Album Review: Call Me If You Get Lost by Tyler, The Creator
Excellent, Based on 6 Critics
Exclaim - 90 Based on rating 9/10
There are very few artists in recent memory who've seen as impressive or intriguing an evolution as Tyler, the Creator. The 30-year-old rapper has transformed from the foul-mouthed leader of chaotic collective Odd Future to a Grammy-award winner who has continually pushed the boundaries of his music with each release and found success in pretty much every other avenue that he's pursued as well.
He's produced and starred in multiple TV series, launched a clothing line, partnered with several brands and created a popular annual music festival, among other things.
Tyler, The Creator officially returned to the spotlight on June 25 with CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST, the follow-up to 2019’s Grammy Award-winning album IGOR. Crafted in the spirit of DJ Drama’s coveted Gangsta Grillz mixtape series with features from the likes of Lil Wayne, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Pharrell Williams and fellow Odd Future member Domo Genesis, the 17-track project finds Tyler leaning into his rap prowess and flexing more bars than on previous efforts like 2017’s critically acclaimed yet sonically lighter album Flower Boy. As if by magic, Tyler somehow remains in the unique position where he has both mainstream appeal and the respect from underground Hip Hop nerds who appreciate his willingness to dance along the fringe of full-blown pop star.
In the 2000s, mixtapes became the most effective and popular medium for aspiring rappers to build fanbases, seduce critics, and serve as commercial proof-of-concept to major labels. Even established rappers used the format to work out new ideas or to circumvent those labels entirely. As file sharing turned what was once a regional enterprise into a global one, rappers who would have previously given a song here and there to the DJs who issued compilation-style mixtapes began headlining their own.
"I want a Gangsta Grillz tape so fucking bad got damn," he tweeted in all caps. Eleven years later, Tyler has gotten his wish, hooking up with DJ Drama for his sixth studio album, CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST. Over the album's sixteen tracks and 52 minutes of run time, Tyler meshes the old with the new, combining the boisterous, over-the-top hardcore hip-hop of projects like Wolf with the jazzy, love-tinged Pharrell worship of more recent releases such as IGOR.
The album I always wanted Tyler, The Creator to make, until he made it.
It's hard to know where to start on this one. Really, I don't know what to make of CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST at all. Should I start by saying it's a bizarre experience, to enjoy the majority of the songs on an album that I'm thoroughly disappointed by as a whole? That's probably too harsh, or my expectations on the cohesion front were set way too high by Tyler, The Creator's past, a burden it may be unfair to place on every LP he chooses to release.
Tyler, the Creator's previous studio album 'IGOR' was a tightly controlled concept piece, focused purely on the artist's vocals with no other featured artists. In 'Call Me If You Get Lost', the artist expands his scope considerably - both with the step up to a mammoth 16 tracks and the inclusion of 12 credited collaborations, including industry mainstays Lil Wayne and Pharrell. Despite its length, the record is fast paced, with the artist jumping from rap to R&B to spoken word and back again.