Has the hyped dropped or is it higher than ever? Probably the most talked about album release since the surprise My Bloody Valentine album, mbv, Tyler, The Creator’s Wolf has finally arrived. At this point, the talks of selling out and dying out is at an all time high. Last time I checked, he was the top-selling artist on iTunes, but that doesn’t mean the quality is there. With Bastard back in 2009 and the surprise favourable reviews of the 2011 album, Goblin, the bar was set high for Tyler to make something of himself. His antics are what made a name for himself. From telling Tegan and Sara to “Hit me up if you want a hard dick”, to his prominent use of dark themes in his music, his image has become old fast. He’s needing a make over, and Wolf was his big “Fuck You” to the world.
From the get-go, the first lyric on this album is pretty straightforward. Tyler unleashes a blunt “Fuck” on the album-titled opener. I caught a glimpse of Tyler’s cleaner, stronger production from the second track, “Jamba”. It’s a general throwback to the debut Tyler album, Bastard. The cheesy synths smooth over the mediocre verse Tyler laid down, but the help from Hodgy Beats. Sadly, this theme seems to be a habit throughout the album. Tyler will lay down a 6/10 verse, and the feature artist will save the track. While some verses are stronger (“Bimmer”, “Domo 23”, “Rusty”), Tyler comes across as lazy on others (“Jamba”, “Cowboy”, “Awkward”).
Lyrcially, the album comes a lot of topics. The same themes from a few years ago, and Tyler still enjoys to rape woman on occasion it seems. Surprisingly, he’s matured into a rapper that covers more personal topics. One of the odd ball tracks, “Answer”, has this rock-ballad theme that opens with a verse about Tyler’s father leaving him. While he still throws around more slurs than a DMX album, I like what he does on this track. He really opens up and pushes himself to give the listener diversity. What I cannot get over is how many times Tyler tells off his fans. Although it’s his ‘Shtick’ to hate his fans, it’s becoming annoying and old. On the track “Colossus”, he tells a story about his image isn’t what he wants to be. It’s a general piss off to me, because he tries to pull the classic Eminem “Stan” idea, but comes across as an arrogant idiot.
Mini-rant aside, the production on this album is amazing. It’s the real winner here. The peak of performance comes from the triple-track, “PartyIsntOver/ Campfire/ Bimmer”. You get a mix of the Bastard lo-fi edge with an overall clean sound. The wonky synth chords collide perfectly with the snappy snare beat on the first part of the song. “Campfire” has this transition feel, but the addition of a guitar into the mix gives the album a new sound. When the final part, “Bimmer” hit, I realized the full potential of Tyler’s talent. His flow fits perfectly with the 8-bit keyboard clicks. Frank Ocean’s addition on backing vocals rounds out the track perfectly.
It took me awhile and a lot of listens to find out whether I enjoy this album or not. On my first listen, I was severely disappointed with it. I expected Tyler to be somebody who he isn’t. I hoped for this clean-cut, changed man, but that isn’t what Tyler is about. It isn’t what Odd Future is about. Tyler, The Creator is not for everyone, I understand that. He’s arrogant and childish, but that’s what makes Tyler stand out. He said what others didn’t, and I can see him becoming a leader in the future of hip-hop. Wolf will not be an album that defined his career critically, but it will be an album that is a turning point to the mainstream. There’s a handful of tracks that stand out, but as a whole, it’s a let down for me as I was hoping to see more diversity on the LP.
Check out the track, “Bimmer” here: