Rapper pushes boundaries with new album

One of the most innovative artists of this generation, Tyler the Creator is once again breaking down the barriers of hip-hop with his fifth studio album. His new self produced album “Igor” is, in Tyler’s words, not like any of his previous albums, and Tyler shows his artist growth from his previous albums. 

“Igor” shows heavy influence from Pharell, one of Tyler’s idols, and also features the likes of Kanye, Lil Uzi Vert and Playboi Carti. It opens with a deep synth pulsing in your ears before kicking into a tight groove on “IGOR’S THEME,” setting a tone for the entire album. I would’ve liked to hear Tyler rap on the beat, but he chose to go the instrumental route, which I think works just as well for an album opener. 

This transitions into the chart topping hit featuring Playboi Carti, “EARFQUAKE.” “EARFQUAKE” is about Tyler having someone he loves leave him, and while the lyrics might not be the deepest, it is the catchiest song on the album. The layers added in throughout the song bring diversity to the repeated chorus, and Playboi Carti joins in with a beautiful verse to complete Tyler’s most popular song on the album. 

Continuing on to the next track “I THINK,” the funky, Pharell-type beat comes out again with the beautiful voice of R&B artist Solange sampling “Special Lady” by Bibi Mascel. Tyler tweeted he re-did the bridge nine times because he wanted it perfect, and it shows.  The song’s best moment is the bridge, with a beautiful instrumental topped off with a mesmorizing synth line. 

A transition featuring Jerrod Carmichael takes us into another high point of the album in “RUNNING OUT OF TIME.” The contrasts in this song with the sudden beat changes and mood swings keep you on your toes and hold your attention. 

Tyler switches back and forth from simplicity to complexity by adding and taking away layers while still making the song sound complete and full, which is a very hard thing to make sound smooth. I believe Tyler’s producing talent is highlighted best in this song and it shows the innovative and creative mind he has. 

A catchy chorus makes it a good song to jam to, and is why I believe this is the most complete song on the album. The synth moving back in forth between your ears at the end of the song demonstrates how it feels to listen to this song. I believe this is the best song on the album. 

Following “RUNNING OUT OF TIME,” Tyler gets gritty on a Goblin-like beat on “NEW MAGIC WAND.” The heaviest song on the album, Tyler raps abou

Another highlight of the album, “A BOY IS A GUN” takes a sample from “Bound” by Ponderosa Twins Plus One, which has also been sampled by Kanye. He ties the sample along with his verses making a beautiful song full of layers. Along with Solange once again on the background vocals, glittery synth and piano notes sprinkle in the background, bringing the song together. Tyler’s flow over these layers and beautiful vocals wraps the song up into a complete Tyler the Creator track. 

Kanye-featured “PUPPET” is a mellowed out love song that leaves some more to be desired.  Kanye adds a lot of character to the second half of the song, but I really would’ve liked Tyler to explore more ranges throughout the piece and grab my attention more. It’s not a bad song, but it is easily forgettable along with the following track “WHAT’S GOOD.”

Track 10 named “GONE, GONE / THANK YOU” is the most lighthearted track on the album with Tyler singing in a high pitch matching with a sample from Tatsuro Yamashita’s “Fragile.” The light guitar into the background and glittering piano arpeggios make you feel like you are on top of a cloud when listening and makes it hard not to smile. Transitioning into the second half of the track, “THANK YOU” takes on a darker sound as Tyler gets back into a rhythm and raps about his inability to find love. The two contrasting sounds make the full track a rollercoaster of emotions and the feelings Tyler put behind the two songs is easily translated into the pieces. 

“I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE” starts to wind down the album with enchanting synth and background vocals that melt into your ears. Solange, again on the background vocals, adds a layer of pure beauty to the track and Tyler’s voice floats right over the waves of the song. Light electric guitar in between verses adds more range to the song and makes the transitions significant to the listener while not going over the top. One of the most soothing tracks on the album, “I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE” leads perfectly into the closer, “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?.” 

“ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?” closes the album with organ-like synth and high electric guitar arpeggios that truly make it feel like a closer with Tyler orchestrating the song into a grand finale of the album. This track really brings together the theme of Tyler going through a difficult break-up and resolves it with the last word on the album, “goodbye.”

From his first albums, Tyler has evolved from an immature rapper from Ladera Heights to a critically acclaimed, self produced, chart topping artist who once again expanded his library of sound and explored unique sounds with “IGOR.” I would definitely recommend listening to “IGOR” whether you like Tyler’s previous albums or not. 

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