as you may have gotten the news, Tyler the Creator has done it again. on May 17th he published his 6th album titled IGOR. (pronounced EE GOR)
who better to give you a read through on their experience with the album than our brother Tonee Shark
Going into a new Tyler album is for the most part always a surprise for fans and new listeners of one of rap/hip-hop’s finest, Tyler, The Creator.
As a fan, some usually expect him to feed off the sound of the last album he made. In this case, that album would have been Tyler’s LP Scum Fuck Flower Boy. It wouldn’t have been a bad idea to follow up with a similar sounding sequel to this album, since that is his only project that has gone gold and gained him a large amount of new fans, but Tyler always strives for new sounds. He never wants to give his fans the same album.
Hours before IGOR’s release Tyler posted a note to social media quoting IGOR was not any of his last albums, and it wasn’t a rap album letting his fans know they shouldn’t have expectations. He also states that listeners should run it all the way through without distractions to really interpret it.
I made sure to do that before writing this..
IGOR’s Theme starts with a nearly 30 second dragged on synthesizing note before the dirty “Tyler” drums kick in. In other words they are drums more natural sounding than your typical hip-hop or even R&B industry drums. It’s no secret that Tyler finds inspiration from fusion or acid jazz. Especially after his “Cherry Bomb” LP. You may even start to hear piano chords similar to the Jamiroquai hit “Virtual Insanity” around the middle of the track bringing the bridge in. Tyler’s voice barely even appears on this intro, but he has Lil Uzi Vert and others (sorry the full track-list credits haven’t released yet) assisting vocals throughout the whole song.
With this vocally quiet instrumental based intro, it is easy to tell that Tyler is about to take his fans on quite an instrumental majestic experience with this album.
Immediately following is the fan favorite and potential single of this LP “Earfquake” featuring Playboi Carti. With Charlie Wilson ripping behind Tyler’s pitched up vocals throughout this record forms a beautiful sound appealing to listeners. Similar to Tyler’s “Fucking Young” from Cherry Bomb, but it’s something different about this song that gives it even more potential to be a number one. It’s arguably one of Tyler’s most catchiest tunes. He is referring to a loved one that is making his “Earfquake” and begging them not to leave him as he takes the blame for whatever is wrong. Even though Playboi Carti isn’t classified as a conscience rapper, his sound compliments the record pretty well causing fans to rave mainly over this particular track.
Next is the Solange assisted “I Think” which is instrumentally similar to Tyler’s “Pilot” from Cherry Bomb. Assuming that Tyler is referring to the same person who was making his “Earfquake” now he is saying he thinks he is falling in love with this person, and he thinks it is for real this time.
Tyler is known for giving a lyrical paradox in most of his records. In this song specifically, he seems unsure that he is falling in love, and seems to seek assurance from his mystery lover. Asking his self how can he tell them. The bridge on this record almost feels like an entire new song with uplifting piano chords and synthesizers (which happens a lot through this album) but Tyler’s borderline depressing lyrics and tone compliment such a “happy” instrumental very well. The Flower Boy effect.
Without drums or bass throughout half of the song, the “magical” and “spacey” choice of instruments, and Frank Ocean’s “Blonde” feeling hook on “Running Out Of Time” may make it seem like an interlude to some listeners. Tyler is preaching to listeners that he is running out of time to make this person love him. As he wades in the water, he does not want to be saved because he found peace in drowning. In other words he is content with being on this person’s “hook” and not be taken fully serious as his feelings spiral out of control. He tells his lover they are living in pretend and to take their mask off. As if the person is afraid to be with Tyler romantically, and he needs “her” out the picture.
Which leads us directly to my personal favorite, “New Magic Wand.” Unlike the first four tracks, this one instantly approaches a grimier or more moody tone. With ad-libs from Santigold, and Tyler’s first “rap” verse so far on the album, he is begging this person not to leave, while also chanting that he can make “her” leave playing off needing her out the picture in the last song.
You start to notice that Tyler is sort of hinting listeners on what the next song is, also giving us even more reasons to assume he is talking about the same person throughout the album. He is in the mist of a love triangle with this person, complaining that he needs 100 percent of this person’s time because 60 to 40 isn’t working for him. His feelings being so strong for this person, he starts to wish “evaporation” or death on the “other one” in the picture. Then soon after he tells his lover to pick a side or he will pick them both. Showing that “Bastard” or “Goblin” feel, Tyler’s emotions start making him so “crazy” about this person, he will make the couple “disappear” if this lack of attention continues (new magic wand, get it?).
