Tyler, the Creator’s latest album, Flower Boy, presents fans with an introspective project that serves to ground Tyler both as a person and as an artist. His brash and headstrong personality is projected and compounded on by his music. Previous works of his feature strong-sounding and hard-hitting production as well as raspy and blunt lyrics and delivery. However, his 2017 release shows a different—more vulnerable—side to him that still manages to keep in tune with his veracious approach to the subject matter at hand.
The album focuses on Tyler reflecting and coming to terms with many things, such as his fame and sexuality. Right when the album opens, it does not start with any jokes or sardonic remarks, nor does it open with Tyler trying to act tough, because that is not the mood that he wants to set for his album. Instead, he poses the listeners with questions and confessions ranging from his struggles on finding motivation, to his current status. These questions act as the underlying emotion for the rest of the album, and a feature from Rex Orange County works towards the mood of vulnerability for the entire project.
Despite the album being more introspective than his other works, there is no denying that it is still very much a Tyler, the Creator album. This entails that certain tracks such as “Who Dat Boy,” still feature the familiar brash and hard-hitting sound that long-term fans have come to look forward to. The very loud and in-your-face production accompanied by fast and raspy verses delivered by Tyler himself will indeed be familiar to fans. Similarly, the more melancholic tracks on the album are easy on the ears and catchy, which allow new listeners a platform from which they can latch on to.
Despite the familiar structuring of certain tracks, they are tonally different from anything Tyler has ever done. His straightforwardness and brutal honesty work toward the feeling of vulnerability that he effectively projects throughout the entire album. He is able to use his brashness in order to convey something more sincere, and the blunt nature of his lines only serve to highlight the emotion that he tries to embed throughout the project.
Tyler’s personal struggles are certainly some of the highlights of the album. In order to entice the listener to progress through the tracks and pay close attention to the lyrics, Tyler does not just dump all of his thoughts on certain matters into one track. Instead, he peppers bits of information throughout all of the tracks, in no particular order. Even when trying to focus on one of the matters, such as Tyler’s sexuality, he does not just lay it all on one track, but will mention it throughout the whole album. This works towards the spontaneous nature of Tyler, preferring to say what comes to mind rather than come up with a formulaic and predictable structure.
Overall, Flower Boy is a testimony to how far Tyler has come not only as an artist, but as a person. By releasing a work that is reflective, Tyler is giving his fans some insight into his current state of mind and what people can expect moving forward.
In the album, Tyler talks about wanting to break whatever theoretical mold or niche that he may be in and expand his creative horizons. The fantastic thing about Flower Boy is that it also showcases Tyler’s direction and creativity as a content creator, leaving the fans guessing as to what he is going to do next.