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Tyler, The Creator


[XL; 2011]

By ; March 9, 2011 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

Tyler, the Creator (of the Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All collective, or OFWGKTA) has received some of the biggest buzz within the music blogosphere this year. Previously, his self-produced debut album, Bastard, caught the eyes of only a lucky few. This all changed with the huge boost to Odd Future’s notability, due in part to Tyler’s performance of “Sandwitches” with Hoggy Beats on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, as well as the graphic music video featuring the first two verses of  his solo track, “Yonkers.”

Now, nearly every trip to a music blog, including this one, will result in a quick lesson in what’s happening next for the Wolf Gang. Likewise, Tyler’s new album coming out next month, Goblin, is becoming one of the most anticipated albums for hip hop fans and hipsters alike. His reckless behavior has the music community watching and his controversial lyrics and heavy topics have us all listening. With the full track of “Yonkers” now available, the question becomes whether Tyler’s first single holds its ground with a punk attitude and a Supreme cap on. In a word: absolutely.

The first noticeably great part of the track is how dark of an atmosphere it sets up. The beat may be a bit on the simple side (the bass, snare, and bass drum all seem deep and hollow initially), but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The samples and the beat combined overall gives off this evil/morbid vibe that is entirely well-represented in the track further along, through Tyler’s dark, psychotic lyrics.

And Tyler has a lot to say on this track, too. He stirs the pot of controversy when it comes to him either killing Bruno Mars, telling Jesus to quit bitching, or going postal like Columbine. Not even his own crew is safe from a diss: he talks about both Syd and Jasper, calling them liars and taking their women. And within these same breaths, he goes on to referencing Reptar, Adventure Time, and The Flintstones. It’s that mix of violent mania and referential humor that stands out with Tyler here. He even makes a clever reference to his therapist character from Bastard, who also backs him up as the ominous inner-voice over the track.

While the first two verses offer great introspection into Tyler’s psyche, the third verse (the one only included in the single version) is the stand-out verse of “Yonkers.” Here, he brings out his Wolf Haley persona and the dark emotions rise to a peak. In his most irrational state of the song, he raps about wishing to know his father, murdering his Pitchfork critics, and committing suicide over his dead conscious. The last line of the song signifies this by ending abruptly (yet poetically), as he in turn ends his own life and the word “dead” echoes apathetically until the track closes out.

“Yonkers” is not a song for everybody. Tyler could alienate you with his dark, scowling side or disgust you with his twisted, controversial side. But, if you can get past those two parts of the young rapper and take the track as more of an examination of a sick subject in a figurative psychiatric ward, you can appreciate it for what it’s worth. On face value, “Yonkers” succeeds at being a violent mess from start to finish, with better flow and wordplay than some rappers twice his age. He is so convincing, it gets to a point to where it’s hard to tell which side of him is real and which is just a character, playing up the insanity to get more listeners to cock their heads; it’s that kind of persuasion that makes “Yonkers” as good as it is.


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