and rather rap about Reptar’s triceratops dinosaur dick. While Pusha is one of my favourite artists and actually dropped some really clever lines in the preceding verse Tyler made me forget all about him actually being on the song until Pusha returned for verse number two.
Here’s a review of his debut mixtape Bastard, released for free onto the internet in 2009.While I’m not interested in reviewing mixtapes with Lil’ Wayne rapping over something his DJ stole off T.I.’s latest hit single this consists as far as I know of new songs with original beats by Tyler so that’s why this gets a pass.
Well, after an intro which says fuck you to a bunch of people we get… another intro performed by a digitally lowered voice (probably his own) claiming to be Tyler’s therapist. Then Tyler starts talking some depressing shit over a piano and little more, except for a synth which occasionally plays a single note. Later there’s some synthetic strings sprinkled on top. This is a pretty effective introduction to the delusional world of our host. At the end the therapist’s voice asks Tyler what he would like to tell his dead father if he could tell him anything.
On this track Tyler answers the question posed in the previous one in such a grotesque way I had to replay Bastard to check whether he claimed if his father was dead or had just left his family and him. I’m still not sure… Anyway there’s a lot of good rapping on here, although if you’re quickly offended and/or without humor you should stay clear of this, but the beat, while serving it’s purpose doesn’t do much for me.
3. Odd Toddlers (feat. Casey Veggies)
While this beat is hella smooth. It’s not the best shit ever put on wax but it has an old school smooth jazz vibe I definitely dig. I’m pretty sure a sample must’ve been used because I can’t imagine anyone in the Odd Future crew doing these vocals. Alas, this was a free mixtape without credits other than produced by Tyler, the Creator so we’ll never know. Our host goes against the smoothness of the track by spitting among others less significant subjects lsd, transsexuals and selling his soul to the devil for 30% off. This is the third track in a row he mentions his father being dead so I’d appreciate some variation in subject matter, thank you very much. No idea if his father being dead is true by the way. Anyway, guest rapper Casey Veggies sounds tame in comparison to our host, but even Pusha T sounded boring compared to Tyler on that Trouble on my Mind track, while that guy actually would’ve been fine on his own. The instrumental switches up here and there but never do all the elements of the song change at the same time so there’s some continuity in this track. This was decent.
4. French (feat. Hodgy Beats)
Yeah I’m getting pretty much bored out of my mind by this shock-value-for-shock-value’s-sake-in-punchlines route the Creator seems to take every track. This Hodgy beats guy sounds decent enough but his lyrics don’t match Tyler’s. I’m beginning to see why Tyler is considered a hipster rapper. His use of the word faggot is apparently intended to be ironic, but being ironic for being ironic’s sake is pretty much the equivalent of cool suicide, which is hipsterdom in a nutshell. The beat sounds like a bastardisation (no pun intended) of the Neptunes beat for the Clipse’s Mr. Me Too, since again I don’t have all the credits I don’t know if Hodgy Beats co-produced this as his artist name would imply.
So that’s how the unnatural duet that is Trouble on my Mind has come to exist! Pusha-T sells Tyler his blow. It seems the therapist who pops up here and there on Bastard has given up on treating our host and has joined him in snorting yay because he sings along on this song’s chorus. Oh, and a caucasian female dies at the end of this track for those keaping score. It is implied, though not outright stated that Tyler is responsible. Ooooh edgy!
6. Pigs Fly (feat. Domo Genesis)
This sounds like a beat Kanye started making for 808’s & Heartbreak but decided not to finish it halfway. The lyrics consist of (yawn) more ironic horrorcore punch lines.
Please refer to my comments on Pigs Fly
8. Slow it Down (feat. Hodgy Beats)
This track is unfocused like one of those randomly put-together mash-up videos of one of your favorite song and some terrible electronic crap which somebody made after getting really, really, really drunk and thought it was so aweseome he had to put it on youtube.
9. Ass Milk (feat. Earl Sweatshirt)
Features Odd Future’s m.i.a. member Earl Sweatshirt. He doesn’t sound as good as the hype would have you believe he is but I suppose his raps are impressive taking into consideration that he’s like 15. I would like to hear what he sounds like when he gets out of that boarding school in Africa his mother sent him after she heard some of the lyrics he spit with his friends. Maybe it were lyrics taken from this song that did the trick as some parents who’ve never heard Eminem may find Ass Milk offensive…
Most of the beats on Bastard sound like a bunch of 15 year olds fucking around with fruityloops after choking on some of that good shiy… That’s probably not far from the truth I guess.
11. Session (feat. Hodgy Beats & Mike G)
Also, Tyler doesn’t seem to like bloggers. Well fuck you too!
Some girl disses Tyler and ends up raped and murdered. Not that I believe one can’t make songs about rape and murder because I am against all forms of censorship, but raping and killing a bunch of women of the course of different tracks of a singular album will end up repetitive and boring. Couldn’t rob a bank, or illegaly download some music to switch uo the crimes occasionally? Now, the voice of the therapist is a policeman. I guess Odd Future had only one voice effect on their computer during the recording of Bastard, eh?
13. Jack and the Beanstalk
The voice which once represented a therapist now paraphrases Jay-Z’s What More Can I Say off his 2004 classic The Black Album. The hook consists of that vocal and Tyler repeating ‘Nigga, no hook!’ which is a goddamn lie…
14. Tina (feat. Jasper & Taco)
This sounds like one of those lame ass southern bounce tracks by DJ Khaled, but one which has been given up on halfway during it’s creation. Tina is British slang for crystal meth, which I suppose isn’t something Tyler and his two guests rappers knew when they used it as this song’s title. Tina is also the name of Napoleon’s pet lama in that godawful Napoleon Dynamite movie, which I suppose is also unrelated to this song. The hook consists of the command “Tina burn your fucking weed!” and the repeated exclamation of the word “Swag” so yeah… This was pretty fucking terrible.
The beat features some nice loungy piano keys but because of the Christmas bells and useless drums it still doesn’t click. Also, another song about his father being dead. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to wait to the next album anyway to find out if he got over it or found something else to rap about because Bastard is over.
Bastard, Odd Toddlers, Seven
Bastard has mostly terrible beats which sound like the producer said “Fuck it” halway during their creation, as well as repetitive subject matter such as killing faggots, rape, murder, killing bitches and killing your dead father or some shit. It maybe meant ironically but it’s mostly entirely unfunny, although weed helps it go down, and as do the ridiculous videos Odd Future occasionally accompany their songs with but beyond shock value yields no merit. This would be the kind of music that’s custom made for fifteen year old kids to listen to solely to piss off their parents (and in the case of Odd Future member Earl Sweatshirt it worked) but otherwise isn’t good for much. It should be noted that Tyler was only seventeen or eighteen when he recorded Bastard. As such it is definitely impressive enough and he’s had two years since to learn to make better fucking beats or reach out to some other producers and experience new things which he could rap about. But that doesn’t mean you should waste your precious hard drive space on this. Unless off course you are a Tyler/ Odd Future Fanatic and you got to Goblin before this and are desperate for a new fix, because this is on the internet for free. However, anyone fits that description already has this and would’ve stopped reading this review after I started bitching. Anyway, I like Tyler’s voice and some of his rhymes and he obviously has a lot of potential so I may review Goblin whenever I feel like it. But I doubt I’ll ever go listen to Bastard again.
For Tyler/ Odd Future fanatics only.
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