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Music / Tyler, the Creator

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Tyler Gregory Okonma (born March 6, 1991), better known as Tyler, the Creator, is an American rapper, record producer, singer-songwriter, fashion designer, and co-founder of the music collective Odd Future, although he is also known for work in a variety of other creative fields.

Tyler exhibited passion for music at an early age, creating imaginary album covers at 7 and teaching himself to play piano at 14. He took his stage name from a MySpace page he used to post his art, and co-founded Odd Future in 2007.

Tyler spent the next two years writing and recording his debut mixtape Bastard, which he self-released on Christmas Day 2009. The project gained mass attention among online music press for his deliberately offensive demented persona and highly controversial horrorcore-reminiscentnote  lyrics (although another central topic of the mixtape was his feelings towards his absentee father). This style continued onto his 2011 debut studio album Goblin, which did invaluable work in lifting both him and Odd Future into mainstream popularity (as well as further controversy), in large part due to the breakthrough success of the single "Yonkers".

With the release of his next album, 2013's Wolf, Tyler began moving forward from his provocative elements and more towards an alternative sound with lyrical introspection and melodic influence from jazz, neo soul and R&B. This artistic move has continued with all subsequent albums thus far, with a thematic focus on nostalgia and love coming to the forefront — and eliciting mass speculation due to repeated instances of Tyler alluding to or directly referencing experiences with same-sex relationships and attraction, a great contrast from the homophobic slurs and content his earlier work was routinely slammed for.

Outside of music, Tyler's ventures include the streetwear brand Golf Wang (founded in 2011) and the annual music festival Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival (founded in 2012).


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 at one point in "WILSHIRE", "Men or women, it don't matter."
    • The expanded ESTATE SALE version of CMIGYL has several songs that continue this focus; "WHAT A DAY" contains the line "Women throw themselves at me and men want me", "BOYFRIEND, GIRLFRIEND" is about Tyler expressing his want for a partner whether male or female, and "SORRY NOT SORRY" contains the following lines:
      "Sorry to the guys I had to hide
      Sorry to the girls I had to lie to
      Who ain't need to know if I was by the lake switchin' tides, too"
  • 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 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.
    • CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST contains a notable contrast between how he portrays his father compared to his mother in his music. He's on good terms with his mother, and gives her an interlude on the album where she talks openly about her protectiveness of Tyler. The most praise his father gets is on half of a line in the hook of "LUMBERJACK":
      "Shout-out to my mother, and my father didn't pull out."
  • 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 him bringing a gun to school and committing mass murder.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The video for "Yonkers".
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Tyler seriously contemplates it at the end of "Inglorious", the final track of Bastard, but doesn't follow through on it. The opening of his next project, Goblin, subsequently has Dr. TC affirming that Tyler wouldn't kill himself, and doesn't "have the balls" to.
    • The ending to the "Yonkers" music video has him 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.
  • The Fashionista: From the Golf Wang clothing line ultimately up to his own brand, GOLF le FLEUR, and working with Converse and Louis Vuitton.
  • 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 Award 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 the word "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", which essentially functions 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 pursuing 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.
  • Mama Bear: Tyler's mom, if the "MOMMA TALK" interlude on CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST is anything to go by, wherein she talks about her willingness to beat up anyone that hurts her son, whether it be teachers, principals, relatives of kids that bullied him, or even the kids themselves.
    "I'll fuck up kids for my kid."
  • 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 stating that it should not 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.
  • 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.
  • Old Shame: On "Manifesto," he apologizes in song to Selena Gomez, whom he had made offensive tweets about back in the day. He admits that he had nothing against her and only lashed out because he wanted to fuck Justin Bieber.
  • 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"
  • 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 (Fil Callendar's "Baby My Love"), and also takes percussive influence from bossa nova.
  • Poe's Law: He has gone on record claiming that the beat for "Yonkers", which went on to become his mainstream breakthrough song, 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 the name of his own 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 saying 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 is defined by its experimental, lo-fi mixing, exhibited in full form nowhere more than in the album's 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: Tyler is seen in this pose at the start of the "Yonkers" video.
  • Title Track: From his debut album Bastard to Wolf, all of Tyler's songs started with the titular track, and Cherry Bomb included one too near the middle of the album. The closest after that is "Igor's Theme" from Igor.
  • 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