Tyler, The Creator is known for many things — mainly, pushing boundaries in Hip Hop through his unique production style. Unfortunately, the California star’s many strides in the art form have often overshadowed his raw lyrical ability, which is something that he’s continued to show listeners since his 2009 solo debut, Bastard. Even better, Tyler has managed to go toe-to-toe with a wealth of peers on wax as a featured MC without breaking a sweat. He’s brought his talent to tracks like Pharrell Williams’ “Cash In Cash Out” and Earl Sweatshirt’s “Sasquatch.”
“I’m a rapper. I love that s**t. It’s a beautiful thing,” Tyler expressed in an episode of “RapCaviar Presents” in 2023. “We’re good with words. We’re good with rhythm. We know pockets. We hear a collection of sounds and one thing and say, ‘Ahh, I know what could go over this.’ That takes a skill… I know how to put those in words where you can understand yourself better.”
REVOLT decided to collect 10 instances where Tyler obliterated a song’s main artist on wax. You can check out his exceptional lyrical skills in action below.
1. Trouble On My Mind by Pusha T
Over The Neptunes’ smooth production, Pusha T and Tyler gave fans a verse and a half each. While the Clipse talent used his Fear of God II: Let Us Pray standout to deliver his usual brand of street soliloquies and coke raps, his younger counterpart went off the rails with left-field references about Will Smith, Tupac Shakur and Bristol Palin. He even threw a “Yonkers” easter egg in the mix for good measure.
2. Telephone Calls by ASAP Mob
If there was ever a reason to put Tyler, The Creator at the end of the song, it’s his feature on “Telephone Calls” from Cozy Tapes, Vol. 1: Friends. After hearing ASAP Rocky’s respectable rhyme scheme and less-than-lyrical vibes from Playboi Carti, Tyler went on an absolute tear for 18 bars. Here, much of his verse was a reminder of his career successes outside of recording music, including his Golf Wang fashion brand and annual Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival.
3. I’m A Hater by Waka Flocka Flame
“I’m A Hater” quickly proved that Tyler can get as aggressive as your favorite trap rapper. Sandwiched in between verses from a white-hot Waka Flocka Flame and Derez De’Shon (then known as D-Dash), the IGOR wunderkind made quick work of the Lex Luger, Southside and TM88-produced banger with lines that bordered horrorcore territory. Notably, this collaboration can be found on both Waka Flocka Flame’s Salute Me Or Shoot Me 4: Banned From America and DJ Drama’s Quality Street Music.
4. BIG PERSONA by Maxo Kream
Taking things to Houston, Texas, Tyler both rapped and produced Maxo Kream’s “BIG PERSONA,” a standout from the well-received WEIGHT OF THE WORLD. Given the fact that he’s on his own beat, it should be no surprise that Tyler effortlessly switches between different flows on the song’s boastful opening verse.
5. O.K. by Mac Miller
Tyler applies a similar approach from his verse on “BIG PERSONA” to the equally off-kilter “O.K.,” one of a few deluxe additions to Mac Miller‘s Watching Movies with the Sound Off.
On the bittersweet collaboration, Miller took a laid-back, yet still multilayered approach that contrasted with Tyler’s more aggressive rhyme scheme. “Girl, shake that body, them a** and totties / I wanna see them cankles at my hotel lobby / B**ch, why you so damn snobby?” Tyler rapped before humorously comparing a woman’s rear to “the back of my head.”
6. Martians vs. Goblins by The Game
“Martians vs. Goblins,” which also borrows a classic line from Lil Wayne for the song’s chorus, is notable for two reasons. Here, The Game enters into Tyler, The Creator’s world as far as concept — both with his early dark Eminem-esque subject matter and the matching visual that shows both artists in an insane asylum. The second reason this track stands out is Tyler’s mention of The Game‘s notorious penchant for referencing other artists on tracks. “Wolf Gang, we rock, crack rock / And that s**t was expected like Jayceon whenever he name drop,” he said, immediately followed by the Compton rapper’s response, “F**k you, Tyler.”
7. 327 by Westside Gunn and Joey Badass
For another example of Tyler’s versatility, fans can turn to his appearance on Westside Gunn’s boom-bap offering, “327,” which could be found on the critically acclaimed Pray for Paris. Following impressive verses from the Griselda Records frontman and fellow feature Joey Badass, Tyler flaunts his wealth and unique fashion sense — including his use of fingernail polish — without a care in the world.
This isn’t the only time the “EARFQUAKE” collaborator bested Westside Gunn. Not long after “327,” Tyler joined the Buffalo star on the Hitler Wears Hermes 8: Side B cut “The Fly who couldn’t Fly straight.”
8. “U Say” by GoldLink
Even the groovy “U Say” was no match for Tyler, The Creator. GoldLink‘s melodic, rapid-fire delivery was soon followed by the former Odd Future frontman’s spellbound rhymes directed toward someone in the club who’s in a relationship. In true Tyler fashion, he ended up admitting that he was only playing games with the “desperate” woman before calling it an evening. A blockbuster drama couldn’t have provided more suspense than this track’s narrative.
9. “Something to Rap About” by Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist
Tyler over a beat by The Alchemist was a dream come true for many, and the resulting collaboration did not disappoint. Taken from the Grammy-nominated Alfredo, the syrup-smooth offering matched Tyler with Freddie Gibbs, a rapper known for stealing the spotlight on rap records. This time, Gibbs’ verse was outshined by Tyler’s vivid description of the instrumental. “This sound like the boat I haven’t bought yet, this sound like the moment I jump off it, sun shinin’, cold water fillin’ in my pockets,” he narrated.
10. “T.D” by Lil Yachty and Tierra Whack
While Tierra Whack arguably took the award for best verse, it would be impossible not to acknowledge Tyler’s inclusion on Lil Yachty’s Lil Boat 3 single “T.D,” which also features ASAP Rocky. Making quick work of the Fast & Furious-inspired cut, Tyler speeds through the track with clever flips on the Cash Money Records dynasty, ScHoolboy Q’s Blank Face LP and more.