For all the flak Tyler, The Creator takes from critics claiming he is turning the nation’s youth into hellacious demons, his albums have made millions. Cherry Bomb, released Monday, portrays a slightly more mature version of Tyler but maintains the energetic production and exciting features of his previous releases.
After reading over the track list for the first time, it’s notable that there was no production work or features from other Odd Future members.
Odd Future released a mobile app, a magazine and continues with its Adult Swim show, but its focus on music has wavered. As Odd Future’s self-proclaimed sergeant, Tyler, The Creator could have worked on a group mixtape or album, but instead he chose to pursue his own interests.
Odd Future has become a brand with each individual member left to find their own way, occasionally collaborating on miscellaneous projects. Cherry Bomb proves Tyler, The Creator is capable of having a successful career apart from the group.
This independence from Odd Future has forced Tyler to mature a bit. He started out on his career rapping about rape and murder fantasies. His lyrics on Cherry Bomb have found the perfect blend between his lackadaisical delivery style and more serious subject matter.
To start the album, Tyler raps seriously about his disdain for the publicity and press that comes with the fame he has earned. Seconds later, he claims he was “so special the teacher asked if I was autistic,” and tells his critics to go, “butt fuck your opinion.”
When J. Cole referenced autism in one of his verses, he was forced to apologize. It’s safe to say Tyler, The Creator won’t be apologizing to anyone any time soon. Tyler has never been afraid to offend people, but for the first time in his career, his playful teasing concerns important topics, showing his growth as a person.
When it comes to the production of Cherry Bomb, Tyler still incorporates a variety of influences in his music. Citing Stevie Wonder as inspiration, Tyler goes from soothing saxaphone on “FIND YOUR WINGS” to synthesizers on “BUFFALO” and heavy-handed drum machines on “OKAGA, CA.”
As the producer of the majority of tracks, Tyler made a few questionable decisions. His relentless pursuit of the proper representation of his thoughts leads to an over-bearing backing track every now and then. This makes his lyrics difficult to hear and understand.
The deep drum machines on “PILOT” and the distorted guitar on “CHERRY BOMB” may have been intended as statements on Tyler’s cluttered thoughts, but the experimental noise ruins the songs.
The latter half of the album hosts verses from the likes of Schoolboy Q, Pharrell Williams and Charlie Wilson. One of the most anticipated tracks off the album, “SMUCKERS,” features Kanye West, who delivers an unsurprisingly boastful but powerful verse, and Lil Wayne, who reverts back to his roots by incorporating his signature humor into his rap. These features might not take over a track, but their subtle support benefits the album as a whole.
Although Tyler occasionally slips up on the album, he harnesses his childish personality and serious subject matter to create his best solo project yet.
Album: Cherry Bomb
Artist: Tyler, The Creator