Tyler, the Creator
The Bomb Factory
Friday, June 5, 2015
Tyler, the Creator, ever the enigmatic force, took the opportunity of playing The Bomb Factory Friday night to lead things off his with a song called "Bitch Suck Dick." It's an old number from his debut album Goblin, and made a surprisingly low-key entrance too. Taco, one of his Odd Future cohorts, was DJing, or probably just showing off his Spotify playlist. He'd played a bunch of hits to get the audience hyped, like Chief Keef and of course Drake's "Know Yourself" as well. But he'd ended his set with "Bitch Suck Dick" as well, only for Tyler's hype man Jasper to appear on the stage and launch into "Bitch Suck Dick."
"Bitch Suck Dick" is a difficult song to contextualize because it can play as a satirical take on the handful of mainstream pop rap or as a goofy, childish, over-the-top contribution to it. It's probably somewhere that lies in the middle as that's kind of what the Odd Future rap clique was all about more or less. "Was" because fans of the crew have been shouting and murmuring about the elephant in the room for a while now. The one about the gang disbanding. At the end of May, Tyler the Creator was feeling a little wistful about Odd Future no longer being a tight-knight group of misfits and took to Twitter to cryptically lament the break up. Earl Sweatshirt, who
is was the beat writer and technically skilled member of Odd Future followed up with this:
no sympathy for male virgins who're in their feelings about tyler pointing out and solidifying the obvious.— EARL (@earlxsweat) May 29, 2015
It happens. Friendships come and go. We drift and fade apart. Such is life. But not Tyler, right? He's been what one would technically describe as an adult, mainly for purposes of dealings with the court of law, taxes and the Department of Motor Vehicles. But essentially Tyler, the Creator was a 15-year old trapped in an athletic body decked out in knee-high socks, Van's and a T-shirt. He was trapped in a re-imagining of what a Pokemon trainer would and could look like.
But Tyler has actually grown up, which is surely at the chagrin of his overwhelmingly adolescent audience. I nearly tried to find some sort of treasure in some teen's palm, there were so damn many X's running around. Gone are the days when Tyler would climb up a 10-foot balcony and jump from it into the audience. You don't need decent insurance anymore to attend a Tyler, the Creator show, as now he's performing and not trying to start a small-scale riot or cause a spectacle anymore.
Most of the songs performed were from his latest album, Cherry Bomb. The first song he went into after "Bitch Suck Dick" was the album's opener, "DEATHCAMP," a track with shrill guitars and anti-conformist lyrics. It, like much of Cherry Bomb, sounds a lot like an attempt to replicate Pharrell and Chad Hugo's band, N.E.R.D. We all tend to imitate our heroes, but here it's obvious. It's also an attempt at shifting gears in terms of a musical direction. Lo-fi, Garage Band production with gross, puerile misogynistic lyrics are making way for a fully realized Tyler, the Creator who is just here really to give hope to the weird kids and the outcasts.
In terms of old songs, Tyler opted generally for a few hype ones like "Domo23" here and there, but the somewhat tender, still kind of creepy collaboration with Frank Ocean from his debut called "She" was a welcome surprise. Another song that was a welcome surprise was "48" a song that takes Tyler inside the mind of a drug dealer who moves weight across the contiguous United States, hence the title. "48" is without a doubt one of the top 48 rap songs to have been released this decade.
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To close out the show, Tyler ended with a fan favorite, "Tamale," which is fun, calculated chaos and followed it with the title track from his latest album. Both songs are loud and rambunctious. However, seeing Tyler perform them left the impression of someone who has had it click. It's not about aimless anarchistic temperament or just being a little shit for the hell of it. Tyler is a role model, in as much as he's the mascot for disaffected youths. He's supposed to inspire and inspire he does. If Holden Caulfield listened to rap, this is what he'd listen to. And he'd love every second of it, because it ain't for phonies.