Tyler, The Creator - Goblin

by Rory McKeown Rating:8 Release Date:2011-05-09

Tyler, the Creator has rapidly turned into the infamous face of 2011 - he's everywhere. If he's not gracing the cover of the NME, crown and all, stating, in no polite terms, that he "doesn't give a shit about the royal weddin"', he's being thrown into a cell by LA police for disturbing the peace, or overseeing a riot at an autograph signing.

The Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All hip-hop pack figurehead put blogs into a spin last year with his articulate, breath-of-fresh-air underground debut Bastard (which featured one of 2010's best tracks - 'French'), and the collective's media stock has soared this year thanks to the incredible performance of 'Sandwitches' by Tyler, the Creator and Hodgy Beats on Jimmy Fallon's US chat show, and the bizarre story surrounding the whereabouts of youngest member Earl Sweatshirt - prompting shouts of 'Free Earl Sweatshirt' at every Odd Future/Tyler appearance.

If Tyler, the Creator was one hell of a bastard last year, he's evolved into a grotesque goblin in 2011 - and he doesn't care. His confidence knows no bounds in Goblin and he constantly pushes the limits of taste and morality throughout. Bastard's quirky interplay between Tyler, the Creator and his therapist returns in Goblin, and it provides a disturbing insight into the messed-up, self-loathing young man's fragile mind. Although portrayed as the dialogue between the pair, it plays out as if Tyler, the Creator is wrestling between the good and bad sides of his conscience - Tyler, the Creator acts the devil, but the therapist takes the angelic role.

Goblin's brilliance is Tyler, the Creator's uncompromising ability to throw all taboos, stereotypes, prejudices and bigotry into the mix and literally fuck them up. It's chock-full of shocking moments, like Tyler, the Creator's urge to repeatedly stab whiny pin-up Bruno Mars in the oesophagus in the wonderfully addictive 'Yonkers', or in the horrifying, synthy 'Tron Cat'. He should be sectioned for a lyric like "Rape a pregnant bitch and tell my friends I had a threesome".

The confrontational 'Radicals' - an anthem for all angst-ridden teens across the planet - starts with a humorous random disclaimer which jokingly pleads with listeners to take the messages in the song with a pinch of salt. But with a chorus like 'KILL PEOPLE, BURN SHIT, FUCK SCHOOL" it's easy to see why his autograph signing turned into a mob riot. The up-tempo horror show 'Transylvania' follows a similar misogynistic premise as The Pharcyde's classic '4 Better of 4 Worse', but Tyler, the Creator douses a fresh dose of vitriol all over it as he pulls out the hook: "It's because I'm Dracula bitch/Don't got a problem smacking a bitch/Kidnapping, attacking, with axes and shit".

Technically, Tyler, the Creator is a solid, if unspectacular rapper -he admits this in opener Goblin - but he's creative and his style is alluring and clear. Obviously, Tyler, the Creator's lyrics are designed to create controversy and provoke reaction; and it worked this week as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Deformation slammed his lyrics as inciting homophobia and containing violent misogyny. There's no denying they are correct, but you cannot see Tyler, the Creator putting his lyrics into practice - otherwise he would have been locked up years ago.

If you're easily offended, it's best to avoid Goblin, but if you can flick your PC switch off for an hour, you'll immerse yourself in a warped, daring and sometimes brilliant, trip through the darkest depths of Tyler, the Creator's mind. Tyler, the Creator and OFWGKTA have given a stale hip hop genre a fresh injection of controversy and hype not seen since the days of Eminem. While it seems unlikely they will attain the wealthy heights of Jay-Z and the ilk, their creativity, their passion for relevancy, and desire to connect with youth through Twitter and social mediums easily spawned a hardened band of devotees, and rightfully transformed them into underground idols.

If anything, Goblin proves an exciting period lies ahead for hip hop as this motley crew attempts to regain the genre's lost prestige and rebuild the devalued foundations laid by their rap ancestors.

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