Release Date: Apr 14, 2015
Record label: Sony Music Entertainment
Always a dynamic and plausible live performer, Tyler, The Creator has too often handed the reins to his inner Beavis & Butt-head in the studio. But the heady fizz of Cherry Bomb finds him emulating less integral Odd Future alumni Frank Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt by defining a musical identity beyond the potty-mouthed LA rap clique. Juvenile shock tactics persist, but he’s now channelling his puckish energy into some thrilling experiments and the more time-honoured hip-hop touchstones Tyler brings into the mix – from Roy Ayers to Smuckers’ multi-platinum three-way with Lil Wayne and Kanye West – the more deliriously wonky it all sounds.
“I’m rapping about diamonds and cars and money now”, mutters Tyler, The Creator on ‘Keep Da O’s’. “What the fuck has gotten into me, man?” Five years in, it’s probably about time that Los Angeles enfants terrible Odd Future started getting a little soft around the middle. In fact, though, this is just more Tyler self-deprecation. Packed with guests including Kanye, Lil Wayne, and Pharrell, but clocking in at a brief – by his standards, anyway – 55 minutes, ‘Cherry Bomb’ might be the tightest, leanest Tyler album yet.In part, it’s because Tyler sounds pretty chill.
Rumblings of Tyler, The Creator’s third official studio album predate even 2013 when he was prepping the soon to be critically acclaimed album Wolf and critics were still struggling mightily to brainstorm a cute epithet for an artist the world had yet to witness. Thankfully, those struggles have ceased, and on the heels of the accolades Earl Sweatshirt is receiving for I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside and the insane level of hype awaiting the release of Frank Ocean’s second album, now seems a more fitting time than ever for Odd Future’s bandleader to release the long rumbled about — Cherry Bomb. For the majority of Hip Hop artists, where ad-libbing in the safetynet of musical trends is their bread and butter, an album concocted sporadically over such a long stretch would wreak havoc on any sense of semblance of cohesion in the music.
Tyler, the Creator :: Cherry BombOdd Future/RED DistributionAuthor: Patrick TaylorTyler, the Creator was recently refused a visa to the UK for 3-5 years because of the homophobic slurs and sexual violence in lyrics from "Bastard" and "Goblin. " According to a letter the Home Office sent The Quietus, "Coming to the UK is a privilege, and we expect those who come here to respect our shared values. The Home Secretary has the power to exclude an individual if she considers that his or her presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good or if their exclusion is justified on public policy grounds.
It's hard not to link Tyler, The Creator's effort Cherry Bomb to Earl Sweatshirt's 2015 LP I Don't Like Shit, since these Odd Future-related albums were released less than a month apart; plus, they were both digitally leaked ahead of their official street date. Earl's leak got the wealth of attention, and being the more lean and purposeful machine, it was deserved, but Tyler's long-playing drop is still a joyful noise, kicking with plenty of kinetic energy and coming on strong with an unforgiving OCD attitude that just won't quit. The most beautiful, and meaningless, manifestation of this attitude is the way the smooth and jazzy "Find Your Wings" segues into the drill 'n' bass title track, as muted trumpets, xylophones, crunching guitars, and Atari Teenage Riot-styled compression all fly by like the creepy albums Bastard (2009) and Goblin (2011) never happened.
"Tyler made a N.E.R.D. album," said everybody on Twitter. Whatever. The idea that Tyler would make music approximating Pharrell, Chad, and Shay’s group shouldn’t be surprising: Tyler, the Creator has made it clear time and time again that Pharrell is one of his major influences. It makes sense ….
In a recent appearance on "Tavis Smiley", Smiley asked the now-24-year-old Tyler, the Creator to describe himself. He replied with a candid, perhaps-practiced monologue: "I’m very bright. I’m smart. I’m annoying and obnoxious. I’m very creative and borderline genius, and I think other ….
Even if they seemed to come out of nowhere, one good look at Tyler, the Creator and the rest of hip-hop collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All let you know they wouldn’t be a secret for long. If you could get past the devilish vulgarity, it was easy to see a legitimate creative core inside the madness. There was plenty of skepticism of their actual talent level and potential for longevity, but we’re now more than five years removed from Tyler’s Bastard.
After a trilogy of sonically bleak, ostentatiously psycho albums, Odd Future's leader has flipped his nihilistic glower into a sinister smile. Featuring cameos by jazz fusion OG Roy Ayers, Lil Wayne and Kanye West, Tyler's self-produced new one flows from the Neptunes tribute "Deathcamp" to the summery whimsy of "Find Your Wings" and "Fucking Young." Tyler still spends at least half his rhymes reminding us how few fucks he gives, and his bright new sound often comes spiked with petulant noise. But a certain humanity peeks through: "I'm raisin' the stakes/Mom, I made you a promise: It's no more Section 8." What a sweetie.
