9 Tyler the Creator: Igor

Why are you so frequently an absolute dick? Why do you find doing bad things so appealing, yet find admitting and explaining these bad things to other people so disagreeable? Why do you avoid being nice and doing simple nice things for people? Oh, that’s right, it’s just the way you are, isn’t it?

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“Giving a shit would be so out of character…”

 

And when did you realise that this was ‘the way you are’? When you were in your early 20s? When you turned 18 and realised that now you could legally buy alcohol there was really no need to grow as a person now you could just be drunk every waking hour*? Maybe when you were 13 you realised all the cool kids didn’t pay much attention to being nice and instead sniffed glue next to the school bins and talked about how amazing football was, so you realised that would be the direction to go in for the next twenty years or so. Maybe, when you were a six year old your mother rolled her eyes as she remarked how little you liked Brussels sprouts and challenging systematic injustices, so you subconsciously noted that was your personality. I wrote about the difficulties in truly changing yourself, or even slightly altering your perceived personality, in my Govier review, so, I dunno, maybe this post will just rehash those same ideas but just in a slightly less funny way. I mean, I don’t think it will, but there’s really no way of knowing at this point. It’s gonna be fun to work out though! MORE AFTER THE JUMP!! HIT THAT SUBSCRIBE BUTTON AS HARD AS YOU CAN!!! VALIDATE ME!!!! VAAAAAAAAAALIDAAAAAAATE MEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

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“Oh Abigail. You are such a little cunt”

 

(*the ‘Alex Palmer’ method. Seriously, once you start drinking and using drugs you get so much more fanny, there’s really no need to grow any further than that. What, you want less fanny?? Have a word…)

The thing is that ‘who you are’ is almost never decided by you, and definitely not decreed by your genetics. ‘Who you are’ is often/always just how you’ve been framed by other people. You’re a cunt because everyone around you expects you to be a cunt and so you’re a cunt simply because it’s what everyone else already believes and it’s, like, really awkward to change people’s perceptions, innit? ‘Who you are’ is really the ‘you’ that you’ve long realised is most accepted by everyone else and you’ve subconsciously realised that to challenge these perceptions would somehow challenge the authenticity of your person. If Judy gave money to charity now that would be so out of character! The movie of your life would get terrible reviews!

We believe our life is one unfolding great work of fiction, and the people we know are there to keep your character in check. If John McClane told Hans Gruber that he was looking really nice today,when he met him during the finale of Die Hard and asked if there were any deep psychological reasons behind his decision to steal $640 million in bearer bonds and whether talking about the supposed need to commit the crime might prevent many needless deaths, it would be so out of character! Your character has to be treated with similar respect in the ongoing movie of your life, and the movie of Judy’s life- Hyde Hard-  is unlikely to match Die Hard’s $141 million gross worldwide if your friends notice ridiculously inconsistent character traits like you asking how people are feeling or offering a shoulder to cry on when Frank got attacked by that seagull. Your life isn’t a movie. ‘Consistent characters’ are needed in films because we need to be able to predict characters’ feelings and responses in order for the plot to make sense. Nobody’s watching your life. Do whatever you want. Your subconscious need to be a ‘consistent character’ is actually causing a lot of your problems, you’re turning down great opportunities and opportunities to improve your person because they ‘don’t fit your character’ and you’re worried what you’re friends will think. Maybe, you’re concerned that many of these shitty aspects of your character are what your friends like about you, and that if you changed then you’d lose them. Seriously, take it from me, you don’t need to worry about that- you know how much of a ball ache it is to make new friends after you pass a certain age?? Trust me, just for sheer convenience your friends are still going to be your friends for the rest of their lives. If you kill Frank’s Mum and have sex with her dead body on Tuesday* he’ll likely forgive you by Saturday when he realises he hasn’t got anyone else to watch the football with. Friends are absolute slags past a certain age and you can basically do what you want.

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“Twaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…!”

 

(*7 Days by Craig David goes to some really weird places)

Besides, change all you want and all of your friends will always simply frame you as you were when they first met you. You can get all the tattoos, invent all the machines, solve all the world’s problems and send pictures of your genitals to everyone in your phonebook, Julie still thinks of you as the fat twelve year old who went his pants in Geography class then cried for the rest of the week*. Tyler the Creator (see, I was going somewhere) has changed astonishingly through his career, through the violence, misogyny and homophobia of Odd Future, through to eeking out a solo career with the trolling horrorcore of ‘Bastard‘ and ‘Goblin‘ through the extra insanity of ‘Cherry Bomb‘ and then (thankfully) to the shockingly introspective and (maaaaaaaaybeeee…) coming out as gay on the amazing ‘Scum Fuck Flower Boy‘. Then there’s ‘Igor’. And then there’s ‘Igor’. Because of the colossal strides and reinventions that took place on ‘Scum Fuck Flower Boy’ I couldn’t have been the only one assuming that Tyler had taken his music as far as it could feasibly go without a complete reinvention of absolutely everything that he is. ‘Igor’ proves me wrong amazingly. It’s completely different to anything he’s done before, but it is still undeniably a Tyler the Creator record and he obviously just found new directions he could take his music. While he has always been open about his mental health and self-hating (which, admittedly, he often used to communicate through raping dead women) and ‘Scum Fuck…’ saw a more considered and sensitive take on his character coated in woozy synths and gorgeous strings, ‘Igor’ is a unashamedly open about real emotional labour as it follows the pain and introspection provoked by being the third person. It’d be extremely disingenuous to describe ‘Igor’ as a rap album, there are a few examples of Tyler rapping, but they are extremely rare on a record that is far more twisted R&B, distorted funk and psychedelica. There simply isn’t another hip-hop album out there that you could legitimately compare it to, and the nebulous examination of a bittersweet memory (that might not be entirely factual) more calls to mind Car Seat Headrest’s all conquering ‘Twin Fantasy‘. Yeah, I  keep comparing that album to everything, because it’s fucking awesome and so awesome albums are likely to be like it, OK? The ‘Don’t leave!/It’s all my fault!’ chorus of Earfquake, man, y’know?

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(*It was not ‘the rest of the week’, Julie, that is such an exaggeration! It was, like, a few days, maybe! And I didn’t wet myself! I poured some Hi-C Ecto Cooler on my crotch as a joke! I’ve told you this so many times!! Why do you keep bringing it up?!)

Tyler will always be framed as the rapper that used to make jokes about raping dead women though and who used to call everyone a ‘faggot’. It’s why he was banned from the UK until very recently. Tyler obviously doesn’t put much value in how he’s perceived, what other people think or what ‘he’s really like’. He’s willing to test the boundaries of what exactly ‘being himself’ means, and in doing so he creates an album as good as ‘Igor’. What’s your dogged commitment to being ‘who you are’ got you? That’s right- two divorces and a dislocated finger. Seriously? You make me literally and physically sick.

Metacritic: 81

Sorry, far too low.

20 in 2017

3 thoughts on “9 Tyler the Creator: Igor

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