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5 jewels Tyler, the Creator gave us in his new interview about ‘Flower Boy’

When Tyler, The Creator’s fourth studio album Flower Boy was released in 2017, it was immediately placed in the album of the year discussions.

The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200, stayed for ten weeks, and is now nominated for Rap Album of the Year for the 60th annual Grammys.

From the Eric White album cover to the meticulous chord arrangements, if you listened to Flower Boy you could hear and see there was intention that went behind every decision.

Or so you would think.

Flower Boy was able to sell and gain attention despite Tyler refusing to do interviews, which left the responsibility of interpretation solely on the listener. This is fine, but it also leaves room for the listener to be disengaged or miss certain nuances that make the project great.

Today, Tyler brings our attention back to Flower Boy, first giving a reason why he hadn’t given an interview by saying he’d do so himself.

Enlisting stand-up comedian and writer Jerrod Carmichael to perform the interview, it seems as if Tyler did just that: he set up his own interview.

Because Tyler hand picked who was giving him the interview (and also because he and Carmichael are close friends), as opposed to a radio interview, which could go in any direction, this felt more like an informative conversation.

This is the most relaxed and open Tyler has been in an interview and he actually reveals a lot. To save you some time, here are the five things I learned after the interview.

Tyler’s not depressed

A big misconception and takeaway many have had upon listen to Flower Boy is that Tyler is somehow sad or depressed. Grated, tacks like “Lonely” and “November” are incredibly moody, Tyler attests that it speaks to an emotion, not an overarching mood.

“For ‘Cherry Bomb’ I purposely was like, I don’t want to get personal at all. Like, I’m just going to make songs. And in this one I was like alright, let me write down every feeling.”

Pothole was inspired from by mom

According to Tyler, the song “Pothole” was based off words of wisdom his mom imparted on him.

She told me “some people just are not really as loyal or close to you as you think,” he remembers. “Sometimes moms know best and I had to find that out on my own,” he continued.

Tyler goes on to admit that “Pothole” was based on an actual experience, although he did not specify.

“Just realizing, some people and things are potholes, and after too many potholes you’re not going to be able to get anywhere because it just fucks up the tires and wheel alignment and things up like that. Situations, people, certain things can be potholes to get to your end destinations and you just gotta watch out.”

“I ain’t got time” was supposed to feature Nicki Minaj, was originally apart of Kanye’s Pablo sessions

Released as one of the first singles the album, “I Ain’t Got Time” has a natural bounce to it that one would expect. But imagine if it had Nicki Minaj.

After telling Carmichael that he supposed Kanye didn’t like the beat, Tyler goes into how he put the final touches on the instrumental and who popped into his head when he did.

“I know Ye doesn’t like this song so, Nicki Minaj’s voice would be fucking perfect for this,” he told Carmichael. “We send it to her… A month later they said she could come up with nothing,” he continued.

He wrote “Glitter” for Justin Bieber.  Rap verse inspired by Quavo.

Tyler also gave us some insight on the track “Glitter”. Inspired by 90s R&B (hard drums, pretty chords and singers trying to out-run themselves gets Tyler every time) he wrote it for Bieber and admits never receiving a call back.

“I wrote that for Bieber. I wanted him to have that song. But he never returned my call.”

After being shut down by Bieber, Tyler explains to Carmichael how he got the idea of Quavo creating on the rap part. Tyler describes “rapping it how he would have wanted Quavo to”, he came across his verse, and kept it.

He wanted Rick Ross and Playboi Carti on “November”

“November”, which is probably one of the most dramatic and emotional songs on Flower Boy, actually had bigger plans, too.

Tyler wanted the first eight bars of “November” for Rick Ross, but got denied.

“I wrote that, wanting Tracey Throne to go there but I never asked because, for that specific part, I already got rejected by Rick Ross.”

And Carti, too. When describing how he felt Carti would fit he described his voice like a “go-cart” precise handling.

There was so much detail that went into the album that, without this kind of insight, may have been missed by the causal listener. When someone treats their art like a masterpiece, it deserves a significant listen. I think Tyler wanted us to know that.

Tyler, the Creator freaking out about his song on the radio proves it still means something

Tyler, the Creator has had a monumental 2017. His fourth studio album debuted #2 on the Billboard 200 chart and he’ll start his Flower Boy tour this month.

He has a new how-to series on VICELAND and an animated show coming to Adult Swim later this year. This year will also mark his sixth annual Camp Flog Knaw Carnival, featuring acts like Migos, Kid CuDi, A$AP Rocky, and more.

Tyler is doing amazing for himself and will only keep finessing life as he gets older. The 26-year-old creative has the platform to do whatever he wants whenever he wants.

His album sold 106,000 copies its first week despite leaking an entire week prior to its release.

His career is more than cemented at this point, so when I see Tyler gushing over his single “See You Again” getting play on the radio I don’t know what to think.

Tmw Tyler hears #SeeYouAgain on the radio for the first time 🙌

A post shared by HotNewHipHop (@hotnewhiphop) on

I mean Tyler is one of those artists with an extremely loyal fanbase. His album sales prove that fact as well as all his sold out shows. So, why does radio matter?

The radio is notoriously late to what’s popping on the internet and usually doesn’t break new records anymore. Hearing a song on the radio means it’s already been popular and is just being given extra life.

Tyler, the Creator has never been an artist who needs radio, which brings me to my question: Do artists need their music on the radio in 2017?

Recently we’ve seen 50 Cent argue with Hot 97’s creative director about the death of NY radio. A specific sound, as well as a specific rotation of artists, dominate hip-hop radio.

To be put in rotation at a station, artists need to meet a certain sound with a certain formula. More often than not the radio isn’t putting you on to dope artists, it’s letting you know what’s already hot in the streets.

In the era of streaming and playlists, the times of being at the radio’s mercy is over. Due to the internet we see more artists with a platform to get their music to the public without ever touching radio.

So why are artists still chasing a radio hit in 2017? Why is Chris Brown still the go-to singer for when you want your song to do numbers?

Personally I can’t tell you what’s being played on the radio. I haven’t listened to Hot 97 in years but I can still recognize what a radio hit sounds like. For artists who haven’t yet grown a strong fanbase, radio is a sure way of getting exposure.

Striving for a radio hit means you want to grow. Cardi B’s recent single “Bodak Yellow” would not have done nearly as well without being in constant rotation on the radio.

Artists creating for the radio have an agenda. To have that undeniable hit is to hear that record everywhere you go. For them the focus is the impact and the accomplishment of that possible Billboard spot.

Artists like Tyler, the Creator has never had a traditional radio song. Since coming out in 2010 he’s had a core following that has grown with him. All that considered Tyler still expresses how he’s always wanted a song of his on the radio.

Having a song on the radio represents the artist’s evolution. It’s a sign that your music is being widely accepted and most people (aside from fans) are fucking with it. Tyler, the Creator has no need for any songs to be played on any station but it’s still a nice surprise when it does happen.

In 2017 artists are equipped to handle everything revolving around their music personally. With streaming services and internet marketing, radio realistically isn’t necessary. So, do artists need their music on the radio in 2017?

Definitely not, but doing so is still a huge accomplishment and can provide any needed help to propel the record beyond it’s initial impact.

tyler, the creator

The Transformation of Tyler, The Creator: From Bastard to Flower Boy

The yellows sing “Hello” and the burnt oranges invite you in with a hug.

Layering over the moody sky — whose color gradient drips from the honey oat heavens to the Mountains’ indigo tips — are larger-than-life bees, accenting the sunflowers and conveniently covering the face of the scum fuck himself.

From the intricate detailing of the pin-dot sized Maclaren to whatever the hell Tyler is looking at, there is a stark difference in the cover art of Tyler, the Creator’s Scum Fuck Flower Boy. But there is more than what meets the eye.

Tracking back to 2009, it seems as if Tyler has intentionally used his two year per release method to give himself time to grow.

The blood-red album cover and creepy class picture that his debut mixtape, Bastard, gave us a forever classic and how can we forget Goblin? The only thing darker than his pitch black eyes and title of the album is the upside down cross on his forehead.

Image result for tyler bastard                        Goblin-1-

But then we saw a shift.

