[Review] Tyler the Creator – Goblin

So, it’s finally here. It’s been much blogged about, much anticipated, debated and discussed. It’s the first official release by Tyler the Creator of LA teen rap collective, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. Receiving acclaim from the likes of Mos Def, Kanye West, and various blogs (not including 2dopeboyz and naahright) this has to be one of the “it” releases of 2011. I’ve had about two weeks to give this album and Tyler’s movement a good looking over and analysis, and this is what I got.

What separates Tyler the Creator from the rest and draws a willing audience into a world where he “shoves bunt raps into bitches ovaries” is his open fuckeduppedness. On one end he is fucking radical, on the other he’s just radically fucked up. Or what’s radical is that he is fucked up and he has lost a desire to hide it. Sure, he stirs shit up under the moniker of Wolf Hayley, but that’s just an extension of himself. Its the mind of a young man, who has faced enough rejection in his 19 years that he just doesn’t give a fuck anymore. The split personality is an invention created so that he gets onto a stage instead of a mental institution.

Dr TC, from the self released Bastard opens and closes the album, and becomes much like Wolf Hayley, another fucked up extension of Tyler’s mind. If Wolf is every angry, sadistic impulse Tyler has, Dr TC is his consience. On the last album, TC is a voice telling Tyler to calm down, to chill out, that “he’s a good kid, just misguided.” On Goblin, his consience becomes too tired of trying to become what the world tells him to be. Dr. TC, like Tyler, just doesn’t give a fuck anymore, cuts the bullshit and illusion of caring that he’s told to create and proclaims, “you wouldn’t do that Tyler…kill yourself…You wouldn’t have the balls!”

In an an insightful and honest interview with The Drone, Tyler asked, “Have you seen Quentin Tarantino’s fuckin’ movie? Why does everyone fuckin’ get their dick cut off or some shit? Like you know what I’m sayin’? Why wont anybody say something about that? Its fuckin’ art.”

Like Tarantino, Tyler knows he’s not alone in his estrangement–there is an audience out there more than willing to listen to his deranged thoughts. Tarantino gave a fucked up audience a fucked up product. Not the kind of fuckeduppedness that a person can eventually overcome like your average romantic breakup; rather, he embodies the inescapable fuckeduppedness found in everyone. Although the dark, twisted, fantasies experienced in his work are not literally true, people can still embrace them and relate to them because at the end of the day everyone has fucked up thoughts that they can’t get rid of.

Tyler The Creator’s audience doesn’t receive slasher movie, excess blood and gore fucked up, they get kidnapping a cop and slicing his ear off to “Stuck in the Middle With You” FUCKED UP. Tyler’s brand of entertaining derangement doesn’t come in the form of guns and weed; instead it explodes into a listener’s skull with rape and violence. That’s because when you know you’re fucked up and can’t do anything about it, sometimes all you got is rage. Tyler’s loyal fans know this truth, and love it.

That said, that’s only Tyler’s persona; the Odd Future feeling. Musically, I did not find the album to be amazing. It was everything OddFuturesque: dissonant synths, distorted reverbed drums, and pissed off lyrics laden with tales of regretless “fucks”, “faggots”, and other politically incorrect novelties. The only difference I’ve found between Bastard and Goblin is the lack of remorse. On the former, Tyler was a teen that you kind of wanted to empathize with. It was a bit more typical ‘emo-rap’ where he “cuts his wrists and plays piano because he’s so depressed.” When he raps about his romantic troubles, he calls his ex girlfriends out by name.

On Goblin, The Creator is harder to empathize with. Instead of cutting his wrists, he kills his conscience in “Yonkers’” new verse and decides, in the punk tradition, not to give a fuck. On “Fish” he fantasizes about roofies, and states simply that he “met this girl at the club and just wanted her to suck (his) dick”. Even on “Her”, his description of the woman he idolizes is …  creepy to say the least.

Compared to Bastard, Goblin isn’t that much of an artistic leap, it just comes across as a bit more pissed off. Then again, like most people, I first met Tyler in the hype surrounding the “Yonkers” video. That video is hard to one up. It was a great piece, and the fact that it came out of (relatively) nowhere added to the surprise. I think this album should have had more time put into it. The majority of the tracks seem to have been recorded before “Yonkers” blew up and doesn’t accurately represent the Tyler/OFWGKTA of now. It would have been beneficial if it was released a bit later. IE) after the Yonkers “holy shit he ate a cockroach and hung himself in a black and white music video” hype died down. I understand he had to capitalize quickly on the acclaim he recieved, but allowing a bit more time for buzz to die down may have been a bit beneficial.

That being said, it’s not terrible by any means. I’ll give it a 7.5/10.

Notable Tracks
“Yonkers” – If you’re reading this, you probably saw this video
“Sandwitches” – When they performed this track on Jimmy Fallon, Mos Def ran in front of a camera and screamed “SWAG!” multiple times.
“Goblin” – Strong album opener, features Dr. TC, one of the only tracks that confronts the fame after OFWGKTA’s viral explosion
“Fish” – Roofies. Boppin Bitches
“Analog” – about a nice lil’ picnic actually.

–Evan McIntyre