Tyler, The Creator - Wolf - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Tyler, The Creator - Wolf

by Hiro Master Rating:7.5 Release Date:2013-04-01

Tyler, the Creator, rap's wild child of the moment, is fast making a name for himself, having patiently grafted, and won-over underground circles and laid the necessary foundations with his self-released debut album, Bastard, in 2009, and then 2011's acclaimed follow-up Goblin, which featured the calmly crazed, stand-out track 'Yonkers.' The 22-year-old wordsmith is a founding member of Odd Future, a stable of rappers with loopy pseudonyms which wouldn't be out of place on a children's TV show : Jasper Dolphin, Left Brain, Earl Sweatshirt. The outfit also counts break-out talent and Brit award-winning singer-songwriter Frank Ocean as a member.

Hailing from California, Tyler Gregory Okonma's brand of hip hop is a far cry from that of his posturing, gang-affiliated, west coast contemporaries - The Game, Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg and the like - and, while the gruff MC may have the same penchant for effing and blinding, he instead comes across as a self-made outcast with an accompanying 'don't give a ****' attitude. With the wind now truly in his sails, he returns to the fore at the peak of his powers with Wolf, a triumph with on-point hooks, and masterful, effortless rhyming that's stream-of-consciousness and ferocious one moment, thoughtful and engaging the next.

Orchestral drum rolls and horns provide an unlikely backdrop to a flurry of FUs in the opening skit, 'Wolf', before the records snaps into life with 'Jamba', which clacks with an unsettling but beguiling nervous energy. A similar unnerving undercurrent can be detected on 'Pigs', which features police sirens, organs and Tyler's pent-up rage, and on 'Cowboy', which is stripped-back and driven by a brooding, blunt narrative. On the autotuned 'Awkward', and 'Answer', Tyler gets to grips with relationships and tender moments, and both have plenty of heart. Neptunes production supremo and NERD frontman Pharrell Williams takes one of the few guest spots on the screeching 'IFHY' (an abbreviation for I fucking hate you), another bittersweet ode to a troubled liaison with a woman.

Wolf is a solid collection of well-crafted songs by a fearless, shock-and-awe MC at the peak of his powers and unafraid to say what's on his mind, and, while this can on occasion be a torrent of profanities, the expletives are playful and without malice. The album is made all the more notable when you consider it is entirely self-produced.

Evidently not one to put out a generic club favourite to reach a wider fan base, the irrepressible Tyler, the Creator is, for now, happy to do things his way and follow wherever his creative process takes him, for better or worse commercially.

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