CMIYGL finds Tyler nestling back into the rap pocket where he made his name through a mix of juvenilia, emo, and Art Tatum piano lines. Wolf marked the metamorphosis of Tyler as an artist tying together impressive projects in sound, scope, and even sexual identity.
Bastard: Underrated in its musical power, overstated in its cultural significance.
Cherry Bomb: the experimental extravaganza he claims he finds himself as an artist.
Flower Boy: Tyler taking on a directorial role, sitting back and letting the features do the heavy lifting and exercising his ability as a producer.
IGOR: A full-on plunge into the realms of synthpop and neo-soul where Tyler finds his melodic voice.
Rap never left the equation, but it always felt like just another tool in Tyler's eclectic toolbox. In CMIYGL, Tyler is using a classic MC skillset with jokes, entendres, proper storytelling, and internal rhyme without compromising quotability. Though his artistry has seldom come into question, If CMIYGL is of any indication: Tyler, the Creator is one of the best EMCEES in the game. He even includes a scene stealing feature from Domo Genesis as a reminder of his Odd Future roots.
Tyler is no stranger to the concept record, Flower Boy and IGOR were two of the most realized conceptual feats of the last decade. On his sixth, Tyler opts for a looser narrative to tie together Call Me if You Get Lost's tracklist: a fantasy mixtape curated by Gangsta Grillz legend DJ Drama. The quick and dirty format gives Tyler carte blanche to do whatever he pleases sonically. He travels back in time, referencing his back catalog both in lyrics and production. He also offers a smorgasbord of trap, hard-core rap, old school r&b, and reggae. While genre limbo actually works about half the time, smooth transitions, recurring motifs, and a fiery new alter ego, and a heartbreaking love story helps CMIYGL find its focus.
Some have taken to assessing CMIYGL as a well assembled vanity project, oftentimes beginning with Tyler’s decided inspiration pulled from the poetry of Charles Baudelaire. This is a reductive appraisal of the album. Yes, Tyler is reveling in his success, but moments like the "BLESSED" interlude are acts of self affirmation in the face of the many personal insecurities he dissects on this record. Two emotional plights eat up Tyler on the record: 1. Self identity vs the court of public opinion 2. trying to recover from a broken heart. To simply evaluate the record as a victory lap diminishes its emotional value.
“WILSHIRE” represents the record’s emotional core and a symbol of its catharsis.
In eight and a half minutes, Tyler takes us to the culmination of a love triangle that he has basically powder kegged. But this ain’t Too $hort; Tyler takes full accountability for his wrongdoings while also acknowledging how he was hurt in the situation. Tyler has never laid himself emotionally bare as he does with this romantic situation, giving the listener an honest perspective on the cost of love that only he could provide.
Fulfilling his best friend duties, Frank Ocean makes a rare appearance on “LEMONHEAD,” notably not singing. Ocean uses the soft outro of an otherwise rambunctious track to cite his love of the colour green. Tyler's close friend Frank Ocean makes an appearance on "LEMONHEAD" via spoken word, citing his love for the colour green.
Tyler even threw out a reference on “LUMBERJACK” to the Flog Gnaw Drake fiasco, where a surprise performance from Aubrey ended in boos when fans realized that a Frank Ocean appearance was no longer a possibility. What does this tell us? Characteristically, not much. Though it’s hard not to speculate that Frank is lurking in the shadows and may or may not be sitting on a trove of new music.
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