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Wolf Five Years Later

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Yesterday marked the five year anniversary of the iconic album Wolf by Tyler, The Creator. I personally believe this is Tyler’s greatest album, but many would argue that I am totally wrong. For those unfamiliar with Tyler, The Creator, he is a rapper who originated in California. He rose to prominence in 2011 after releasing his debut studio album Goblin. Many might remember his song “Yonkers” which was his first hit single and was the song many knew him for. Several years before this, he started the super group Odd Future (also known as OFWGKTA). This group was composed of himself and his fellow friends who were coming up as rappers and R&B artists. Several other prominent members included his friends Earl Sweatshirt, Hodgy Beats, Domo Genesis, and Frank Ocean.

After releasing Goblin, Tyler followed with his sophomore effot Wolf. Wolf is a concept album that tells the story of Tyler while attending a Summer camp and experiencing love, adolescence, and many of the real life issues he has had in his life. The album jumps back and forth from this narrative to later in his current life. Tyler’s music sounds very unique, and many of his songs sound different in both his style and the production. Tyler’s rapping is inspired a lot by Eminem (one of Tyler’s favorite artists), and he attempts to emulate a lot of what Em was doing in his early career. His lyrics are always about pushing the envelope, and he has be flagged for lots of controversy throughout his career; just like Slim Shady.  Tyler’s production is very laid back and has a lighter edge that other rappers don’t. He uses lots of piano and reverb covered guitars on this album, a style he has continued to use on other albums. The album opens with the single “Jamba” which finds Tyler complaining about life around him and talking about how he is a straight edge rapper, a rapper who doesn’t use substances of any kind. As the album continues he continues to critique typical adolescent and rapper trends such as substance use. On “Domo23” Tyler continues to explore these themes, and attacks the controversy he has gathered. On “Answer” Tyler raps about the absence of his father, and past failed relationships over a dreamy guitar filled beat. The song “Colossus” is his version of Eminem’s “Stan”, and Tyler tells the story of being chased down by an obsessed fan and how Tyler has dealt with his fame. On “IFHY” Tyler describes his obsessive and love/hate relationship with his current crush. “Pigs” tells the story of Tyler’s arch nemesis from camp, and his experiences dealing drugs and being destructive. “Rusty” is possibly the album’s best song, and Tyler, Domo Genesis and Earl Sweatshirt critique the current culture; and they talk about their positions in the rap game now. This is followed by “Trashwang” which features a lot of artists, most of which are fellow Odd Future artists. The song sounds like a war anthem and this song is where Tyler and his friends finally fight against his enemies from camp. The album closes with Tyler giving a crazy flow on “Tamale”, a hit which is adored by many fans. Tyler leaves the album with his testament on how he is doing now and how he is one of the most prominent in the art form.

I feel that Wolf contains Tyler’s best production and features many of his best and most accomplished songs. Many fans of his new album Flower Boy have yet to hear his past albums, and I feel that this album would be cherished by many if they gave it a listen. Many of the same sentiments, themes, and styles of beats heard on Flower Boy started here on Wolf. Five years later, and I feel this album is just as important and accomplished as when I first heard it.

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Wolf Five Years Later