Culture

Flower Boy

On July 21, 2017, Tyler Okonma released his fourth studio album Scum Fuck Flower Boy through Columbia Records. The album contains 14 tracks with guests such as Jaden Smith, Frank Ocean, and Lil Wayne and runs a total of 46 minutes and 33 seconds

Also known as Flower Boy by “Tyler, the Creator”, the album introduces a new sound from the traditionally abrasive artist. Tyler, the Creator developed a following with aggressive alternative hip-hop for songs like “Yonkers”, “Domo23”, and “SMUCKERS”. Commonly using homophobic slurs, very explicit imagery, and unabashed racial commentary to guide his lyrics. His music paired with co-founding the “Odd Future Golf Wang Kill Them All” or “OFGWKTA”, a hip-hop collective, fueled his popularity. Yet, Flower Boy seems to be a maturation as well as a reflection on what Tyler has become. Loneliness is the underlying motive of Tyler’s album. His longing for a meaningful romantic relationship, his acute awareness of coping by purchasing cars, and his blatant expressions of loneliness weave throughout the entire project.

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Starting with “Forward” the themes of the album are laid out for the listeners as Tyler touches on his disconnect from racial issues, romantic struggles, and his inner conflictions over his masculinity. These ideas and more, surface throughout the project along with a sound that is reliably upbeat as Tyler tries to work out mixed feelings of his masculinity and sexuality, and coping with living an existence of fame.

On the song “See You Again” Tyler furthers his exploration into what he wishes for his love life. As one of the most popular songs on the album, it does an amazing job showing how Tyler has been able to make his alternative hip-hop sound grow from where he started with tracks like “Colossus”, a track that. A love song in “See You Again” is followed by “Who Dat Boy” featuring A$AP Rocky, one of the lead singles from the album, seems to be a steep change of pace for the album but, cleverly explores the loneliness he has been dealing with since the release of his Cherry Bomb project which was meet with mixed reviews.

Flower Boy becomes a step into Tyler’s world, full of honesty and emotion. “911/ Mr. Lonely” is a perfect example of a skillful artist blending alternative sounds within hip-hop and raw subject matter that Tyler has been honing for years. The upbeat tempo and airy sound coupled with his depressed and tormented lyrics offer the juxtaposition that makes Tyler, The Creator’s music on this album so unique.

“Pothole” and “Garden Shed”, tracks 6 and 7 respectively, are the songs that exemplify the mature nature of Tyler’s new sound. “Pothole” featuring Jaden Smith is about Tyler’s concern for falling into one of the many traps that come with fame and success. He expresses his reservations with an extended metaphor calling on his passion for high-end cars and the potholes in the many roads that he has traveled. Similarly, “Garden Shed” featuring Estelle uses the garden shed as a metaphor for his confrontation with his sexuality. The track goes into depth about how he was incapable to talk about his feelings with his friends and struggled with thinking that his homosexuality/bisexuality was a phase.

Scum Fuck Flower Boy is an album that shows the honesty and raw emotion that fueled albums like 2014 Forest Hill Drive by J. Cole. The most exciting part is that Tyler can expand on a sound that sets him apart from the rest of the hip-hop field. To do it while expressing such introspection and creativity is the mark of an artist at the top of their game. Flower Boy is a success for Tyler, The Creator and one can only hope that he can continue his progress.

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