REVIEW: Tyler, The Creator Loses Focus on Goblin

by Winston "Stone" Ford

This isn’t a review to “go in” on Odd Future.

As a culture, we love to build people up, just to break them down. We are more celebrity obsessed than ever. We want to have all of the glitz of celebrity, yet when they fall, we rejoice and even feel a little smug inside. Look at Brittany Spears, Charlie Sheen, and Whitney Houston. Their low points are put on display for all to see, and they’re the punching bag for a nation.

I’m not saying that Tyler, The Creator is on that level at all. Most people in the mainstream will probably never know who the prolific LA MC is. However, on the underground and blog level, Tyler is like Kanye West. A weird middle class Black kid who speaks of paranoia and sex with white women. He’s on the cover of magazines, and legendary stars are breaking their back to be in the same room with him.

Why am I talking about this? Well, let’s face it, Tyler’s debut effort Goblin (the one which he asks us to pay money for) somewhat falls short of his free album, and I predict the inevitable backlash will come swiftly. Just like in the mainstream, the Internet builds up artists way before their prime, and many artists are quickly forgotten afterwards. Remember Chester French?

And as a devout OFWGKTA fan, it pains me to say this: if you expect an epic album from Gobilin–now that Tyler is hanging out with Jay-Z and all–prepare to be disappointed. The effort sounds more like B-sides from his 2009 album Bastard than an evolution of his material. The album begins with a discussion with his therapist (played by Tyler), but unlike the previous effort, Tyler’s 7 minute rant gets old by minute 3. Things don’t get much better by the fourth song “Radicals,” another track that’s 3 minutes too long. Even the unnecessary additional verse on his hit “Yonkers,” feels tacked on.

Further, the follow-up single from promising R&B crooner Frank Ocean, titled “She,” lacks focus, and unfortunately misuses Frank more than a Def Jam produced track would (the singer was signed, then dropped by the label). Other tracks, such as the standard “Sandwitches,” seem muddled by bad low-fi production which sounded good on paper but terrible in execution.

Thankfully towards the middle of the project, things get back on track. few songs that shine on the album, other than the aforementioned “Yonkers,” is the upbeat “Transylvania,” and the Neptunes-inspired “Nightmare,” the only two tracks it seems that switch the production up from the album’s moody, murky, downbeat sound. The laid back “Analog,” lets cohort Hodgy Beats ride, but unfortunately “Fish,” again misuses Ocean as the hook guy (oddly referencing Antoine Dotson). Instrumentals aside, Tyler’s rhyming is still dope (if not more morbid than ever), but the ending of the album (where Tyler kills all of his friends and goes off on a curse-filled tirade) is not meant to be listened to on a sunny summer day.

But before you send me hate mail singed with WOLF GANG! at the end, remember this. Tyler is still young, and if he manages it right, can have a healthy career in music. We all know that Tyler is a genius, a standout in a world filled with thousands of wannabe rappers and producers. However, with magazine covers and mainstream press, OFWGKTA’s latest effort simply doesn’t live up to the hype granted to them. But let’s not count them out yet. All he needs is some direction. Hopefully Jay and Pharrell will help mentor Tyler rather than try to cash in on the next big thing.


  • YuYme

    I really enjoyed your review. I have not listen to the album yet, with the exception of one song, which I found to be bleh; nor was I up on this guy back in 2009 like you were. But I do see the tremendous amount of hype these kids are getting and I’m really happy for them. My generation had hard-core rap hereo’s such as NWA, Public Enemy and so forth – and I feel those type of rebellious leader are missing these days.

    But I sort of sense that some of these old head rappers like Jay and Puff are simply (excuse my language) d*ck riding, because they are afraid that if they are not in the ‘know’ of what is currently hot underground – (these days ‘underground’ meaning the blogs), then somehow they will actually feel how far their careers have slipped beneath them. So their seal of approval actually turns me away.

    I plan on listening to this album in its entirety so that I can finally try to understand what the hype is about. I also plan on listening to his previous work so I can see for myself if his focus was indeed lost. The glitz and glamor of the music biz has major power to throw off ones craft, so hopefully, these young dudes can stay focused and not try to be something they aren’t – because a rapper with hype comes a dime a dozen these days… Honing the craft is still vital for longevity.
    And yeah I do remember Chester French… damn.

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