Compared to most hip hop artists out there today, Tyler, the Creator has kind of fallen to irrelevancy with regards to his musical style. Although critics have enjoyed his past projects, Tyler has not given us anything that memorable over the past couple of years.
Nonetheless, here we are in 2017, and Tyler has really matured and developed into a viable rapper on his new album, Flower Boy (also known as Scum Fuck Flower Boy).
Never being a huge Tyler fan, I was really hoping that the could sway me in a positive way with his usual charm. Despite some flaws, Tyler really opens up and forces his audience to expand their knowledge of the world surrounding them. He does this through his own personal trials and tribulations as well, enhancing the product in an interesting manner.
First of all, the production was gorgeous, inventive, and even stunning at points. I love how Tyler makes every beat on this project, and he definitely wanted this to be his own creation and story from the start.
Tyler really takes his time to formulate a concept that is easy to follow for listeners, and he uses himself driving in a car throughout the album as a representation of life. Each song has a different theme that represents life in some manner as well, which I thought was pretty valuable. He surprisingly brings up very universal and serious topics such as sexuality, loneliness, and materialism, and they all interconnect in a very authentic fashion.
However, at points I feel that lyrically we see Tyler’s limits and as a result, some songs did not have the emotional punch that they probably could have had. Songs like “Foreword,” “Where the Flower Blooms,” and “Boredom,” have the right intentions and follow the consistent tone of the project, but I wish the there was more meat on the bones when it came to some of Tyler’s verses. The same can be said about a lot of the hooks on the tracks. I almost wanted every feature to be cut from the track list so Tyler can give his own perspective on certain things.
People like Jaden Smith, Frank Ocean, and Rex Orange County show up multiple times on the album, but really bring nothing interesting for me personally. I think that the song “Pothole” had an interesting premise, but Jaden’s hook was so bad, that the song was almost unlistenable.
Other ideas expressed on this album weren’t really fleshed out until the latter half which kind of annoyed me because, if Tyler would have maybe cut two or three songs out on this project for a more concise album, then I would have loved this that much more. I hate to say it, but we don’t need three songs about loneliness if only one is really developed exceptionally.
I really love “Garden Shed” because Tyler discusses his sexuality in a very genuine tone. Tyler wonders whether or not his thoughts on who he loves is just a phase, and I think that Estelle’s chorus is actually quite beautiful and fitting for this single. I appreciate his realness especially with the line, ‘Heavy on my mind/All my friends lost/they couldn’t read the signs.”
Although I’m not a huge fan of “I Ain’t Got Time!,” I do enjoy Tyler’s in-your-face tone to really push his message through, and I think it could really be a banger for some people.
I think that I learned the most about Tyler’s state of mind on the single, “November,” where he really brings everything together, and has his best two verses on the entire project. I think that it’s his most reflective moment too, and he doesn’t have a feature on the track to bring it down which enhances it even more.
Tyler really masterfully closes Flower Boy out on a positive note, and even though he discussed so many important and serious topics, he definitely wants to illustrate a more joyous outlook on life. It’s blatantly expressed on the closing track, “Enjoy Right Now, Today,” and even though it’s just an instrumental, I think that it really embodies Tyler as a person and his upbeat personality.
This album could have been an instant classic if a lot of the weaker moments weren’t so exposed but nonetheless, Tyler definitely shows a surprising maturity and growth (much like a flower) in his music. I appreciate his honesty and inspiration, and as a result, Tyler, the Creator is finally living up to his name.