Waaaaaaay back in 2008, a self conscious, angst-filled, some kid stumbled upon LA-based, rap collective, Odd Future. Leading man and founder, Tyler the Creator, was at the center of attention in following years for his debauchery and overall shock value. But as quickly as the 'Wolf Gang' assembled, the members drifted apart to focus on their own solo careers.
Tyler the Creator has flourished over the recent years, evolving into this sort of unicorn-type of anomaly in the world of Alternative Hip-Hop. I've followed Tyler for a long time, seeing him perform more than seven times since 2007. Seeing his progression as an artist is astonishing.
Early on in his career, Tyler and the rest of the Odd Future crew, excelled in the world of shock value. Harsh, explicit
lyrics, layered on top of bone rattling beats made for a riot of
a show. Kids being punched left and right, mosh pits big enough to fit a car in the center, bruised ribs; those were the days. But when you present yourself as an artist with a 'no fucks given' mentality, there are consequences that come with it. Misogynistic, violent, and senseless lyrics caught up with him, as he was began getting banned from New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Fast forward to November 8th, 2017. Tyler the Creator stops at The Ogden Theatre as a part of his Flower Boy tour. Tyler's fourth studio album, Flower Boy, was embraced with critical acclaim by audiophiles around the world. It was also met with a whirlwind of controversy, in typical Tyler fashion. In my personal opinion, It's some of his most self reflective work to date. Tyler's grown up, but he admits he still has a long way to go. He's in a moment of self defiance and is inviting us to join him on his journey.
Comparing the Flower Boy Tour to past tours, it's clear that Tyler is distancing himself from his childish, nonsense lyrics, and sinister persona to focus on his career as a serious artist. It was a drastically different atmosphere compared to the Wolf Tour, Rocky and Tyler Tour, (free) Tumblr show, Earl Sweatshirt surprise guest appearance, the list goes on. Ambient, slower tempo tracks from King Krule filled the void between sets. Gone are the days of nonstop mosh pits during blistering renditions of "Radicals". Well, not completely, but for the most part the rowdiness has been toned down from 13/10 to maybe a 6/10 or 7/10, but in the best way. Judging from the show, Tyler is starting a brand new chapter of his journey as a musician.
I was honored to have been able to share this concert experience with both AyyMaze and The Britty Bunch. See what they had to say.
"Fuckin' Dope. First part of the set, [I] was not a big fan of, maybe because I was already sleepy? Those first two or three songs I was just settled in a sleepy vibe from the [King Krule] in between sets. Like the first two songs were boring, like I'm bored already. But then something clicked and It was fuckin' tight. I was a offended that he hated on Denver and called people ugly but I also thought that was fucking hilarious. I loved him for it. It was legit though, the concert was awesome, I enjoyed myself a lot."
Highest High of the show:
"GLITTER. The way he slowed it down, he sang it, we sang it, it was just awesome having everyone together in that moment."
"It wasn't really a low point or anything like that but I'm just kinda mad that we're paying all this money and the guy doesn't even know the raps to his songs, you know? Like it's the 6th show and you still don't know it? I dunno if it was a joke or what."
The Britty Bunch's Thoughts:
Highest High of the Show:
"That was a tight ass show, the music in between Taco's set and Tyler's set made me veeeeery sleepy. I did not appreciate that. But Tyler came out and it was lit. The light show was fucking insane! That was crazy, like on IPHY, on that song [the lights were] especially prominent. The lighting changed the whole mood of the song, it was intense. But I think my favorite part of [the concert] was November. That shit hits close to home."
"Biking. I didn't know what the fuck he was doing, I was kinda not paying attention then it kinda hit me, "Oh this is a Frank Ocean cover kinda thing." Like just doing his verse out of context was just very confusing to me."
To me, seeing Tyler skip over tracks that helped establish his career is refreshing. I've said it like five times already, but T is in a point where he's redefining himself. He even went as far as to joke about his past. He sighs into the mic, "I'm gonna play some old shit." Even with the entire venue roaring with boisterous cheers, Tyler kinda groans about it, almost like he's making fun of us for still being caught up in the past. It's time we focus on where he is NOW.
"There's clearly something going on in the outlandish mind of Tyler the Creator. I can't wait to see where he takes us next."
WATCH Tyler the Creator perform "See You Again" Below!