May 30, 2019

Tyler, The Creator - IGOR Review

Tyler, The Creator - IGOR Review

Tyler, The Creator - IGOR Review

What? Tyler, The Creator is evolving!

I'll admit, I had lost my interest in the self-described creator ever since his follow-up release to his major label debut, WOLF. I had an early interest in Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All when they first arrived on the scene, boasting a large entourage of rappers and producers and putting out multiple albums and mixtapes and cross-promoting each other with features. I mostly just kept tabs on Tyler while I predicted that his protegé Earl Sweatshirt was going to eclipse him artistically. While over the years, Earl, who has stayed largely in the same minimalist, lo-fi musical landscape, Tyler, The Creator, has grown in style and ambition and has created an entirely new image for himself in his acclaimed hip-hop, R&B, and funk soaked album, IGOR.

When pulling up this album on my streaming service, I was surprised, and even taken aback, feeling like I have missed this guy for some time, and I had to double take to make sure I made the right selection, because this latest record feels as if I'm listening to an album from a completely different artist entirely. The music is assuredly crisp and daring on this introductory beat, IGOR'S THEME, a far cry from his lo-fi, head-splitting productions in OFWGKTA and early records, and there are more melodies to savor with an almost dance-ready vibe. The surprises don't stop there, as his second track, EARFQUAKE contains soulful croons and tastefully opens up IGOR'S concept of love and heartache, which keeps the pace in Tyler's next hit, I Think, as he sings, "I think I'm falling in love." The track plays out with a beautiful and soft synth melody that bridges the chorus and comes across playful and cautiously optimistic, showing listeners that Tyler isn't as hard as he made himself out to be in his earlier years making albums.

There is something to be said of an artist who finally comes into their own, and Tyler, The Creator is no exception. Almost every song has R&B flavor that gives listeners something they’ve never heard before from him, but some tracks still contain the same aggressive, lo-fi, hip-hop sound that made him famous, such as NEW MAGIC WAND, which gives a horrorcore rap vibe and shows listeners that Tyler’s signature style is still alive and well. A BOY IS A GUN is another delicious R&B, hip-hop hit, as Tyler shows listeners how fragile his heart is deep down when the hook hums "Don't-don't shoot-me down." WHAT'S GOOD switches back and forth from heavy, hardcore hip-hop verses and a straight up sweaty disco vibe that is addicting when heard for the first time. I DON'T LOVE YOU ANYMORE and ARE WE STILL FRIENDS are jaw-dropping in their maturity and how they sound nothing like the Tyler, The Creator that listeners know, and it's a fantastic way to leave listeners wanting more, right when the album fades out.

There isn't too much musical maturity, emotional growth, or journeys of evolution by artists in the music world anymore. Lots of artists find their safe space of operation, and venture, maybe too cautiously, out of their comfort zones. Tyler, in his latest record, proves to the world that there's more than meets the eye and more to the mind's eye that he's been letting on all these years. When speaking to a good friend about this album, and how surprised and impressed I was with his growth and sound, I was alerted that his previous 2017 release, Flower Boy, as one of the albums that sowed the seeds that eventually became IGOR, and I have no doubts that this dramatic improvement in production and themes didn't happen just suddenly. Suffice it to say, I've never been more excited for Tyler, The Creator and in anticipation for his next album than I am in 2019, and that is a true testament to what music and art should be.

IGOR - 9.75/10

Recommended Tracks: Igor's Theme, New Magic Wand, What's Good