It's been over two years since Tyler, The Creator
released an album, which feels like an eternity. Between his numerous solo ventures and leading L.A.-based hip-hip collective Odd Future
, Tyler has been a consistently active, relevant figure in hip-hop and pop culture for the length of the decade. Since the release of his debut mixtape, 2009's Bastard
, Tyler has put forth his own style of aggressive, synthy hip-hop that mixes the melancholy of jazz with the abrasion of punk. His most recent LP, 2015's Cherry Bomb
, was his most experimental ever. While Tyler expanding his palate was exciting, there were moments on Cherry Bomb
when the chaos became overwhelming. Two years on, it's getting fair to wonder what has risen from the madness.
Finally, we have an answer…at least partially. After a week or so of mysterious tweets counting down to something, Tyler released the something: "Who Dat Boy." Featuring frequent collaborator A$AP Rocky
, "Who Dat Boy" opens with a suspenseful strings part before a thumping bass brings in the beat. Tyler really goes in on the track, rapping in response to the apparently pervasive question, "who dat boy?" Rocky weaves in and out throughout the track, providing an excellent source of balance for the always intense Tyler.
"Who Dat Boy" is a really cool song, but it's difficult to pay attention to the music if you're watching the the absolutely ludicrous music video. As tension builds on the strings as the song opens, Tyler is shown working in a lab of sorts. With the beat comes an explosion, which leads Tyler to Rocky, who plays a rapping plastic surgeon. Towards the end of the song, Tyler appears post-surgery with a new, white face. It is incredibly creepy and the most Tyler thing ever.
The end of the "Who Dat Boy" video breaks off into an entirely different track. Today, we learn that this track is the first half of "911 / Mr. Lonely," another new song split into two main sections. "911" is feel good track that features Steve Lacy
, Anna of the North
and Frank Ocean
. Lacy is best known for being in The Internet
, and notably recorded a song for Kendrick Lamar's DAMN. on his iPhone
. Anna of the North is Norwegian singer whose EP Sway
was remixed by The Chainsmokers. Frank Ocean is Frank Ocean, who is so good we compiled a list
of artists just because they sound like him. The dance pop style x OFWGKTA suits Frank Ocean's croon perfectly, and trippy harmonies from Anna of the North make the "911" section a total jam. When the synth heavy "Mr. Lonely" section kicks in, it feels like classic Tyler, except…better? There isn't anything totally new happening musically, but something about it feels advanced, as if Tyler has spent the past two years coalescing the disarray of Cherry Bomb
into something coherent. Plus, lyrically, this track shows Tyler as sharp as he's ever been, all while lamenting loneliness and making it sound really hard. It's all very promising.
By all appearances, the *something* up with Tyler, The Creator is a new album. For all of the reasons stated above, we should all be excited.