It kind of sucks that the schedule I work affects the quantity of posts I write. About half of the week, I’m in such a vegetative state that I can’t manage to put a cohesive thought together let alone write it down and publish it without it sounding half assed or idiotic. Sometimes I do and usually those are a few sentences accompanying a video or a picture. Other times, I’m glad I take a moment out before writing something down because it allows me to process all of whatever it is I want to write about. To get some real perspective on it.
That said, before my work week started I wanted to post up something on Tyler the Creator and his latest video “Yonkers” which has been setting ablaze the online rap community as of late. I watched the video sometime last week and thought “I HAVE to post this.” But before I did I wanted to do some digging on who he is first cause what I saw on screen totally compelled me to do so.
Now I won’t lie, at first I started to write up a rough draft which basically had the tone of “I don’t get this.” and “This is the first time rap music wasn’t made for me or my age group.”(That was an exact line from it) And it was basically another rant on how I’m getting older and how popular culture is starting to slowly but surely slip from my grasp. But I decided to hold off writing it until now but not before I loaded up my mp3 player with a bunch of Tyler the Creator and OFWGKTA(Tyler’s crew) content. I wanted to immerse myself in their music and really give it a chance before I dismissed it as just something I didn’t understand.
I downloaded Tyler’s Bastard album, Earl Sweatshirt’s(Tyler’s younger brother and fellow OFWGKTA member) Earl mixtape and the mixtape Radical by OFWGKTA as a collective. Now at first, seeing “Yonkers” I was puzzled not so much from the lyrics or beat but mostly from the imagery in the video. Tyler’s words were no doubt impressive. The beat was good, not exactly what I look for in a hip hop beat but I liked it and it served his lyrics well and was a fitting compliment to what was on the screen. And what was on the screen was a series of things not typically seen in a “rap video”. I’m not going to spend too much time on it because I feel it’s more appropriate to watch the video yourself.
“Yonkers” by Tyler the Creator:
Basically it’s Tyler doing a series of disturbing things(playing with a cockroach, eating it then puking it out, hanging himself at the end of the video, etc, etc.) which led me to write this off as just kids doing “Horrorcore” and doing obscene things simply for shock value. But after listening to their music all weekend, I have changed my tune and now consider myself a fan. Their music is dark and gritty and pulls no punches. There is no political correctness in the words they say. Everything from rape, to tying up women in their basement, to stabbing Bruno Mars in his esophagus is covered here. This along with the imagery from their videos, you would think that these guys are demented psychopaths who are a threat to all humankind, but once you see the various youtube videos they post you come to find that they’re just regular kids who like to skate, fuck around and make dope hip hop music. You’ll slowly realize that their subject matter is tongue-in-cheek.
Which kind of leads me into my original write up on them in that to me, it seems like their whole collective persona is one that was created as a rejection to what hip hop has come to be in its present state. What I find most interesting is that not only have they decided not to make the same boring shit you hear when you turn on the radio or what you see when you watch MTV(when they do actually play videos), but they have also turned their backs on the most common declination of mainstream rap. The “underground”, intelligent, snobbish, “so smart-you-don’t-even-get-it” hip hop, which for numerous years now has even become a parody in itself. To me, this seems like a rejection of Mos Def, Kweli and The Roots just as much as it is of Lil Wayne, Drake or the Black Eyed Peas.
I’ve come to the realization that yes, maybe this hip hop wasn’t made specifically for me. But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate when something new comes along and does something relatively unique and goes against the grain. That, I can always respect.
“French” by Tyler the Creator:
“VCR” by Tyler the Creator:
“EARL” by Earl Sweatshirt:
Orange Juice” by Tyler & Earl(off of OFWGKTA mixtape, Radical: