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Tyler, the Creator

by The Staff on May 11, 2011

There’s been so much Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All-related ink spilled over the past few months—coming most notably after the group’s meteoric rise following Tyler, the Creator and Hodgy Beat’s Late Night With Jimmy Fallon performance—that it’s hard not to repeat the same tried-and-true, cliché lines in summing up Odd Future: They’re rap’s rebel skate punks; a hip-hop collaborative blending the fervor of early Wu-Tang and some serious Internet-based marketing savvy; creative, precocious teenagers committing the general debauchery of teenagers. It’s all accurate.

Tyler, the Creator, or Tyler Okonma, is the 20-year-old leader of Odd Future. Goblin is his second full-length solo LP, following 2009’s Bastard, a self-released album posted on Odd Future’s Tumblr, where, up until last week, all of their music was given away via Limelinx and Mediafire links.

Goblin is a hectic, violent, demonic, hilarious, grotesque, narcissistic, refreshing record: a privately crafted snapshot of the mind of a rambunctious kid who set out to make the music he wanted. It’s an introverted look into Tyler’s maturation process and his handling of his newfound fame: The fights between his multiple personalities on “Tron Cat” and “Yonkers,” the self-counseling sessions of the title-track, the deranged sex and rape fantasies on “She” and “Transylvania,” the on-record murder of his Odd Future brethren on “Window,” all reinforce this.

The raucous, raunchy, and rambunctious “Bitch Suck Dick” finds Tyler, Jasper Dolphin, and Taco trading blows over a Lex Luger-inspired beat of hyper-quantized drum rolls and searing synths. The nod to the frequent 1017 Brick Squad collaborator comes as no shock: Tyler has repeatedly extolled the virtues of Waka Flocka Flame, as heard on the creeping, brooding, album-opening title-track, which, under admitted pressure, tops the introductory title-track of Bastard.

Goblin is a polarizing record and a logical progression from past Odd Future releases: The beats are sharper, the rhymes are tighter, and the lyrics are as vitriolic and caustic as ever. The debate will center on those lyrics; some will hyperbolically call them progressive, others will take them at face value, hyperbolically calling them vile and based on shock value alone. But Goblin doesn’t trade in shock value; it’s that some people are shocked that others are finding value in this record. Goblin is a great record, and a great record to get yourself worked up over. Looking to reinforce your Tipper Gore-styled notions of music and censorship? Welcome to your treasure chest. Want to crown Odd Future as the second coming? Here’s your chance. But those arguments hold little weight, because, in the end, Goblin is a record from a 20-year-old creating the music he wants to hear, and musically, that’s refreshing.