Odd Future founder Tyler, the Creator has released his third studio album “Wolf.” Fusing tongue-in-cheek lyrics, horrorcore imagery and age-confused antics has become a staple for Tyler, who is on the path to musical success with help from his almost cultish, underground following and Twitter fame.
This album emerges as the Creator’s most ambitious and epic bout yet, featuring a total of 18 tracks, all produced by Tyler. There is a nuanced Neptunes influence informing these tracks, and Tyler is the first to admit that he worships Pharrell, who appears on the album. There are plenty of themes woven into “Wolf,” as Tyler explores abandonment issues, being in the spotlight and under constant scrutiny, the death of his grandmother, overactive emotions, drug dealing and destructive relationships. He acts as the poster boy for Freudian psychoanalysis; the album is framed as a story about kids at “Camp Flog Gnaw” (clever), with each song switching between his multiple identities and barrage of alter egos — among them “Wolf” and “TC,” in which there occurs the id, ego and superego somehow — as well as his potential love interest “Salem” and arch enemy “Sam.”
Songs like “Treehome95” and “IFHY” are instant standouts on the album that serve as the leading singles. Features on the album, including Erykah Badu, Coco O. from Quadron, Pharrell, Casey Veggies and fellow Odd Futurians Frank Ocean, Domo Genesis, Hodgy Beats, Earl Sweatshirt and more, showcase the wide range of musical genius that goes far from unnoticed. Bounded by these singles, improved production and help from the musical guests, Tyler manages to compose his all-over-the-place mentality for a cohesive album. People new to Tyler and his antics may be more than uncomfortable, confused and/or disgusted. Tyler’s popularity does raise some questions about homophobia and misogyny in rap music, but Tyler insists that it’s all fun and games, and that he doesn’t really mean to offend anyone.
Offended or not, Tyler, along with Odd Future, isn’t going anywhere. By now he’s proven that he’s more than just a childish, hate-loving, accidental rap star with a flair for kitschy cat shirts and backwards words.
Only Recommended If: You’re already a fan of Tyler, the Creator and don’t mind his antics, which may be off-putting for some.