Tyler, The Creator is known for his extremely violent, hate filled lyrics and that one time he ate a cockroach (see “Yonkers” video). This had fans anticipating carnage with Wolf, but the question is, did they get it?
While this album is definitely more lighthearted than Bastard and Goblin, there are still a few dark songs on the album that reach into Tyler’s inner turmoil. “Pigs” and “Answer” may seem more familiar to the fans of Tyler, The Creator than other songs on the album. In “Pigs” Tyler states, “We came to get wild and style in these trench coats!/Don’t start asking what’s packing in these trench coats/Just know if you start acting, I’m grabbing for these trench coats!” I can’t help but think of a reference to Columbine when presented with these lines. This is “typical” Tyler, though. This is what we have come to expect. But don’t fret if these topics aren’t for you and reach beyond your realm of comfortability.
When it comes down to it, Wolf definitely misses the mark when it comes to carnage, but it hits upon something more important, appeal. The first single released, titled “Domo 23,” is a great example of this. I predict this song will be blazing at college parties at the point in the night when the need for a heavy bass and a catchy tune arises. While the lyrics are far beyond explicit, they are on the edge of whimsical and not anything like Tyler’s previous works.
One final thing that I thought was interesting with Wolf is one specific line from “Trashwang”: “I want the black kids to like me for this one, man.” It’s no secret that the craze for Tyler, the Creator and the OF gang is dominated by caucasian kids (Stony Brook Press has an interesting article on this subject). Why is his mass appeal with white kids from the ‘burbs? We may never know, but Tyler’s shout out to the “black kids” on the song, which, in my opinion, comes closest to conforming to today’s standard hip-hop/rap style, is either a brilliant reverse psychology method to grow his white kid fan-base or a legitimate shout out to a crowd he doesn’t draw enough attention from.
This album has its ups and downs, but one thing is for sure: Tyler’s brilliant writing truly shows that he can make music in a way that no other person can– especially in the rap game, and for that, he gets a rating of “Five out of Five Lights.”