(Odd Future Records / Sony, 2015)
Tyler Gregory Okonma, at the age of only 24, is pretty known from stuff like the work of the Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (Hip Hop collective) or the Adult Swim sketch series Loiter Squad. First heard of by many when his debut album “Goblin” came out, he has created for himself a reputation as a very imaginative and talented man with a great sense of humour and fucks-given attitude. This is his fourth and much awaited studio album.
The album starts with the very N*E*R*Dy “Deathcamp”. I’m not sure how large Pharrell William’s involvement in the production of this album is, but I’m hearing something pretty familiar here, and this is not the only song. In my opinion there are many similarities on this album to the logic of albums like “Nothing”, with each song having a certain theme, yet keeping the whole thing similarly groovy, organic and electronic at the same time. In this particular song, nice electric guitar sounds and moogy synths work amazingly well with Tyler’s intense introductory cursing.
The second song “Buffalo” features powerful booming basses and a cool raw beat (besides the vintage synth sounds familiar from the first song), with perhaps more gangsta-like rapping in Tyler’s lower style familiar from for example the first Tyler-song I ever heard, “Yonkers”. “Pilot” has some heavy and noisy sounds atop a quite glitchy and eccentric beat, showing yet again something a bit different from the first two songs. While “Run” is an interlude-like ominous song, “Find Your Wings” features an awesome Jazzy saxophone and jamming organs with cool synth-bass and string sounds, as well as nice female vocals besides the few rhymes.
“Cherry Bomb” has the heaviest and noisiest sounds of the album thus far, featuring powerful basses and Jungle-like nicely organic beats. The vocals are intense and shouting yet sound dreamlike and etherial in their reverberation. Some might see this as the “Death Grips -song” of the album, but not necessarily, as the similarities might not be that obvious to others. “Blow My Load” has that laid-back porn-feeling in it’s easygoing but strongly moving groove and appropriate sound effects. The most uneventful song yet, altho has very interesting lyrics no doubt.
“2Seater” has a very nineties Hip Hop -sounding overall groove to it, still featuring the same familiar vintage synths, low basses, saxophones and strings heard previously. Together with the previous song, maybe the most unexciting songs of the album, yet works fine as a breather between the more intense songs. “The Brown Stains Of Darkeese Latifah Part 6-12 (Remix)” brings back the more experimental and humorous attitude of Tyler, still being hard-hitting as fuck. The song features Schoolboy Q.
“Fucking Young/Perfect” (featuring legendary Charlie Wilson and the younger talent of Kali Uchis) is the first video-song of the album, and in the same time perhaps the most pop-like of the songs, having very easily approachable and listenable sounds and melodies (and general atmosphere) compared to the more experimental songs. “Smuckers”, which features the big personalities of Kanye West and Lil Wayne, has its instrument-sounds mixed quite distant and low-fi, making it perhaps quite a non-commercial sounding song, despite the names involved. It is however a good song with all three vocalists giving entertaining performances.
“Keep Da O’s” features Pharrell Williams in vocals (mixed to the point of unrecognition) and is (in a similar non-commercial way as the previous song) a very experimental and psychedelic-sounding piece of work. “Okaga, CA” ends the album in style with it’s chill rhythm and pace, altho personally I would have liked to hear something more intense after the previous quite mellow tune, but all in all a very good song, despite it’s place on the track list.
This highly entertaining album is full of different sounds and ideas, in form of (mostly) 3-4-minute long catchy but personal songs. Although the songs are quite individual and unique compared to each other, they still have some common threads (such as similar instrument sounds) flowing through them, tying them together as a solid and high-quality album. The production is at all times excellent, and Tyler’s rhymes and vocals are clever and original.
If you can imagine liking for example the easygoing and more approachable atmospheres of the already mentioned N*E*R*D, together with the more obscure sounds and beats of for example Madlib, spiced with vintage synth-psychedelia, and approve the original (sometimes crazy, sometimes funny-as-fuck) vocal and rapping styles of Tyler, The Creator himself, you can’t go wrong with this album. Definitely one of this summer’s soundtracks.