Right on time, two years following Goblin, Tyler released Wolf. Not only was it softer than the two previous album titles, for the first time, the album cover was visually palatable for ages under eight years old. Two years later and you have Cherry Bomb (arguably Tyler’s most experimental project).

Again, not intimidating at all. You have soft blues and an animated head for what seems to be a healing Tyler.

Related image                      Image result for tyler cherry bomb album cover

From reds to blues and slightly less triggering title names, it wouldn’t be farfetched by any stretch of the imagination to guess that the 19-year-old’s life went through a metamorphosis almost a decade later, now leading to Flower Boy. 

He said it best himself on the opening track of Bastard: “I’m not a fucking role model I’m a 19-year-old fucking emotional coaster with pipe dreams.” And when you listened to his music you could tell he wasn’t lying.

From his flippant use of the word f****t, to lyrics denouncing his father, it’s almost as if Tyler was following an Eminem rap how-to with a lot of his earlier stuff. Take Yonkers, for example.

The video, which brought Tyler to the forefront of hip-hop’s consciousness, besides dissing Bruno Mars, Haley Williams, B.o.B., and even Jesus Christ, features him hanging himself and eating a cockroach. 90 million views and a Kanye co-sign later, a star was born.

Between the Pharrell-inspired production, brash, diary-spilling lyrics and intentionally offensive bravado, the OFWGKTA sound was cemented in all Tyler knew and felt. I don’t think shock value was his intention. Rather, the aggressive and hate-filled bars were his way of letting out the pain.

The California native, son of an American mother and absent Nigerian father, went through emotionally difficult times, like all of us, discovering who we are. Only, Tyler has the creativity to paint it with his words. No matter how deep the snarl.

“Love? I don’t get none, that’s why I’m so hostile to the kids that get some
My father called me to tell me he loved me
I’d have a better chance of getting Taylor Swift to fuck me”

Although still battling demons (the newest being the death of his Grandmother), Wolf really was the first time you could tell, through his music, that Tyler began accepting who he was. Tracks like “Answer”, “Treehome95”, “Lone” and “Slater”, while still showcasing his patented high-energy sound and jaw-dropping lyrics, offered much softer tones and mellowed out cuts.

I mean, at this point Tyler was creeping on his mid-twenties and was also successful in establishing himself outside of music. His fashion brand Golf Wang, his music festival Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival, and his television show Loiter Squad just scratch the surface of Tyler’s creative ambitions and he was actually living them out.

You get to Cherry Bomb and you can almost feel the liberation. It’s the first time you hear Tyler use rock elements musically and you even catch him talking his shit. Joints like “Find Your Wings” and “2Seater” are almost like final products of the jazz/instrumental feel that he’s been toying with since Bastard and displays a composing side that is far beyond any his peers. He even goes bar for bar with both Lil Wayne and Kanye West and references his dad once the entire album —  a personal best for him.

Image result for scum fuck flower child

Leading up to Flower Boy, his fifth studio album, you get the sense that Tyler is in a different headspace. While the single “Who Dat Boy” is vintage Tyler, counter culture anti-trap, “Boredom”, “911”, and “Garden Boy” have an openness that purity that you only found in spurts in the past efforts.

When you listen to the album, it’s as the cover implies: radiant, purposeful, and cohesive. It seems like all the therapy sessions that took place on the Bastard and Goblin paid off. Here Tyler is spilling his guts in a way that makes you want to sit down and hear it all.

Peep “Garden Shed”:

“Truth is, since you, kid, I thought it was a phase
Thought it would be like the Frank ‘poof, gone’
But it’s still going on”

Is Tyler toying with the idea of his sexuality? Is this a confession? Artistically crafted, Tyler brilliantly shows that, among an being entrepreneur, provocateur, and actor, he is a musician first, showing songwriting skills and production touches that already put the project in the upper tier of work put out this year.

Now 26, Tyler isn’t the same kid who eats cockroaches. He’s becoming more confident in his vocals, he’s becoming more comfortable wearing his loud colors — he’s becoming more himself.

As tempting as it can be, we can’t really deem this effort a classic or not. What we can do, though, is appreciate growth. The growth we as fans rarely allow artists to have.