Follow TV Tropes


Music / Tyler, the Creator

Go To

Tyler Gregory Okonma (born March 6, 1991), better known as Tyler, the Creator, is, among other things, an American rapper, singer, fashion designer, and co-founder of the music collective Odd Future.

Tyler's career so far can be split into three notable eras:

  • The beginning era of Bastard and Goblin (2009-2012), defined by him adopting a deliberately offensive demented persona that lent itself to highly controversial horrorcore-esque lyrics
  • The transitional period of Wolf and Cherry Bomb (2013-2016), where he began straying away from his provocative elements and experimenting with lyrical introspection and melodic influence from jazz, neo soul and R&B
  • The much Lighter and Softer approach from Flower Boy onward (2017-), which focuses on nostalgia and love while continuing the use of neo soul and jazz influences

Either way, a lot of Tyler's music focuses on his own life, with prominent topics including his missing father and sexual orientation. Each period correlates with Tyler's rising prominence, which was mostly kick-started with the 2011 Breakthrough Hit "Yonkers".


  • Bastard (2009; chopped and screwed version by Mike G, 2010)
  • Goblin (2011)
  • Wolf (2013)
  • Cherry Bomb
  • Flower Boy (2017)
  • Music Inspired by Illumination & Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (2018)
  • IGOR (2019)
  • Call Me If You Get Lost (2021)


Tyler, the Creator provides examples of:

  • All Caps: How the album and track titles of CHERRY BOMB, IGOR and CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST are ideally formatted.
  • Ambiguously Bi: A defining aspect of Tyler's growth as an artist from the late 2010s onwards has been his increased thematic focus on love, and through that his lyrical allusions to having male love interests alongside female ones. However, to this day, much like fellow former Odd Future co-member Frank Ocean, Tyler has never officially specified a label for his orientation.
    • Flower Boy made headlines after various lyrics hinted towards Tyler having intimate feelings for men; examples include the titular location of "Garden Shed" being seen as a metaphor for Tyler's closet, and the line in "I Ain't Got Time!" where he says he's been "kissing white boys since 2004".
    • IGOR is largely deemed to be a concept album about a man trying to win back his boyfriend.
    • All but explicitly confirmed on Call Me If You Get Lost, where he talks about being in love with a woman but occasionally makes reference to male love interests, even saying in one line, "Men or women, it don't matter."
  • Animal Motifs: Wolves, especially in his older work. It's the name of two of his characters (Wolf Haley and Wolf of the titular album) and is part of the Word Salad Title full name of his group, "Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All'''.
  • Badass Baritone: Tyler's voice is very deep. He often manipulates it to make it sound lighter or even deeper.
  • Badass Boast: In "DEATHCAMP":
    "Named my album Cherry Bomb 'cause Greatest Hits sounded boring."
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: In the song "Domo23", he claims his manager Christian Clancy is his "slave master".
  • Black Comedy: His dark imagery is very brutal and horrifying, but tongue-in-cheek enough to not be straight and subtle enough to not be Dead Baby Comedy.
  • Blasphemous Boast:
    • The first verse of the Title Track of Bastard opens with Tyler calling the song "what the Devil plays before he goes to sleep", and ends with him calling himself "Satan's son".
    • The Title Track of "Goblin" contains the line "The devil doesn't wear Prada, I'm clearly in a fucking white tee."
    • The line "I am a god" appears in the Title Track of CHERRY BOMB.
  • Boomerang Bigot: His early albums were chock full of homophobia and slurs, but recent albums and statements have implied that he's bisexual.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Several of Tyler's songs ("Inglorious", "Answer", etc.) have him voice his frustration towards his father, who he never met.
  • Catchphrase: He adopted "Ayo" as a signature ad-lib at the start of his verses around 2018.
  • Cats Are Mean: While it's really a voice in his head, Tyler's darkest thoughts manifest themselves as Tron Cat, a creature that tells him to torture, rape, murder, and then cannibalize his victims, although not necessarily in that order.
  • Coming-Out Story: Many critics interpreted lines on Flower Boy as this for him, specifically on "Foreword", "Garden Shed", and "I Ain't Got Time!".
  • Concept Album: Tyler's first three albums have their own mythos, featuring recurring characters and an overarching narrative.
    • Tyler's first album, Bastard, starts with school therapist Dr. TC introducing himself to Tyler, and all of the rapping that follows is in response to the therapist's questions. It has an overt theme about how Tyler is a bastard in the literal sense, and how he feels about it.
    • Goblin supposedly picks back up where Bastard ended, introducing Wolf Haley and Tron Cat, the evil voice in Tyler's head.
    • Wolf supposedly takes place between Bastard and Goblin with the latter starting right after Wolf. An alternate theory suggests Wolf occurs before both of them.
    • IGOR is about a man (implied to be Tyler himself) and his attempts to win back his boyfriend.
    • Call Me If You Get Lost centers around the character of Tyler Baudelaire (inspired by French poet Charles Baudelaire) and has prominent themes of traveling.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Samuel from Wolf was sent to the camp after "some messed up stuff happened back home," Which is later revealed to have been Sam bringing a gun to school and committing mass murder.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Referenced in Frank's chorus for "She":
    Naked body, fresh out the shower
    And you touch yourself after hours
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The video for "Yonkers".
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • He seriously contemplates it at the end of "Inglorious", but doesn't follow through on it.
    • The ending to the "Yonkers" music video has Tyler hanging himself.
  • Either/Or Title: Flower Boy's initial title was thought to be Scum Fuck Flower Boy before its title was official, although the longer name has appeared in alternate cover artwork.
  • Epic Rocking:
    • The Title Track off of Bastard is just over 6 minutes long.
    • The Title Track off of Goblin is almost 7 minutes long, while "Radicals", "Nightmare", "Fish / Boppin' Bitch", "Window", and "Golden" are all over five. At 8 minutes, "Window" is the longest.
    • "PartyIsntOver/Campfire/Bimmer" off of Wolf is over 7 minutes long, although the track is a compilation of three different songs. There's also "Rusty", which is just over five.
    • "2Seater", "Fucking Young", "Smuckers", and "Okaga, CA" off of Cherry Bomb are all over 5 minutes; "2Seater" is the longest with a duration ten seconds shy of 7 minutes.
    • From IGOR, "GONE, GONE/THANK YOU" is just over 6 minutes long.
    • From CMIGYL, "SWEET / I THOUGHT YOU WANTED TO DANCE" is his longest song yet at just under 10 minutes, with a close second being the eight-and-a-half-minute "WILSHIRE", which is currently his longest track not comprised of multiple songs.
  • Genre Shift: Went from alternative rap with elements of horrorcore to straying away from said horrorcore elements to making the transition to Neo Soul.
  • Idiosyncratic Cover Art: His first releases were signified by bold, sometimes surrealist imagery, with a title smack in the center in Cooper Black STD.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • Although its free online release has geared most towards labeling it a mixtape, Tyler refers to Bastard as his debut album.
    • He explicitly called IGOR a pop album, and was irritated by the fact that it won a Grammy for "Best Rap Album" and was placed in the "Rap and Urban" category, which he saw as racially insensitive. He also specifically criticized the use of "urban", decrying it as a "politically correct way to say the N-word".
  • Instrumental: "AU79", "Untitled 63", "Enjoy Right Now, Today".
  • Intercourse with You: Albeit in a far darker, less consensual sense with several of his songs (ex: "VCR", "She").
  • Ironic Echo: "Window", essentially an intervention for Tyler from the rest of Odd Future, has each of the guests' verses ending with the line "Where we at?" Once it comes time for Tyler to rebuff their attempts to help him, he leads into his verse by angrily repeating "Where we at?"
  • Jailbait Taboo: The basis of "FUCKING YOUNG", which shows Tyler expressing his inner conflict over falling in love with a girl six years his junior.
    A six-year difference is a ten-year sentence.
    And with the pigment on my skin, I don't want to be another statistic.
  • Large Ham: Why he is so memeable is because of his interesting, memorable and exceptional way of interacting with people.