Four years after Odd Future's adolescent mayhem took the rap world by storm, the group's outsider style has now been absorbed into an increasingly assimilationist genre, it's de facto leaders occupying honorary slots as quasi-mainstream MCs, both signed to major label deals. Once nearly indistinguishable from one another amid the group's raucous clamor of voices, Tyler, the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt are now its two persistent figureheads, pursuing aesthetically similar programs of anti-pop audience alienation that are part classicist throwback, part new-wave iconoclasm. Yet while the two remain aligned in their approach, their music and personas continue to diverge, with Earl developing further into the role of the technically dazzling, ever-uneasy introvert, and Tyler as the explosive, agonizingly gregarious extrovert.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. The dynamic between the two best known members of Odd Future is never been illustrated better than on both of their recent albums. Earl Sweatshirt's I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside was a brisk, focused and honed showcase that encouraged listeners to try and feel around in the darkness along with the rapper.
Everyone has an opinion of rap crew OFWGKTA (“Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All”, usually shortened to Odd Future), or, more accurately, had an opinion of them. At this point, Odd Future’s members and supporting players have grown progressively distant from each other with each album release, tour, and media scheme. As the ringleader, Tyler, the Creator is responsible for most of the love and the hate that the group has gotten over time, but now that the crew’s initial heat has finally chilled, analyzing his artistic tendencies has become less complicated.
“I don’t like to follow the rules / And that’s just who I am,” Tyler Okonma plaintively states on “DEATHCAMP,” the opener to his fourth LP, Cherry Bomb. It might seem like a redundant mission statement from a dude who led a “KILL PEOPLE / BURN SHIT / FUCK SCHOOL” chant on his major-label debut, but it’s worth keeping in mind for the Creator’s latest, because the rapper’s refusal to toe the line runs deeper than youthful anti-authoritarianism: With each successive release, it becomes more obvious that Tyler is actively fighting against following the blueprint — anyone’s blueprint — for his career, in a way that’s left his music as singular and free-spirited as any rapper of his generation, but in a way that also too often leaves it devoid of purpose. Cherry Bomb is both impressive in its ambition and absolutely stunning in its aimlessness, weaving countless genres into multi-part suites but still coming off undercooked in its entirety.
It’s a good time for Odd Future fans. Earl Sweatshirt’s new album just dropped, Frank Ocean’s follow-up to Channel Orange is imminent and there’s even a Golf Wang app: “Tyler and his brain without restrictions and bullshit for $5 a month,” as the latter has been marketed. That’s also a pretty neat description of Cherry Bomb, the fourth album from Tyler, the Creator, if you count his online-only 2009 debut Bastard (and you should, because it’s the purest distillation of his genius to date, from the Satie-in-hell of the title track onwards).
Tyler, the Creator's gradual musical maturation can be observed on each of his studio albums since the shock-rap of Bastard engaged angst-fuelled audiences in 2009. With 2013's Wolf, the California emcee broke away from vivid rhymes of violence to explore a variety of different themes, backing it with some of his most accomplished production to date. Further growth seemed imminent after he billed Cherry Bomb as the record on which he made "the music I listen to," though it proves to a be a tough task; Tyler, it seems, listens to a wide variety of music.No stranger to R&B, soul and jazz, tracks in these veins highlight Tyler's ear for arrangement and composition.
Tyler, The Creator’s career has firm roots in shock value. His third studio album Cherry Bomb fell right in step this month, with a surprise early release on April 12. His Coachella performance the same weekend served to hype the project, which was already tangibly buzzing thanks in part to the Kanye West, Lil Wayne, ScHoolboy Q and Pharrell features.
If there’s an example of a kid who probably spent way too much of his adolescence listening to Eminem and N.E.R.D., it’s Tyler, the Creator. Obvious traces of Em’s deranged rhymes pulsed through Tyler’s first two albums; his latest, “Cherry Bomb,” is practically an all-caps homage to Pharrell’s funk-rock vanity project, trading in the grayscale of his angst to explore the Technicolor corners of his quirkiness. The Odd Future frontman is at his most indecisive, swerving from high-decibel ear assaults (“Deathcamp,” “Pilot”) to sugary, saxophone-laced cuddle tunes (“Find Your Wings,” “[expletive] Young/Perfect”).
Who is Tyler, The Creator? That was the burning question during the height of the media circus surrounding Odd Future four years ago. The music press wanted to know where this fatherless provocateur came from, what inspired his incendiary rhymes, and how he rationalized his most risible lyrics. And so Tyler answered them. On his 2011 album Goblin and its 2013 follow-up Wolf, he poured over his every thought, doubt, flaw, and contradiction in exhaustive detail, but in the process he drained himself of the very commodity that made him so interesting in the first place: his mystery.
Top-loaded with impenetrable stabs at noise-rock-infused rap, Cherry Bomb is a frustrating exhibition of musicality mired in Tyler, the Creator's contrary sensibility. His "no rules" outlook manifests itself in incomprehensible songs like Deathcamp that recall the fuzzed-out guitar riffs and percussive stomps of late-90s Marilyn Manson. But then Find Your Wings takes a stranger turn: an outta-nowhere jazz jam featuring renowned vibraphone player Roy Ayers that melts into a motivational R&B anthem.