Let’s face it, Tyler The Creator is a quite polarizing figure in new age hip hop. He was more or less introduced to the masses via his “Yonkers” video, that got the co-sign from non other than Mr Kanye West. The video features Tyler doing everything from dissing Bruno Mars to eating an oversized roach. It’s equally amusing, and creepy but that’s more or less been the lane he has occupied since entering the game with his Odd Future outfit.
If Odd Future is Wu-Tang Clan, then Tyler is the RZA. He’s both a talented rapper and an accomplished producer. He draws influence from EDM, Punk Rock, soul, and boom bap all sprinkled with his signature “trolling” style. It’s becomes hard to tell when he’s being serious and when he’s just trying to make the listener uncomfortable. And as ‘odd’ as it sounds, it often works.
On Cherry Bomb, he once again delivers a complete product, with all of his antics and more polished production. The fact that every song title is in ALL CAPS, none of his the albums features are credited is hilarious. He literally does what he wants. The opening track, “DEATHCAMP” sounds like something off an N.E.R.D. album, and that’s intentional. Pharrell is a contributor on the album, so it all kind of makes sense.
As far as traditional hip hop is concerned, “BUFFALO” is more of a proper introduction, amazing production which also resembles The Neptune’s previous work. He goes back and forth throughout the 1st half of the album with more alternative sounds on “PILOT”, “RUN”, and the title track. He channels neo soul on “FIND YOUR WINGS” and “BLOW MY LOAD” which features (uncredited) vocals from Charlie Wilson.
The album plays like a pot of gumbo, filled with influence from all corners of music, and while the production styles and sounds vary, Tyler is still the same lyrically inclined, unapologetic asshole. As random as the subject matter and production is at times, it still manages to be cohesive and quite organic. But the true high points of the album are the ultra soulful “FUCKING YOUNG/PERFECT” which once again features (uncredited) vocals from Charlie Wilson, as Tyler describes an attraction to a girl 6 years younger than him. I feel guilty for even enjoying this song as much as I do.
The other being the Kanye and Lil Wayne assisted “SMUCKERS”, during which Tyler uses the “N word” with the “ER”, and refers to himself as a faggot. Nothing is off limits to this guy! Kanye is in his 2010 form, lyrically on point, with his usual bravado in between moments on conscious rhyming. Lil Wayne holds his own as well, while his verse features a beat change and him and Tyler going back and forth throughout. While the collaboration caught me off guard, it’s works out well.
Overall Cherry Bomb is a solid effort, but by no means is it perfect. Tyler’s gimmick may wear thin with those not familiar with his style. I honestly never listened to one of his projects all the way through, but after hearing this I went back and revisited his previous work. There’s no denying his level of creativity, and as much as some will be afraid to admit, he’s truly a funny guy. This album may not change the world in a sense, there’s no overall theme other than the fact that Tyler The Creator truly does not “give a Fuck”. As far as 2015 goes, this can be added to the growing list of good hip hop albums.[yasr_overall_rating size=”medium”]