On the tail end of March, rap eccentric Tyler, The Creator dropped a surprise single titled “OKRA” with an accompanying video. The video itself utilizes the split-screen technique very well and creates a very visually appealing 2 minutes and 31 seconds. However, the song itself does not deliver a similar appeal.
Tyler, The Creator is coming off an amazing 2017. His latest album, “Flower Boy”, garnered critical and commercial success with its ephemeral chords and appetizing flows. Following the album, his US tour with Vince Staples was immensely successful and sold out nearly every show. And then, months later, here we are; OKRA. The description on the video’s Youtube page reads: a Throwaway single. This is clearly meant to tell us that with whatever future projects Tyler releases, this song will not be on them. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t analyze the song we have in front of us.
So, OKRA is a rocky and experimental hip hop song that leaves the listener with less than they began with. The first problem I have with the song is the recording of Tyler’s vocals. His raspy voice along with this very distorted recording makes his lyrics nearly unintelligible. Similarly, his flow is so repetitive that it begins to get tiring after 2 minutes. His lyrics, however, are a saving grace in the song. Lyrics like “since Ashley Banks cousin had a fade” and “spent dinero like ‘Taxi Driver'” are memorable standouts. His chorus sounds like it was thrown together very fast, but is definitely catchy.
The production is of a high caliber, however the arrangement is very unpredictable. Tyler flips from a very simple piano to these tearing strings to these very sci-fi synths that all mix together very awkwardly. However, Tyler spends all of his verses rapping over what sounds like a boosted bass and trap drums. The production seems very back and forth with the chorus and the verses having very different beats that seem like they were just placed together. With that under the rough vocals, the total mix of the song seems very Garageband and is nowhere near the level of Flower Boy.
The cover art of the song is just white with black text that reads OKRA and tyler. It’s very minimal, but the graphic design could’ve used some work. Clearly, it seems like Tyler released the song randomly after filming the video. It doesn’t seem like a lot of thought or focus was put into the production of the song. This is clear in the production and recording of the song itself, which suffer greatly. It is nice to hear a follow-up single after “Flower Boy” and his remix of Jay-Z’s “4:44.” However, the single is slightly mediocre and was not up to the level Tyler has shown us in the past.