Flower Boy is the sixth album by the Los Angeles native rapper Tyler, The Creator. This album displays his most mature and cohesive tracklist, which makes for a strong contrast with the raw, less-organized sound of his previous works.
Tyler seems to have found his voice in much more personal songs that grapple with loneliness, outgrowing people, and coming to terms with his sexuality. The best example of this is the lead single, “911/ Mr. Lonely,” in which Tyler shows growth not only lyrically, but also in his production skills. The pulsing drumbeat and unconventional chord progressions stand in opposition to the very solemn idea of Tyler being a loner. This contrast, which I found both humorous and easy to relate to, continues into the second half of the song, where Tyler uses a much more upbeat backing along with an abundance of extended metaphors describing his loneliness.
“See You Again” is another standout on this album. Boasting vocal support from Kali Uchis and an even more vulnerable sound, this track makes it clear that Tyler is straying from his more aggressive, “battle rap” style. He laments lost love with occasional well-placed harmonies and a more laid-back rhythm that still features the same pulsing beat as before. “November,” one of my favorite songs on the album, further develops the overarching theme of dealing with personal loss and longing for past experiences. It showcases some of Tyler’s best bars and storytelling on the tracklist, and has the simplest beat on the album.
He follows up this fantastic song up with “Glitter,” which can best be described as . . . glittery. Here Tyler transitions from the somber tone of “November”--and, indeed, from the self-reflective, sad mood of the entire album--to one a happier, more self-assured stance. If you’re not in the mood for a heavy dose of feelings and whatnot, there’s still something on the album for you. “Who Dat Boy” and “I Ain’t Got Time!” will probably sound the most familiar to longtime Tyler, the Creator fans: they have more upbeat and inventive rhythms and slightly less personal lyrics that are focused more on word play than on Tyler’s emotional turmoil.
With Flower Boy, we finally get to see a more vulnerable Tyler. His music here relates much better to a wider range of listeners. Whether you’ve been a fan since his first album or have never had any desire to listen to his music, I would recommend giving this record a spin.
- Rachael Murdock '18