Rap instigator Tyler, the Creator shows he’s more than you think he is on Flower Boy | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Rap instigator Tyler, the Creator shows he’s more than you think he is on Flower Boy

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After Tyler, the Creator dropped his fourth solo record, Flower Boy (Columbia), in July it quickly became cliche to describe it as his “mature album.” Granted, Tyler and his pals in the Odd Future collective made an indelible impression on music culture when they broke out in 2011—and his presence as a violently foul-mouthed miscreant with a predilection for homophobic, misogynistic lyrics was partially responsible for their initial infamy. Imagine the challenge of trying to convince the public you have more to offer than that! Now Tyler’s edging toward 30 (he turns 27 a few days after these Chicago shows), and his latest album finds him pouring out a jumble of feelings that accompanied his evolution from postadolescence into adulthood while the world ate out of the palm of his hand. His musical and personal growth energizes the album, and in his lyrics he acknowledges his past as part of what’s allowed him to arrive at the present. On “I Ain’t Got Time!” he twists the narrative of his earlier homophobic lyrics, rapping, “Next line will have ’em like, ‘Woah’ / I’ve been kissing white boys since 2004.” While the line is lightly trolling his audience, it also seems like a supportive nod to the community he once ostracized. Tyler retains his aggressive punch while exposing his vulnerable underbelly; the skittish instrumental for the modern funk number “911/Mr. Lonely” makes his most revealing confessions about the sadness of success ring loud and clear.   v

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