Tyler, the Creator took the world by surprise as he began the rollout for his next album, Call Me If You Get Lost. Armed with a billboard on Sunset Boulevard, a phone number that teased fans with what they can expect from the IGOR followup and an ID card identifying him as Tyler Baudelaire, it seems like the artist is ushering in a new era. He’s already established himself as a household name that can’t be boxed in by the traditional classifications of genres, so it goes without saying that fans should enter the world of Call Me If You Get Lost with no expectations and assumptions — just an open mind and excited ears.
To celebrate his legacy and the upcoming release, HYPEBEAST has compiled a ranking of Tyler, the Creator’s studio albums. And let us know which album you think deserves the top spot in the poll below.
Released two years after his debut mixtape BASTARD, GOBLIN was effectively billed as Tyler’s first full-length studio effort and effectively carried over the style, themes and the hype of its predecessor. The record in itself proved to be impressive, but as a standalone; the artist himself stated in 2018 that he would have kept only seven out of the 17 tracks on the original record. Regardless, it was clear early on that Tyler, who was only 20 years old when the album came out, is a rare figure bursting at the seams with revolutionary talent. The mostly self-produced album went on to debut at No. 5 on the Billboard 200, hinting that the young artist could possibly have the Midas touch.
4. Cherry Bomb
Tyler’s growth in Cherry Bomb was evident, but we all know that growth is almost always a messy process. A major shift was obvious in its predecessor WOLF and this album continued to test the limits of the Odd Future founder; the album marked the first time he ever oversaw a live orchestra (and in Hans Zimmer‘s studio, nonetheless), which can be heard on the fan favorite entry, “2Seater.” Cherry Bomb was ambitious and imposing, and continued to feed the idea that Tyler, the Creator was now a pedestal for the next generation of artists, but ill-conceived decisions were present in pockets throughout the album. Still, he managed to land on the stars and build momentum for the sonic structure of the album’s followup.
After spending two records with his “therapist” Dr. TC, Tyler was ready to say goodbye on WOLF. He dove deeper into his creative mind and built a world with a whole new set of refreshing characters, narrating journeys of a fateful summer combined with relatable themes of tumultuous familial, friendly and intimate relationships, loss and the struggles of walking on a path as erratic as fame. WOLF almost seems like the record where Tyler began to accept the value in his name, and this kind of understanding must come with some form of evolution that will appease his own artistic will. In his own words, “I can’t rap about the same sh*t.”
2. Flower Boy
If Tyler lived off the chaos on his earlier work, Flower Boy heard him digest it. With tighter raps, exquisite production and a straightforwardly honest take on his personal relationships and feelings of isolation, the maturity in the 14-track record was offered at the perfect stage of his career. Many may suggest that the absence of Tyler’s anarchic energy and the album’s easy listening are signs of an artist at peace, but this doesn’t seem likely — he just grew up and has bigger introspective problems to deal with. He was already sonically ahead of his age, but Flower Boy, which was created in his mid-20s, was thematically and lyrically a sign of the times. The chaos is still very much present, but Tyler stepped up to the plate with a newfound wisdom.
IGOR is probably Tyler’s most diverse body of work to date — and this alone was enough to divide listeners on their appreciation for it. As stated by Hip Hop By The Numbers, Tyler spent more than half of the 12-track album singing rather than rapping, with the famed cut “EARFQUAKE” featuring no raps from him at all. The artist himself also discussed his growing love for the ’80s and the entanglement of the era’s opposing inspirations, and he managed to manifest these conflicting yet complementing sonic structures and made it his own. There is still a hint of the “old Tyler” in the work though; he explores personal relationships, abandonment and isolation, and “NEW MAGIC WAND” hears him cruelly talk about ending an unfortunate love triangle using any violent means necessary. Regardless of what you think of IGOR, the album truly proves that there is so much more to Tyler, the Creator.
Which album deserves the top spot?
- Flower Boy
- Cherry Bomb