Tyler, The Creator is yet to put out a bad project, so while these are ranked, see this as more of a celebration of the best artist of our generation.
Tyler, The Creator is building a discography on par with some of the most adored artists to ever record an album. Across his now 10 year career, across 6 official and distinct LP releases, the illustrious LA born and based artist has one of the most unique career paths in modern music. From his controversial and cult beginning via Odd Future, the wrecking ball of Tyler’s sonic universe has outlasted many early critics. Last week he released, ‘CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST’ and to reflect on the grandiose discography, we asked you, our audience, to rank his albums.
Tyler, The Creator is yet to put out a bad project, so while these are all ranked, see this as more of an overview and celebration of the best artist of our generation rather than a steadfast ranking of his greatest releases.
Goblin kicked off Tyler, The Creator’s discography in bragadocious form. A hallmark of his early work, the record featured his breakout viral single, ‘Yonkers’ as well as cult adored tracks. Odd Future’s anarchic leader brought together a strong tracklist of bleak and uncompromising tracks, with brash vocal deliveries, N.E.R.D inspired beats and a whole heap of persona. Framed as a session with a therapist, the fiction concept record set the tone for the future rap star's career.
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5. CHERRY BOMB
On 2016’s Cherry Bomb, Tyler laid the sonic foundations for his future, more adored work. My personal favourite Tyler album, a vast sonic palette was presented, featuring everything from blown out hip hop drums to alt rock samples, created to deliver the raw sentiment of finding your wings and doing whatever you wanted. Despite its fair criticism of being undercooked, the tracklisting features Tyler’s objectively best tracks to date. ‘SMUCKERS’ is the magnum opus track of his career, 2SEATER featured gorgeous string work recorded in Hans Zimmers studio and OKAGA CA is one of his most heart wrenching sonic compositions to date.
Two years after Goblin, Tyler released WOLF, an enigmatic, personal and sonically gorgeous record that focussed on heavy, grandiose beats and a lyrical sentiment of his new found fame and his critics alike. While not abandoning his mischievous ways, he utilises gorgeous bridges, anthemic synths, brass sections and grand piano melodies to soften his sharp edges. IFHY with Pharrell still remains a standout in his discography, Rusty is the best posse cut to come out of the Odd Future collective and Tamale still remains the best edition of what people describe as the ‘Old Tyler’.
3. CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST
Last week Tyler the Creator released his follow up to IGOR. Mixtape like in structure, Tyler raps and raps a bit more all over the project. Helped by DJ Drama, the record is almost like if Wes Anderson made a rap mixtape. Pastel sonic tones are used to explore every corner of Tyler’s talents, from rapping, producing, writing and as a vocalist. With only 5 of the tracks making it to the three minute mark, the tracklist does not waste any time, with quick cuts, looped drums and as in every Tyler record, room for a quick bridge.
IGOR made Tyler, The Creator an icon. Via his infectious IGOR persona, Tyler created his most sonically incredible and heartwrenching project to date. On it, he wore his idolisation and influence from Pharrell on his sleeve. He pushed his singing voice to the forefront with little to no conventional rap songs on the project, creating a heartbreaking love focussed project. Listening to this from front to back was a personally life altering experience, both as a music fan and battling my own heartbreak at the time. An extremely linear tracklist narrative tells a story of unrequited love in its every stage. Guests on the record include Playboi Carti, Charlie Wilson and Kanye West. Tear worthy moments come thick and fast on this thing, nothing more than the records closer, ‘ARE WE STILL FRIENDS’, a moment and feeling everybody has experienced.
1. FLOWER BOY
Tyler found his own voice on Flower Boy, cutting away the characters, persona and ego, Tyler for the first time in his career was truly intimate across the entire project. ‘Garden Shed’, ‘Boredom’ and ‘911’ crossed genres elegantly. It’s Tyler’s most sincere and accomplished album to date, and tackles the notions of the angst of a missed connection and loneliness of his earlier work, via an accessible and tasteful sonic palette.
Words by PARRY TRITSINIOTIS