'Find Some Time' for Tyler the Creator's 'Flower Boy'

Category:  The Arts
Friday, July 21st, 2017 at 8:51 PM
'Find Some Time' for Tyler the Creator's 'Flower Boy' by Britton Rozzelle

The last thing I think anyone, particularly myself, expected was a somewhat emotional and revealing series of songs from the brusque and raunchy Tyler the Creator. Gone are the record-breaking amount of slurs per album and the rhyming of “Paradox” and “Triceratops,” much to my immediate surprise.

It goes without saying that “Flower Boy” (alternate album title withheld for the safety of our younger audience) is Tyler’s most successful, vulnerable and conceptual album to date, and arguably, his strongest.

The album starts with “Foreward,” a reserved confession of life’s inevitable struggles and conflicts. The whole thing is wrapped in dreamy space-aged synths and a trademark breakneck flow that’s elegantly laced with grounded supporting vocals from Rex Orange County. It succeeds at setting a definite tone that's unlike other Tyler albums — one of honesty and openness — a welcome direction, I must add. 

Songs like “Where This Flower Blooms” and “Garden Shed” hint at a deeper part to this car-obsessed young mogul, one that had been either deliberately hidden or excluded from other works, bar some bits with Odd Future. Indeed, several verses hint at potential romances Tyler has experienced (or maybe didn’t, there’s truly no way to know at this point) that open him up from fire-spitting rapper to a producer extraordinaire with a story to tell. Rich with narrative, the songs spin together effectively, ultimately painting a picture with creativity currently unmatched in this genre.

As per usual, the many talented features help weave this story of loss, uncertainty and, overall, positivity. Particularly great this time around are Kali Uchis and Frank Ocean on “See You Again” and “911/Mr. Lonely” (also starring The Internet’s Steve Lacy) respectively, with Jaden Smith, Lil Wayne, Estelle and more making appearances throughout. Each one adds something special to the song at hand, and while the album is actually relatively light on Tyler’s verses, each song is produced so smoothly that it becomes an afterthought. This is, more than anything, Tyler utilizing every tool in his now-immense toolbox.

Something that has always prevailed on the works of Tyler and his company are certain production elements. This album sounds full, multilayered and expertly mixed. Synth weaves through sampled percussion and billowing horns, making way occasionally for more true-to-form hip hop selections like “Who Dat Boy” and “I Ain’t Got Time.” I’ll admit, I never expected to use this word to describe something created by the same brain that made “Loiter Squad,” but “Flower Boy” is, more often than not, a beautiful, unique soundscape to get lost in.

Rounding out the second half, “Glitter” and “November” stand out as conceptual and freeing songs bursting with emotion and sentimentality, with the latter chronicling the doubt that the artist has had during his so-far wild career, rounding out with “Enjoy Right Now, Today,” which sounds, no joke, like the Boards of Canada gave up their schtick and became an ambient R&B/funk band.

Overall, “Flower Boy” is a different feeling for Tyler, one more aligned with partners The Internet or Frank Ocean, but that’s absolutely not a bad thing. It’s full of surprises, and with this album it feels that Tyler has grown up in a way, reflected upon past works, and created something fresh, new, and captivating while avoiding betraying his own personal stylings.

Tyler the Creator is young, talented and (from what it seems) still surrounded by a strong group of supporters that allowed this album to exist, and I can undoubtedly say that if his future releases are like this, I’d be pleased.

Standout Tracks: “Where This Flower Blooms,” “See You Again,” and “Boredom.”

Stream the album below: 

Britton Rozzelle is the Executive Editor of the Spectator. He can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com

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