Last year, we named Tyler, the Creator's Flower Boy one of the best albums of 2017. It's sun-soaked sonic palette was a noted detour from the days he used shock as a vehicle and gloom as a mouthpiece. But for those that thought that he wouldn't continue to shapeshift, to explore, that he'd commit to a single model or be pigeonholed, we have to remember that surprise, no matter which way it sways, is his nature. And that's become even more clear in the loosie tracks he's dropped since the LP.
They're songs that, as described by the rapper himself, are "not going on an album…not a single for an upcoming project…not an example of the sound [he's] going for next." Each song is "just its own one-off thing that exist[s] on its own." They serve no other purpose than that they are perfectly unplanned examples of his individualistic artistry. Below, we recap the "random" works.
Throwaway is used as ITS NOT GOING ON AN ALBUM, ITS NOT A SINGLE FOR AN UPCOMING PROJECT, ITS NOT AN EXAMPLE OF THE SOUND IM GOING FOR NEXT, ITS JUST ITS OWN ONE OFF THING THAT EXIST ON ITS OWN THAT I WANTED TO SHARE COME ON NOW YALL https://t.co/GUBd6Ane3j— Tyler, The Creator (@tylerthecreator) April 8, 2018
In August, a month after Flower Boy was released, Tyler delivered a 90-second, candid stream of consciousness over JAY-Z's "4:44" beat and got refreshingly honest about loneliness and unfulfilling fame—courtesy of money that doesn't bring company; albums that leak; and radio stations that won't play his songs. All is not lost, however. He still flexes, namedropping Pharrell and the super-producer's advice; reminding listeners that he outsold Meek Mill's Wins & Losses in their debut week; and confidently declaring: "Feel like I got the best album out / I know I got the best album out."
Back in March, Tyler took to Twitter to drop "OKRA," a self-described "throwaway" track, and his first official single post-Flower Boy. Over a buzzing bass foundation and scarce keys and strings, Tyler showcases breathless verses that inject energy into the minimalistic beat (or, as he described it: "hard hitting raps and dark toned instrumentals.") With all ears on his bars, he brags about his bankroll, paint job, Balenciaga bag, Grammy nominations, clear skin and, of course, shoots his shot with Timothee Chalamet.
"BRING IT BACK *remix*"
Last month, as another illustration of his devil-may-care attitude, Tyler laced Trouble's Mike Will Made-It-produced "Bring It Back" with a verse of his own. Though he sped up the original track, and pitch-shifted his own vocals, the inspiration behind the remix was classically no-frills: "bet, this will be fun" and "fuck it why not," according to some now-deleted tweets. The two-minute rework gives nod to his Converse deal, plans to invest in stocks, and big sis and bro, Solange and Frank Ocean.
"ROSE TINTED CHEEKS *2016 rough draft*"
April also saw Tyler set aside his arrogance for something more accessible. On "Rose Tinted Cheeks," a warm, synthy, and soulful cut from his Flower Boy era, and a track that he dubbed a "demo/rough draft" he "never finished," the artist finds himself suffering from unrequited love: "Every time I see you, you brighten up my day / You're cashmere to my cotton and I wished you felt the same / More options in the alphabet, I know I'll be O.K. / No I won't..."
Yesterday (May 23), Tyler dropped his latest standalone, "a random song [he had] laying around" after recording it during a 'Flower Boy' tour stop in Philadelphia, and a return to his confident form. Delivered and shot in one take, Tyler paces a studio while revealing his gripe with the Grammys ("one nom ain't enough / I'm a make sure that that shit ain't happening again") and namechecking private jets, Pirelli tires, Prada scents, and more.
Still, after its release, and despite its reception, Tyler reiterated on Twitter: "This is not an indication of how future things will sound." Still, if you've got more, T, we'll take 'em.