Tyler, The Creator’s album ‘IGOR’ is what we’ve been waiting for


Tyler, The Creator / Kyle Brown / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

California rapper Tyler, the Creator performs at Ottawa Bluesfest 2014.

Anika Bhatnagar, Staff Writer

Tyler Okonma, also known as “Tyler, The Creator,” has created an offbeat blend of hip hop, R&B, and funk into the most unique album of 2019 yet: “IGOR.” The album’s unique beats and a blend of styles is a catalyst for new music.

Okonma is a 28-year-old rapper, songwriter, producer, and fashion designer. On December 25, 2009, he released “Bastard,” his first mixtape, on his own. It was ranked 32nd on Pitchfork Media’s list of the Top Albums of 2010.

Less than a year later, Okonma released his second album, “Goblin.” However, his fifth studio album “IGOR” is drastically different from his others.

“’IGOR.’ This is not ‘Bastard.’ This is not ‘Goblin.’ This is not ‘Wolf.’ This is not ‘Cherry Bomb.’ This is not ‘Flower Boy.’  This is ‘Igor.’ Don’t go into this expecting a rap album. Don’t go into this expecting any album. Just go, jump into it,” Okonma said on Twitter. 

Contrary to his past albums, “IGOR” is not rap. It has more singing and pitch variation much like his 2015 album, “Cherry Bomb.” While it is similar to “Cherry Bomb,” “IGOR” is a career-changing album as it reinvents his sound.

“I hate rapping, only because it puts you in this box. People look at you differently. I don’t want to rap anymore I just want to compose music cause I’m pretty bored with it,” Okonma said.

The album begins with “IGOR’S THEME.” Its song’s ’90s R&B feel combined with his buttery voice starts off the album with an inviting aroma. The end of the song has an almost futuristic tone which leads cleanly into the second song, “EARFQUAKE.”

Tyler, The Creator and SME

“I believe the first listen works best all the way through, no skips. Front to back. No checking your phone, no watching TV, no holding conversation, full attention towards the sound where you can form your own opinions and feelings towards the album. Whatever it is you choose, fully indulge. With volume,” Okonma said. 

“EARFQUAKE” is the most streamed song on the album which is likely due to its catchy beat and repeated lyrics. It also brings back some hip-hop elements with popular rapper Playboi Carti’s rap verse at the end.

While the beginning of the album presents punchy beats with an edge, it progresses into delicate vocals and a flowing production. “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?” mirrors that of smooth ’60s soul music.

The many features contributed immensely to the album by adding alluring layers to keep the listener engaged. It featured admired artists such as Lil Uzi Vert, Charlie Wilson, Playboi Carti, Jessy Wilson, Solange, Jerrod Carmichael, Santigold, Kanye West, Slowthai, CeeLo Green, La Roux, and Pharrell Williams.

The album also contained revealing lyrics; many speculate that Okonma may be queer, as the album seems to follow his love affair with a partner who’s committed to a woman.

His song “RUNNING OUT OF TIME” suggests that the desired male partner may be struggling to accept his own sexuality. Although the lyrics entertain the possibility of a queer Okonma, the last two songs, “I DONT LOVE YOU ANYMORE” and “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS” indicate that it never worked out.

Okonma will be performing his new album at his festival Camp Flog Gnaw. He will also be inviting his favorite artists to perform at his own multi-genre music festival at the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

“As much as I would like to paint a picture and tell you my favorite moments of ‘IGOR,’ I would rather you form your own. If we ever cross paths, feel free to articulate what those moments were for you; keep it timely though I’m not trying to have an Oprah episode,” Okonma said.