Recently I purchased a pair of canary yellow sneakers from the Converse x Golf le Fluer collection that dropped alongside Tyler, the Creators latest album, of Flower Boy. The shoes are a reminder of how much Tyler, and the Odd Future collective have accomplished. As teenager, Tyler Okonma leveraged visibility from music video for “Yonkers” in 2011 to building a cult following. Since then he has gone on to produce a television series for Adult Swim, design his own clothing brand, and direct his own festival.
In years past, the rapper received pushback from the media and was even banned from several countries for fear of inciting riots with his dark, taboo lyricism. His latest album departs from this past image. Flower boy is the creative capstone of his rowdier days and a transition into a more commercially acceptable artistry, without compromising his initial identity. There has been much speculation that this was his "coming out" album. Tyler has made offhand comments that he's "into white boys" and other similar remarked for years in interviews and tweets. Due to his crass character and gruff voice, people generally perceived the remarks as sarcastic. Whether or not this was a conscious statement, Tyler comes in to his own as a curator and producer in a short 46 minutes.
Regarding features, Steve Lacy, Rex Orange County, Jaden Smith, Frank Ocean, and Lil Wayne grace the track list of this album. Tyler has a curatorial eye and ear for collaborations that seem to fit so naturally. Have you ever watched a movie where the actor/actress just didn't correctly fill the shoes of the role? I feel the same way about music. This is not the case for any of the songs on Flower Boy. Every feature felt custom fitted to the guest contributor without comprising the overall sound that Tyler aimed for as a record.
Flower Boy has received more a significant amount of attention due it’s unexpected pop persuasion. Popular singles such as "Who Dat Boy" & “I Ain’t Got Time!” portray the Tyler that we already know, who goes hard and doesn't quit. “Boredom” and "911/Mr. Lonely" reveal the introverted, sensitive side that we only catch glimpses of on older tracks like "She”; but doesn't overshadow the sweetest and romantic collaboration between Tyler and Kali Uchis on "See You Again.” The intro’s abrupt nature, fun ad libs, melody, keys, trumpets, and juxtaposition of vocals make up 3 minutes of perfection. “Garden Shed” featuring Estelle, provides the same kind of tenderness wrapped up in blissful guitar riffs and soulful vocals. Second to last track, ”Glitter” brings the album to a familiarly downtempo conclusion with “Enjoy Right Now, Today”.