Tyler, The Creator – Goblin
Many have yet to comprehend the cult like following behind Odd Future frontman Tyler, The Creator. However, with common remarks ranging in the vulgarity of “Rape a pregnant Beyotch and tell my friends I had a threesome,” that can be understandable.
What we must remember when looking at an artist like Tyler is that art is subjective, and not every song is going to be the one dimensional g0-lucky music that we can ride to in our cars with the sun roof open.
On the flipside, we must ask ourselves if our recognition of Tyler’s “genius” work stems from genuine appreciation or pressure from the masses.
When looking at an album like Goblin, we have to take an unconventional approach. To get an accurate depiction of what Tyler was trying to do with this album, it must be looked at as a collective. If this wasn’t true, then you wouldn’t have critics screaming “devil worshiper.”
In the opening song titled after the album, the rhymer boldly clarifies, “I’m not a Fawking role model (I know this), I’m a 19 year old Fawking emotional coaster with pipe dreams.” Not only here but throughout his project, Tyler acknowledges the common criticisms spewed towards his music, through what appears to be his conscious in the narration.
Even in “Radical,” he makes the humorous clarification as he opens the song, “Random disclaimer, don’t do anything that I say in this song ok, it’s Fawking fiction. If anything happens don’t Fawking blame me white America.”
Add-ins such as these seem to slip by as listeners attempt to make a literal sense of Tyler’s seemingly deranged lyricism. Here’s a little tid-bit if you haven’t realized it by now: this music wasn’t intended to be taken literally. Ever heard of symbolism? Music is literature with rhythm; it tells a story. Just as many well written stories have underlying meanings, metaphors etc., well, so does music.
In his song “Yonkers,” Tyler takes a shot at mainstream music in his line “I’ll crash that fu*king airplane that that f*ggot n*gga B.o.B is in, And stab Bruno Mars in his g*ddamn esophagus.” Truthfully though, it will probably go over your head that Tyler is expressing his gripe with pop music as a whole.
The entire album isn’t aggressive gore, Tyler throws in more subtly distorted selections such as “Her,” and “She,” featuring up and coming crooner Frank Ocean. Don’t be fooled by the easy-going production and Mr. Ocean’s seductive vocals though, these are by no means “love songs.”
While Goblin is enticingly honest though, this can be it’s downfall as well. It’s one thing to be able to see through it’s demeaning exterior, but quite another to actually enjoy listening to this on a regular basis. Unless your suicidal, depressed, or really appreciate Hip-Hop as an art form (and I mean really), this may not be something you have on rotation for too long.
Fortunately, songs such as “She,” “Window,” and “Nightmare” save the album by being more listener friendly without compromising it’s meaning.
Goblin is an uncensored account of what Tyler believes to be the masked aggression of most people. He made a movie with this project, and truthfully not everyone is going to understand it. While it might seem like his graphic storytelling might hinder his mainstream success, let’s not forget Eminem’s early discography.
Even his rather deranged account of a loyal fan on “Stan” got him a spot on Rolling Stone’s list of 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time. The point being, Goblin may be a work that people need some time to digest, but Tyler, The Creator isn’t going away anytime soon.