  • Lighter and Softer: Wolf is considerably lighter-sounding than his first two albums, though no less ruthless when it comes to its lyrics. This has continued with every subsequent album. Flower Boy, IGOR and CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST are all far cries from his Black Comedy-laden earlier material, and their lyrics focus more on nostalgia, heartbreak, coming to terms with his sexuality and generally becoming far more self-aware of himself.
  • Love Triangle:
    • Wolf features the titular Wolf, the disgruntled Samuel (who immediately hates Wolf), and his girlfriend Salem, who takes a liking to Wolf.
    • IGOR has Tyler's narrator persuing another man, who is in turn trying to reconvene with his ex-girlfriend.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Present in his older work; if the beats aren't scary, you can bet the lyrics are.
  • Misaimed Fandom: invoked Discussed in "Colossus", where Tyler meets a fan of his who claims to have resonated with "Radicals", a song he explicitly starts off by claiming not to be used as a source of inspiration.
  • Murder Ballad:
    • "Sarah" has Tyler murder the namesake girl for turning him down. The lyrics also imply that he also ate her remains.
    • "Pigs" is the story of how Samuel and his friends shot up a school.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: "Window" ends with Tyler employing a Cluster F-Bomb version of this after killing the rest of Odd Future.
  • Once an Episode: The tenth track on each project contains a minimum of two songs.
    • Bastard: "VCR/Wheels"
    • Goblin: "Fish/Boppin' Bitch"
    • Wolf: "PartyIsntOver/Campfire/Bimmer"
    • Cherry Bomb: "FUCKING YOUNG/PERFECT"
    • Flower Boy: "911/Mr. Lonely"
    • Call Me If You Get Lost: "SWEET / I THOUGHT YOU WANTED TO DANCE"
  • New Sound Album:
    • Wolf expanded on the horrorcore and West Coast rap influences of Tyler's first two releases with a wider scope of genres, including jazz.
    • Cherry Bomb leaned hard into the experimental side, covering everything from Death Grips-inspired noise rap to the beginnings of the Neo Soul sound he'd pursue in the future.
    • Flower Boy was Tyler's first overt embrace of neo soul influences alongside synth-funk.
    • IGOR is likely a neo soul album first and a rap album second, if that. In a written statement he released alongside the album, he outright pleaded with fans to go in not expecting any of his previous work.
  • N-Word Privileges: Not the normal type, though. He constantly used the word "faggot" in his earlier records, and he's all but explicitly come out as bisexual.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience:
    • "Untitled 63", a Goblin bonus track, delves into jazz.
    • "I THOUGHT YOU WANTED TO DANCE" is predominantly built around a sample from a lovers rock reggae song, and also takes percussive influence from bossa nova.
  • Poe's Law: He has gone on record claiming that the beat for "Yonkers", which has gone on to become one of his most popular and important songs, was made in under ten minutes to deliberately parody 90s New York hip-hop.
  • Record Producer: Tyler creates most of his own beats. He also did this for his Odd Future friends back in the day. He has also produced for rapper Westside Gunn as well.
  • The Reveal: Wolf Haley is an alter ego of Tyler, but the true reveal is at the end of his song "Golden": Dr. TC, in an attempt to calm Tyler after Wolf Haley forced him to kill all of his friends, tells him that TC is Wolf Haley as well as Tron Cat, the voice giving Tyler evil thoughts.
  • Sanity Slippage Song: Pretty much all of Goblin after "Her". Tyler hits the Despair Event Horizon, Mode Locking on his Wolf Haley persona (the crowdless rally at the beginning of "Sandwitches" being very telling of the loss of sanity). Ultimately, Tyler snaps back to sanity after shooting the rest of Odd Future in cold blood during an intervention.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Camp Flog Gnaw, the setting of Wolf and a real-life music festival-cum-carnival Tyler runs, includes a reversal of "Golf Wang", itself a Spoonerism of "Wolf Gang".
  • Self-Deprecation: "Goblin" starts with Tyler talking about his own doubts as a rapper and paints him as a Death Seeker.
  • "Sesame Street" Cred:
    • Tyler provided raps for a one-off character in the Regular Show episode "Rap It Up". Tyler named the character in question "Blitz Comet," a play on his alter ego Wolf Haley.
    • He later contributed songs to The Grinch (2018), even releasing a whole EP featuring songs from and inspired by the movie.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Some of the industrial/rock-oriented tracks on CHERRY BOMB can be deduced to stem from Tyler's outspoken appreciation for Death Grips.
    • The cover of CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST, showing the travel license of the Tyler Baudelaire character against a white background, is reminiscent of the cover of Ol' Dirty Bastard's Return to the 36 Chambers, which uses his EBT card to the same effect.
  • Some of My Best Friends Are X: In "Rusty", he counters criticism of his homophobic lyrics by claiming that "Frank is on ten of his songs".
  • Stylistic Suck:
    • Much of his cover and poster art, but especially the standard edition artwork for Wolf. Note that the Tyler in the background is actually in the foreground and clips over the "foreground" Tyler's hat.
    • See Poe's Law above.
    • "Bitch Suck Dick" is a shameless trap parody, and that was before Tyler adopted a whole other rap persona (Young Nigga) exclusively for this.
    • The entirety of CHERRY BOMB was defined by its lo-fi, shoddy mixing, but the apex of that is undoubtedly in its Title Track, which has its bass overblown and distorted such that Tyler's fully-shouted lyrics are barely audible. According to him, this was to put more emphasis on the visceral feeling of the track for settings such as mosh pits.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: Goblin has "She" (despite heavy Lyrical Dissonance), "Her" and "Analog". The lattermost is a pretty straightforward, innocuous song about lighting fireworks and swimming in a lake.
  • Thinker Pose: At the start of the "Yonkers" video.
  • Title Track: Bastard and CHERRY BOMB.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Wolf Haley, Tron Cat and Dr. TC are all alter egos of Tyler. And these alter egos are all the same person.
  • Troll: Tyler claims that a lot of the hateful lyrics in his earlier songs aren't actually his own beliefs; he just used them because he knew they would get a rise out of others.
  • Wanderlust Song: CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST features traveling as one of its main themes; Tyler himself said he was inspired by old passports and travel cards for the cover art.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds:
    • Tyler plays himself on his albums as a violent psychopath with serious Daddy Issues, relationship problems, loneliness, and depression. In one track he's lamenting his feelings and failures in life, and in the next he's lashing out, partying, killing people, and wreaking havoc. Goblin is at his most morbid and takes place chronologically at the end of the narrative of his first three albums..
    • Samuel from Wolf is portrayed as largely friendless, abused, and bullied, which leads to him committing a school shooting.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Especially in his older material, where pop culture references, Black Comedy and Squick are tossed around at random.

Alternative Title(s): Wolf