>> It's been two years since Tyler, The Creator has released 'Flowerboy' - a complete paradigm shift of sound and expression for the California rapper and producer, and this time he's done it again. Back with a matured sound and a themed expression, Tyler shows us what he has to offer as more a producer and songwriter than a traditional hip-hop artist.
The Good: Very much in the tradition of its namesake, 'IGOR' is something of a monstrosity. Every track on this record - including a 14-second monologue - produce a frighteningly groovy and complete album in its entirety. Tyler, The Creator’s fifth studio sound is very much the emotional evolution of his previous success, 'Flowerboy'. It retains almost as much of the bubbly and poppy aura of its predecessor but this time is backed by the bite, anguish, and candidness of his obsessions over a lover gone away. The very first 24 seconds of the record will have you hold your breath, waiting, with nothing but a sinister synth droning in the ears until you’ve been sucked in with an inescapable, aggressive, and vengeful backbeat we haven’t heard the likes of since 'Cherry Bomb'. The album has grooves to offer in every capacity and metric with which you should examine a body of art; Tyler’s self-expression here is powerful, clearly articulated, and ornamented with stylistic grace. What’s more, is that the mastery of technical production, composition, and whatever other proficiency comes with the maturity of being a musical artist, does not drown out the simple enjoyability of listening to the record. Contemplative head nods, hype headbangs, and immeasurably relatable single tears are in store for listeners of this record. Whether or not Tyler came out emotionally triumphant, matured, or eviscerated from this break-up is hard to tell from the expressions between each track, but some damage was certainly sustained - and we’ve been blessed for it.
The Bad: Frankly, there is little if anything to dislike about this album. Some motifs within are incredibly repetitive as far as the nature of hooks and choruses, with the same sing-songy lines and harmonies throughout. But in earnest, these elements would really only count against the record if they weren’t part of an overall meaningful and moving piece. The thematic cohesiveness of this project truly tightens and justifies almost everything that touches your ears. A quick re-listen to anything lyrically that sounds out of place will prove you wrong - this record is airtight.
The Review: 'IGOR' is the Goldilocks of Tyler’s creations thus far. It truly sits in the sonic medium of his old aggressive sound and this new scintillating and glammy Flowerboy character that took us all so much by surprise in 2017. It also can not be overlooked that Tyler is MUCH more forthcoming with his musical influences on this record - both in production and lyric-crafting. The first track’s percussive beat can’t help but be compared to Kanye’s 'Yeezus' but its tinged with a vulnerability seen in early Childish Gambino work, and completed by something uniquely Tyler. Track three, "I THINK," must’ve come out of Kanye’s production notebook from “Graduation”. The seventh track, "A BOY IS A GUN," has that sprawling-Motown-James Jamerson class of bassline Kanye brought to hip-hop samples. Track 9, "WHAT’S GOOD," intros with a synth line I feel I’ve heard a million times in MF DOOM records. The final track, "ARE WE STILL FRIENDS," has the sultry and wavy stylings of Marvin Gaye dipped in whatever sauce Kanye bathed “Bound 2” in. This patchwork monster, this Frankenstein of influences, is why 'IGOR' will have incredible replay value going forward. Bringing everything back to the name, 'IGOR' is certainly that ghoulish assemblage corpse of mad genius design and Tyler really breathed life into it. Mad genius enough, in fact, to raise break up albums from the dead.
My recommendation to listeners is not to receive this as any type of rap album going in. Much like Flowerboy, it is in its own space and should be embraced as such. Favorite tracks of mine are "A BOY IS A GUN", "WHAT’S GOOD", and "ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?". 5/5 <<