Showing vulnerability at its best, on “A Boy Is A Gun”, Tyler starts rapping a verse that basically summarizes everything we heard so far. Continuing to tell his lover to take their “hoodie” or mask off, (Playing off of “Running Out Of Time”) also saying he is sick of waiting patiently. Battling feelings he admits this person is the best to him, although they are the worst for him. You will basically hear Tyler go back and forth nearly every four bars with telling this person (which seems to be a boy that is a gun) to get out and soon after saying they are his favorite garcon (boy). He quotes “when the times right” in the background telling his lover he is still waiting “patiently” also bringing in some “Flower Boy” irony saying he doesn’t want to see them again.
Tyler has rarely ever been a fan of sampling, but of course we all knew he would be awesome at it if he chose to do it. With retro groovy baseline and soulful pitched up sample, “Old Ye” has to be the inspiration to this track. Kanye actually could have been there to put his touch on it because he pop’s up on another favorite of mine “Puppet”.
Tyler now is telling his lover he is their puppet and they control him. Tyler is asking what do they need, offering anything, even as far as his freedom for this person. Another track with the “Old Ye” feel, except with Ye’s vocals actually on this one. Tyler and Kanye’s Instrumental (sounds) mesh outstanding on the bridge on this track (I literally fucking melt when those synthesizers start descending omfg). Also Kanye is helping follow Tyler’s story-line by chanting “Did I wait too long” seeing that he has been waiting for this person.
Coming to his senses on “What’s Good”, we finally get “Gloat” Tyler showing us the most confidence he has shown on IGOR. Similar to his hit last year “Okra” Tyler just goes straight flex mode with an aggressive fuzz vocal over the hardest punching beat on the album (the most rappy track on IGOR) with an even harder hitting transition reminding me of Flower Boy’s “I ain’t Got Time.” With lack of substance (not really lack but fool just like rapping his ass off you know) some would assume Tyler is starting to fade away from IGOR’s story-line, but this to me seems like his “Fuck you I’m good” kind of track. He just wants to flex on this person playing with his heart. Even quoting how he survived a car crash last year (true story) after people may have thought he died trying to take his spot, but he remains number 1 (also was begging to be the person’s number 1 earlier).
But the track ends with a skit quoting “I don’t know what’s harder, letting go or just being ok with it.”
This I feel is showing us that Tyler was only gloating out of spite. Masking his true feelings.
“Gone Gone / Thank You” gives us the “sweetest” sound with the saddest lyrics thus far on the album. Tyler is finally given up on waiting on this person, the love is officially gone, and she (the other one still in the picture) cannot compete with Tyler. This is causing him to be scarred for life.
Right before transitioning to the “Thank You” outtro, Tyler raps a verse still seeming angry at the couple but abruptly ending it stating he finally found peace so “peace.” Leading him to “thank” this person for the love, joy and time but he never wants to fall again. Of course wih this being track 10, Tyler makes this a split song as he has done on every one of his albums.
With what seems like a monotone Frank inspired track, “I Don’t Love You Anymore” Tyler being at peace is more believable this time as he chants the song title over the smooth electric piano chords. He is realizing how much time he has wasted but he won’t walk around with his head down. Numerous voices back up Tyler’s quick but beautiful bridge on this track (someone in particular sounds like Mariah Carey, that would be so tight.)
Quickly showing how unstable his emotions have been throughout this IGOR story, Tyler’s vulnerability pops back up for this album’s outro “Are We Still Friends.”
He is pleading this person to remain friends with him over another soulful instrumental and lightly sampled vocal, this time reminding me of Andre 3000’s “Love Below” album. Tyler gets his idol Pharrell, to lay down epic melodic vocals on the track. (epic as fuck it was like “In Search Of…” flow) Tyler chooses to end this story on a note that seems he isn’t at peace like he said, he doesn’t want this person out of his life. Even though they broke his heart and took him on this emotional roller coaster, he still wants to be “friends”.
Hardcore fans of Tyler have watched him grow as an artist for a decade now. The transition from Bastard to IGOR can flat-out amaze you if you really compare them, but you shouldn’t. All Tyler albums are great in their own way. What you can appreciate most about IGOR is the inspiration from his past albums. Flower Boy’s substance, Cherry Bomb’s instrumental influences, a very in depth story line like Wolf, and even moments where he threatens the couple out of anger, which can remind you of Bastard or Goblin.
Even though Tyler gives a new sound to every album, and asks fans to not to compare it to his older ones, you can’t help but notice the same formula. Real fans of him can understand and accept that no matter how “different” or not “rappy” an album is. Straight, gay, bi or whatever, I don’t care what he is, dude is a flat-out genius and i refused to base my review off of his sexuality which is probably what a lot will do.
All i know is, I will be obsessed with these twelve songs until some new Tyler comes out. 10/10.
Tonee Shark (a Tyler stan.)
( www.twitter.com/toneeshark )